Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child, Traumatise

Abusing children is not okay.

The government requires us to take tests to gain qualification for whatever profession we choose, but does the government care if people are fit for marriage, and raising children? As far as I have witnessed, there aren’t any restrictions on the people can marry and under what terms – unless they’re gay, in which case, cue the stones and lynch mobs – and no one cares how many children are being raised under one roof, much less the treatment they face at the hands of none other than their gene donors, who brought them into the world and are responsible for their wellbeing.

If we think of the traditional upbringing of children in Pakistan, or even most of Asia, almost every child has suffered from corporeal punishment. The old adage, “Spare the rod, spoil the child,” is the tested and tried motto of all well-meaning parents, who prefer to remain ignorant of the trauma they inflict on their child by abusing them.

From one perspective, we can’t blame them: their parents raised them the same way, and their parents were raised similarly and so on. One could argue that they don’t know better, or they unconsciously reflect the behavior they themselves witnessed as children. On the other hand, we can’t help but blame them: they can’t forget how their parents treated them, complete with memories of punishments and restrictions, shouldn’t they know better? Yes, they need to treat their offspring unlike how they were raised.

The first place to start would be to keep their voice, and tone in check. No one and I mean absolutely no one has the right to scream at children. It messes them up more than anyone can imagine. Please, do not yell at your children, or any children, for that matter. Screaming at them because of some wrong they’ve committed isn’t justifiable, but raising your voice and justifying it by playing the parent card, which is thinking that because you gave birth to that child, you are entitled to abusing them, is despicable. Thank you, for providing the child with food, clothes, shelter, and an education, but that still does not give you the right to raise your voice at them.

The, “My house, my rules,” claim has gotten old, and we need to leave it behind in the past century.

But if you’ve already yelled at your kids, here’s what you can do.

Apologize.

Say you’re sorry and explain how you misplaced your anger. Tell them that people should not yell at each other, because it’s not normal, ethical, or simply, not nice. Make sure you mention that it was absolutely not their fault for being yelled at; it is not uncommon for children to blame themselves for what their parents put them through. They often externalize those feelings, which later develop into anxiety disorders, self-esteem issues, and inferiority complexes. Such children may even aspire to be perfectionists and are likely to project their anger toward their parents onto others. Don’t do that to them. Keep yourself in control, and if you lose it, apologize. You’d be surprised at what a sincere apology can fix.

Next up is the issue of punishment. Here’s a chart that can take care of the doubts you have when it comes to physically punishing them.

In psychological terms; using violence as a means of getting rid of undesirable behavior is modeling for violent behavior.

In simple terms; if you hit a child as punishment, you’re condoning physical violence as an acceptable method for them to use whichever way they please.

Children never forget being hit. Once you’ve raised your hand, they won’t let go of it, they won’t forgive or forget. You cannot undo your actions, so think carefully, before letting your emotions get the best of you. All parents do by hitting their children is increasing chances of disruptive, hostile, and anti-social behavior, with a decrease in academic progress. Besides, children will simply find clever methods of avoiding being found out, rather than not repeating the behavior. In addition to this, relations between parents and children will become problematic, and undesirable.

An easier method of allowing children to reason for themselves, rather than stunting their ability to reason, would be positive punishment. This kind of punishment involves rewarding children for being good, and not rewarding them for being bad, in place of just punishing them for being good.

It is up to the parents to raise a mentally stable person, who places reason before action on the behavior scale. Don’t raise a suicidal, depressed, juvenile delinquent who will harm themselves and others.

 

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