PEOPLE SPEAK: Spare the rod, but spoil not your child

Our readers do not agree with the saying ‘spare the rod and spoil your child’. They believe that corporal punishment will only give rise to a generation of people who live in fear. Instead they advocate bringing the children up in an atmosphere that encourages children to share their problems with their parents, guardians and teachers

Corporal punishment is not justifiable at any cost. As the UN Secretary-General’s Study on Violence against Children sets a deadline of 2009 for all countries to ban corporal punishment, a new report – the first of its kind – shows that only 52 million of the world’s 2,187 million children are currently given the same protection as adults under national assault laws. Without doubt the target is very unrealistic but it has to start.

Corporal punishment in Nepal is taken as a form to educate or rather “tame” children and is regarded as “socially-acceptable”. Corporal punishment occurs in many settings — home, community, schools, workplace and institutions. Many incidents suggest serious violence and threats on children’s development, not to forget the long term impact on children. Various researches have divulged the fact of corporal punishments contributing to children’s disengagement from society as a whole. It is time for the government to ban all forms of violence against children. The government must work with PABSON and other stakeholders to ensure its implementation.

— Sanam Chitrakar, Advocacy Coordinator, CONCERN

‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ is in true in many situations. I don’t mean to say children should be flogged or grounded for several weeks, but their mischief shouldn’t be ignored. They do not know the difference between good and bad. Many parents ignore their child’s mistake. Day by day their child will be encouraged to do the wrong deeds leading to the child’s ruin. So a child should be given the right type of punishment at the right time. This will make him realise that even he will be hurt if he does something wrong.

— Raj Adhikari,Gongabu

Children will be wayward if they are not disciplined. However, corporal punishment will deprive children of physical, mental and moral development as it creates fear and fright in children. They will also be so affected psychologically and will start believing that they can do nothing in life.

— Mohan

Those who believe that punishment can help children from getting spoiling must be a century behind the today’s world. Punishment do not discipline children, instead leaves a bad shadow on them. Beating children for his/her wrong doing is an example of people’s ignorance. Children are too juvenile to understand the wrong from the right. So parents must keep children from doing wrong.

— Ravi B Thapaliya

If our parents are a little lenient, then can we share our problems with them and confide in them. Parents who approach do not resort to beatings go a long way towards making children realise their mistakes and are likely to help their children walk on the right track. However, thanks to the physical punishment, children constantly live in fear. It is the easy flow of communication that helps consolidate the especial parent-child bond. Therefore, it is not with rods and sticks, but with love and compassion, than one you actually bring up one’s child safely and wisely.

— Binu Gurung

I think corporal punishment is harmful towards child’s development. Talking from my own experience, a few months ago I taught for a month in a pre-school as a substitute teacher, and I found out that children listen to you more when you become their friend. When you remain a “teacher”, they are scared of you, but they really never listen to you. But when you become their friend, they will do whatever you ask them to do without making a fuss about it.

Children can be impossible at times, but they are just children and corporal punishment steals their innocence.

— Regina

Beating a cat will not persuade it to catch a rat. Thus, corporal punishment does not assist progress, development and motivation, but can be a tool for revenge, humiliation and degradation. Man is born of love. If we suppose birth a sort of development, we must accept that constructive development is by love not by punishment.

— Yuba Raj Guragain

Corporal punishment may change a child’s attitude for the time being but it cannot be a solution to improve his/her behaviour. A child needs constant guidance and if s/he is punished for each and every thing, s/he may develop a sort of fear which cannot in any way work towards a child’s development. One needs to be patient while dealing with a child, and punishment, in any circumstance, should not be imposed.

— Surakshya Gurung

We say that children are our future and parents make every effort to give their child the best. But what if we seize the child’s very right — the right to be a child? What if the child is punished or abused in every possible manner in schools or at home? What if the child is not shown any love? What would be the future? Ask yourself.

A child is like a flower. If we nurture it and care for it with love, it will bloom into a beautiful flower. Lets create a garden of beautiful flowers. Lets learn to love children — privileged or underprivileged. Corporal punishment is the thing of the past. All it can do is damage the child’s psychology and hamper development. Lets save our future.

— Urgen Lama

Corporal punishment does not help a child to turn out in the way you want. It is better to let them make mistakes, but will fix them themselves. And that will help them to learn from their mistakes. If you are a teacher or a parent, you know the agony you go through, when the child who can barely do anything insists that they eat by themselves, but spill most of the contents on the floor or table. What you can do is stand by with the cloth in your hands to clean it up later on. It is imperative you learn to let them spread or spill if they are to progress.

— Narayan Khakurel, Chabahil

Its a matter of pity that children are still getting punished even today, and it is either their parents or their teachers meting out corporal punishment. Instead of punishing them, I think it’s better to apply some positive reinforcement schedule so that they can help themselves. Children’s opinions should be listened to and if there is a problem, it should be shared and the best option to overcome their problem should be found.

— Richa Pyakurel

A child is a precious gift to his/her parents. But it does not mean pampering them to the excess. Educated parents know this and implement the habit of how they bring up their children. Overdoing of anything leads to an indisciplined and ill-mannered child. Corporal punishment is a big threat to society as well.This can leave a negative impact in the child’s psychology.

— Binu

Many parents spank their children in exasperation or anger after the child has ignored a verbal warning. Such physical punishment sometimes go to extremes. In developing a strategy for raising children, parents need to think ahead about how they plan to deal with inappropriate behaviour. Encouraging good behaviour is the key element of effective discipline. Parents who take positive steps to do so from the time child is born will seldom find themselves contemplating the last-resort punishment. One should apply consequences that are meaningful to the child, apply them soon after the negative behaviour occurs, and follow those with reassurances of love and trust.

— Ashok Banjade, Koteshwor

Corporal punishment is never advisable. Children are like a water in a vessel taking the shape of the vessel they are put in. Punishing a child may leave a negative impact on the child.

— Kiran Thapaliya

The saying ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ does not hold much water today. It has given way to love and encouragement instead. Many good schools and child development centres discourage corporal punishment. It has been shown that corporal punishment doesn’t even work with animals, let alone children. If today’s children are the future of a nation, then nurturing their childhood and creating proper environment for them to grow without any fear is very important. Corporal punishment instills a sense of inferiority complex and fear which can be devastating to a child’s personal growth. There should be a better and scientific methods that should encourage children rather than discourage them. These include non-violent discipline methods and particularly instilling a sense of responsibility.

Corporal punishment is generally given for doing what should not be done. It is force-oriented and tends to destroy a child’s creativity and sensitivity.

— Phurwa Gurung, Srongtsen Bhrikuti School

A few months back a student stabbed his school teacher to death. The reason was corporal punishment meted out against the student for not observing the school’s uniform. This tragic incidence unfolds the severity of consequences of corporal punishment. A rod cannot discipline a child. When an animal can be trained, why can’t we train our children? Are they worse than animals? We know children are by nature stubborn and arrogant. It is the teaching, persuasion and preaching through which we can bring changes in their habits. For this, parents and teachers need to have patience and deal with children carefully.

— Ambika Pandey, Chitwan

Corporal punishment is destructive. It hampers a child’s developing mind. Hitting the child is not the solution. Instead of meting out such punishment, they should be reprimanded in such a way that they realise their mistake. People should be given training on child care. Parents should also give their children proper care.

— Neelotpal Sharma

The ‘rod’ referred to in this ancient proverb refers not to the whipping stick but to a measuring stick. By failing to require children to ‘measure up’ to high ethical standards and personal striving, we do spoil them. Giving in to every whim or giving false praise is detrimental to a child’s character development. The best ‘measuring rod’ is good behaviour that serves as an example for children to follow. Adults who rant and rave and continually express themselves with anger and violence will only be giving children a bad example that will indeed spoil the child’s innate good nature. ‘As the twig is bent, so grows the tree’ is another wise proverb to ponder. If corporal punishment is ever necessary, it can be given without anger and in a loving way without violence. One spank, three hugs.

— Deanna Campbell

The life of a child is depends upon the way s/he is brought up. If everyone is sparing the rod, the child could have his/her own monopoly. What I believe is that there should not be much thrashing, but a little bit at times works wonders.

— Suniel Raj Dhakal

Yes, corporal punishment still works for the betterment of a child. This is the only way to strengthen the base of a child. I am still a student and I feel the heights I have reached is because I used to be punished in my childhood. This fails when anyone motivates the child against his parents.

— Pratik Thapa