Corporal punishment can have dire consequences

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/11/7 21:23:40

A recently published article in your newspaper described how the behavior of some children in public does really drive people crazy.

But the more serious issue is how some parents, for one reason or another, defend their children's behavior. I experienced this while on the subway one evening.

It was the evening rush hour and the train was full. At one stop, a couple and their little daughter boarded. As there was little room, the mother carried her daughter in her arms. Seeing this, a young woman moved in order to make more space for the family of three. But the couple's little daughter still complained. Suddenly, she spit in the young woman's face and said, "I don't like you. You're taking up my space." I and everyone within earshot was surprised, and even a little angry. Nevertheless, the couple didn't say anything and just lowered their heads.

The child's attitude not only showed a lack of respect for others, but also revealed her parents' indulgence. For the sake of healthy development, parents should not ignore their children's wrongdoings, but rather take measures to help their children learn proper behavior.

If proper development is not cultivated, children may struggle to tell right from wrong. When encouragement and reasoning fail, for some parents physical punishment is a tempting solution.

But this may come with consequences. My friend told me a story about when he did something wrong as a child, his parents would slap him and lock him in a dark room. The combination of physical pain and darkness was hard for him to bear. But the punishment did have the intended effect.

But for some time, one side of his face was always swollen, something that drew ridicule from other children. In later years, he developed an unconscious habit of touching his face to check for swelling. That and a fear of the dark. To this day, he sleeps with the light on.

It is reasonable for parents to sometimes use discipline and corporal punishment to teach their children social rules and norms. However, children are vulnerable, and such punishment should be dealt out only after serious consideration. Otherwise, parents run the risk of causing deep psychological harm to their children.

Given the importance and complexity of child education, I suggest that our governments introduce a systematic and compulsory child education curriculum for parents. Professional teachers would provide detailed guidance for raising children during their early years, which will make for children's healthy development and a harmonious home.

Yang Mu, a free-lanced writer based in Beijing

Posted in: LETTERS

blog comments powered by Disqus