If you disobey school rules you are likely to be sent to detention, suspended or expelled. On the job; if you break company rules (however archaic or subjective) you are likely to be fired. In the society; if you break the law (and you are caught) you are likely to be sent to Prison. In all instances – the common fact is that: there are consequences for bad behaviour.
However, we are children long before we become students, employees and citizens legally able to be held accountable for infractions of the law. Who is responsible or who will take the responsibility for teaching children this invaluable lesson?
Ok, ok – you don’t all have to shout at once: The Parents! The tricky question, however, is: What are the appropriate methods for teaching this lesson?
There is an ongoing healthy debate about flogging in schools; as well as whether corporal punishment is tantamount to physical abuse. Many believe that the practice is archaic and retrogressive and should be banned in all forms and arenas – including the schools and in homes.
The proponents of such a ban contend that flogging is a form of violence and the practice teaches violence to our children, which is perpetrated throughout their lives. It instills fear and can scar the victims for life.
Instinctively, I am inclined to agree, especially in such instances where I have seen parents and guardians pick their ‘switches’ from tree limbs; use pieces of lumber; and electric cords, among other vicious devices, to ‘beat’ their children. There is no question in my mind that such acts are tantamount to physical child abuse! Indeed, in many of those instances that I have witnessed in my lifetime, the acts were spurred on by anger and embarrassment and represented a means of venting for the perpetrators, as they abused their power over their victims. Often, in those instances, there really was no attempt to teach the child about the invaluable lesson that they needed to learn.
Alas, I have three children, and whilst for the most part a simple look of disappointment was sufficient to bring them in line; I do recall one instance with my eldest when I was guilty as charged for such abuse – albeit that my instrument of ‘justice’ was a belt. *Note to self: Remember to apologize!
The proponents also contend that a time out, the restriction of privileges and a good ‘talk’ are sufficient means of teaching children the invaluable lesson. In addition, rewarding children for good behaviour through gifts and special occasions/treats also foster good upbringing.
Whilst children, perhaps by nature, will always seek to ‘push the envelope’ – I believe that children are children; and whether you believe it or not – they want to be children and they want to know that they have a parent/guardian who is responsible enough to take care of them! And that includes teaching them the invaluable lesson.
I recently read on a social media of an incident where a child – in a tantrum – spat on a waitress in a popular fast food restaurant. The mother’s response was simply: ‘yuh see how him rude?’ I am also too familiar with teenagers and young adults being openly disrespectful to their parents and guardians; and often times the response is: ‘yuh see dat?’
Those, however, are but the tip of the iceberg – and I often ask myself, would I even in my wildest imagination ever dream of doing some of the things I see children doing today? The answer is simply – HELL NO!!! You see, if I ever ‘passed my place’ and did any of those things, I would probably be wearing false teeth from very early in life.
Yes – I had my fair share of floggings and I learnt the lesson from very early that: I am loved BUT there are consequences for bad behaviour!
I must also hasten to point out that I have not been scarred for life and I don’t go to my bed each night hating my mother or thinking that she was a wicked parent. In fact, I tried to be good in school (notice I said ‘tried’); I held down a few good jobs and I have never been sent to jail for breaking the law. I can also say the same of my other three siblings.
Yes, we must curb and eradicate physical child abuse and encourage the ‘new age’ parenting skills; but there comes a time – I believe – when a good slap and a flogging administered in love is the best way to teach a child about the consequences of bad behaviour.
No, I am not here to try and convince the proponents for the banning of corporal punishment to change their minds. I am simply giving my opinion on the issue. And, whilst emotions may flare and they shout of the possible disadvantages, I will whisper: look at me – for one – and also compare the society of yesteryear and what we have been facing for the last ten years or more. From where I sit – the future doesn’t look so bright either!
While we spare the rod, we (seemingly) are spoiling the world. Bend the tree before it gets too old — your child may yet thank you for it! By the way, Thanks Mommy!
Walk good, ’til next time …