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Disciplining The Right Way

There is a video making rounds on social media. A mother was recorded severely hitting her daughter for leaving home and returning a few days later. The clip did not get the reaction I had hoped for. Instead, I was astounded by the replies from various social media users who believed the child deserved the punishment.

Unfortunately, these sentiments are shared outside of social media. Try showing your friends or relatives and hear their opinions on using physical force to discipline children. Many people, some of whom are parents, feel that employing force or physical measures to punish children works best. Several studies on parenting and punishment approaches, however, conclude that employing force or authority (e.g., hitting, verbal abuse, removing electronics) is extremely harmful to a child's growth and development.

When a child hits a child, we call it aggression. When a child hits an adult, we call it hostility. When an adult hit an adult, we call it assault, when an adult hit a child, we call it discipline. - Haim Ginott, child psychologist and psychotherapist

Returning to the video, it is quite upsetting to see a fellow woman committing this assault. This woman genuinely believes that her actions were justifiable, which makes it much more heartbreaking. The entire situation brought to mind a statement made on social media about an incidence similar to this: "A lot of women groom their daughters for their abusers." By physically abusing our children, we subtly convey the message that using force to exert control over others is acceptable. With this line of reasoning, it shouldn't come as a surprise when young boys grow up to be abusers and young girls into helpless victims.

I have heard several people justify this abuse just because it was used on them by their parents. But, just because your parents or guardians beat you or subjected you to various sorts of abuse as a form of discipline and you think you still turned out alright, still doesn't make it right.

This generation and those to come must look for safe, non-violent and effective approaches to discipline children.

Hitting children leads to trauma, not better behavior-Diana Divecha, (parenting and children’s development).
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