Is it Punishment or Child Abuse?

Punishing children at homes and schools

In the resent past we have seen in the media several incidents of child beatings by parents or school teachers showing ugly wounds or scars inflicted. The reason is “discipline”.

Beating or spanking is an age old disciplinary technique, so turning the tide against it may be difficult. Some people even argue that it’s a necessary tool in a parent’s arsenal of options.

In my opinion, canning a child to the extent of inflicting wound is a child abuse dressed up as acceptable punishment.

Whether majority of Kenyans approve of corporal punishment or not, Kenyans have distinct history with the subject. Beating children depressingly being familiar habit in schools and homes.

Children are beaten to keep them from misbehaving as we say. If beating children began paradoxically as a violent preventative of even greater violence then it was enthusiastically embraced in our culture.

We have heard of all sorts of excuses for beatings. Children have borne physical and psychological scars of beatings. We seem to have confused the connection of children behavior with corporal punishment.

The point of discipline is to transmit values to children. The purpose of punishment is to coerce compliance and secure control, and failing that, to inflict pain as a form of revenge.

Amusement make us lough and keep us from crying and disappointment. But no humour can mask the suffering that our children endure when they are beaten, feeling of sadness and worthlessness, difficulties sleeping, bouts of anxiety, outburst of aggression, diminished concentration, dislike of authority, and negative high risk behavior.

Equally tragic is that those who suffered beatings are likely to become beaters too.

We may seem to think that beating the child to that extent will stop the child getting in trouble with the law or mob justice for that matter. But physical and psychological damage done will probably remain forever. What will hurt less is the loving correction of the children misbehavior so that they grow up healthy to adulthood with no bitterness, and speak against violence wherever they find it.

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