In our culture, parents usually resort to swatting their children at the slightest hints of disobedience and mischief. It is quite a normal thing to do in our society; it’s an acquired habit. Moreover, it’s a cycle. Kids who are punished with a beating in their childhood grow up to use the same technique on their children. That’s what they believe is necessary, normal and inevitable as parents. It’s an important element of parenting according to them.
You’ll barely find anyone today who hasn’t been physically punished in their childhood. As I said, it’s been normalised in this society for the parents as well as the children. When a parent spanks a child, he doesn’t realize it’s wrong because that’s how his parents brought him up. The child will too over the years come to understand and learn that beating up is a completely normal way of upbringing and will take this lesson into his adulthood, giving rise to a pattern.
According to research, it’s mostly ruled by the parents’ own frustration and stress that may be triggered furthermore by their kid’s mischief and faulty behaviour. In most countries, the same is illegal too and serious action gets taken against the guardians if any such case is reported. However, here in India, most people aren’t even aware of the toxic nature of it.
Now when I talk about how beating a child is a wrong parenting practice, that doesn’t insinuate that simply nudging or a light slap in some specific cases is wrong too. We need to understand why it’s wrong in the first place in order to grasp other facts about right parenting.
First and the most basic adverse impact of that kind of parenting is the lesson that is being imparted on the child; teaching them that violence is the answer to anger and that punishment is better and effective when it’s physical. Every child is different and has a different mental capacity and coping mechanisms. Regular and brutal beating at the smallest of mistakes can push and develop a hoard of ill behaviours in the kid. Some might develop inferiority complex, lowered self-esteem and impaired cognitive ability. Each child may react to it differently but what is definite is its brutal effect on the child’s life in retrospect.
Physical punishment may instead encourage the behaviour that it is intended to reprimand and in other cases, it may simply develop an incessant fear for the parents, in turn making them hostile and anti-social. Moreover, it can create resentment in the child’s mind and heart for the parents, which can take horrid turns in the long run. They usually beat their children up in the first place in the name of discipline but the action does everything besides that. It instead inculcates a bunch of negative feelings that may or may not be taken by the child into their adulthood.
There is fear, guilt, anger, self-image issues, antisocial and egocentric behaviour and heavy emotional stains that stay with them for years to come. As parents who use physical punishment on their kids themselves may be instilled with feelings of guilt, extreme anger or just memory flashes of their own abusive childhood. Although, punishment is an important part of child-upbringing, there are different kinds of them. There are a lot of ways a child can be punished in order to really inculcate disciplined and rectified behaviour in them. To conclude, the purpose of a punishment is to make them realize they did something wrong and make them understand, accept and rectify them and not stain them emotionally for the years to come.
Written and Edited by - Akshi Ranka