To wield the stick or not?

The arrest of an Indian couple in Norway for beating and verbally abusing their seven-year-old son has raised the question of using violence to correct children, once ag­a­in.

Though, in Indian culture, meting out harsh punishme­nts to errant kids has been a norm, world over, children are being viewed as citizens rightful of a loving and peaceful environment. If tortured physically or emoti­onally, they are even given the right to report the matter to police.

Is it time to change our parenting patterns? Metrolife finds out. Ameeta Wattal, principal, Springdales School, tells us, “There has been a huge cha­n­ge in the way child-rearing is perceived. Children are no more considered helpless beings who can be abused at will, but supposed to be treated as equals. Just as children should resp­e­ct parents, it is advocated that parents must also accord a degree of dignity to their kids.”

“Beating children or using abusive words, I feel, is absolutely dehumanising and unacceptable. In any case, the relationship between parents and kids is unbalanced. If parents take advantage of this imbalance and abuse their children, then what is the difference between home and streets where they are exposed to all kinds of people and treatment.”

Psychologist at VIMHANS, Dr Pulkit Sharma adds, “Even if parents do not realise this in the early years, abusing kids can have a devastating effect on their confidence level, self-esteem and the entire personality. Studies have proven that those who are exposed to abuse from guardians during their formative years, come to believe that it is an acceptable way of letting out frustration.”

“Sometimes parents themselves don’t know how to manage their anger, and let it out on the kids. Nuclear families where parents are working and have little time for kids, are most vulnerable to this phenomenon.”

Young parents agree that the tendency to let out your anger on kids incr­e­a­ses with job-related tensions, but also feel that new-age parents need to come up with more ‘humane’ ways to deal with naughty children.

Swati Wangnoo Tiwari, a dance teacher and mother of two, says, “Just as we deal with tensions, kids also have to live with rigorous studies, peer-pressures etc.. I, don’t believe in wielding the stick or using harsh words. There are always innovative ways to get your point across to kids.”

“For example, my son’s teacher once complained that he’s being unruly. I suggested she warns him that she’ll take away his beloved toy cars. Thankfully, the trick worked and he listens to his teacher now without she having to punish him in any way.”  

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