Sun | Oct 17, 2021

Stop abusing children in the name of discipline

Published:Tuesday | July 27, 2021 | 12:06 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

I can recall the last time my father ever spanked me. I was eight years old and had disobeyed his command “not to visit Miss May, but stay in the yard!” Miss May was an old lady next door. I remembered that she was sick and I was her ‘doctor’. I was late in returning home one Sunday, only to discover that my father was home early from work.

He didn’t give me a chance to explain why I was not home. My mother, who knew why I was late, tried to defend me, but to no avail. My father pulled his belt to punish me. I bravely approached him and my mother shouted, “Why don’t you run like other children?” In my effort to run, the belt hit me in the right eye.

My father had to take me to the doctor and as he drove he turned towards me and said, “Please tell the doctor that you fell down and hit your eye.” The doctor asked me how I got hit in the eye. As the loving, obedient child, I did exactly as I was told. The doctor did not believe me, but he could not get any other answer from me. From that day, my father never beat me again.

Most children in Jamaica often experience physical or verbal abuse from their parents or guardians for doing things that are a normal part of their psychological development stage.

Many suffer abuse because of outdated belief systems, like ‘children must be seen and not heard’. In the end, these abuses circumvent children’s ability for critical thinking. This creates the vicious cycle of abuse, since those who abuse are themselves unable to differentiate between what is good or bad behaviour.

The Government should ban the abuse of our children.

DUDLEY MCLEAN II

Mandeville, Manchester