I can’t remember how the conversation took off at the ever-boring lunch table, but I asked if it was truly illegal to punish (by hitting) your child, be it in public or at home.
I witness countless times on how Caucasian parents will just play the silent treatment while the distressed kid rolls and wails on the floor of the shopping mall. Sometimes, you can tell there’s a hint of humiliation on the parent’s face. Indeed, the upset child can be quite unbearable but never will parents resort to spanking. Not in public eyes, at the very least.
I have always been curious about this “law”. By far, it is considered child abuse. Then again, it is true that the line between educating and child abuse … is very thin. What more when you have nosy neighbours who try to muddle into your home affairs. In public, watchful eyes are on the loose for the authorities are just a phone call away.
One of my colleagues explained that he never lifts the rod for a punishment. He has a six-year old son, Cassidy, and a three-year old daughter, Madison. If Cassidy gets into trouble, he would be directed to stand at the corner or sit on the stairs for some “quiet time” or “time-out”. After all, the kid just can’t stop screaming, and so there’s no point in reasoning the situation with him until he calms down. The punishment though is a very different thing. For this boy, he would have his video games and bicycle taken away.
“You gotta find what works for them. Each kid has their own weaknesses. As for Cassidy, taking those away from him works well.”
Madison is still too young to understand reason. According to my colleague, he is still trying to find out what works for her. However, I just think that at 3 years old (or even younger) … if you don’t do any sort of punishment, be it spanking on the buttocks/palms or taking away their toys … these kids will be bolder with every birthday cake they blow!
I am a true believer of the old adage “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” Perhaps, it is because I grew up understanding what is right and wrong through painful punishments. Of course, those spankings I got were not abusive to the point where it bruised and bleed. But it was effective enough for me to know that the mistakes I made will come with a price. After the spanking, there is of course reasoning as well as loving. If the child does not understand fear of pain for his wrongdoing, he/she will be difficult to manage as they grow into teenagers.
Then again, I’m speaking in a general sense. There are, of course, angelic kids who never pose a problem to the household. But it is quite common sense to me when it comes to educating your child. It is just like language. If they are not exposed to it when they are at prime learning age … they will never catch up or understand fully the concepts of the lore. That being said, I told my colleague that my father still held the cane in his hand when I was twelve years old. Actually, it was more of a clothing hanger … not a cane. In public, I would be dragged away from watchful eyes, if not by the hand then by the ear, and then received a painful spanking on the buttocks under the fierce warning facade of my father.
As always, people will hold dear and fall back to their cultural practices. Their concluding remarks were simply,
“It is just safer to not hit your child.”