Thu | Sep 16, 2021

We need corrective corporal punishment

Published:Thursday | July 22, 2021 | 12:07 AM


Violence against children is not the same as corporal punishment. The discussion surrounding child abuse in any physical form should not be found in the same discourse as physical corrective measure adopted by most parents to discipline their little ones.

A parent carefully flogging his/her child for misbehaving cannot be discussed in the context of obvious child abuse. Most Jamaican parents do not support abuse of children.

When the Bible says in the book of Proverbs that we should not ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’, it is referring to a corrective training that will be beneficial to the child, the parents and society at large. Those parents who have succeeded in training up their children in the way they should go usually produce quality men and women who add value to the world. Conversely, those parents who spoil their children usually create a burden for the welfare and correctional services.

I have a four-year-old daughter and my love for her is endless. I try my very best not to beat her unless it is absolutely necessary to impart certain values to her. I usually talk with her whenever she is rude and let her know her behaviour is unacceptable and that I would be giving her another chance. Shortly after, she would continue to misbehave but when she sees me with the belt, instantly she conforms. Occasionally, I will have to slap her. But, do I abuse her? Never. I flog her on her bottom and in her palms, gently. My heart moves with love and compassion for her so that I could never abuse her in my bid to send a corrective signal. This is discipline!

Abuse is abuse! The line must be drawn, Mr Prime Minister, but do not use a blanket approach and legislate against corporal punishment. This is what ensures discipline in the home after the talking phase proves futile.

Most of us are a product of proper and loving corrective training from our parents while we were growing up.

Parents with children who may have behavioural problems, or be deemed ‘uncontrollable’, must seek professional help and get schools’ guidance counsellors and deans of discipline to provide referrals. These parents must refrain from trying to solve the problems themselves through corporal punishment because this is where abuse may creep in due to the high level of toxicity.

Mr Prime Minister, we need legislation, but on what?