Monday, December 03, 2012

Sparing the Rod... [338/365]

So what was the adage again?
Spare the rod, spoil the child?!

I was beaten up pretty well, when I was raised. I feared homework time with my Dad. He had his weapon of fear- the hardened plastic handle of a broken fly-trapper. I still remember how a typical session with my dad would end up with my arms bearing reddish welts and my textbooks soaked with my tears. Gradually, my aunt took over the chore and I forgot all about the corporal punishment.

Recently Indian parents have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Governments abroad have always known that Indian parents are among the most physically brutal when it comes to corporal punishment but when the Norwegian government recently sentenced an Indian couple for over a year each for punishing their son, I suddenly remembered my good ol' days.

Surely, it was traumatic. And I remember the last time was disciplined with a stick and a sharp-nailed pinch in your ear lobes was when my sister decided to teach me Arabic in 10th grade. She had inherited all her dad's corporal punishment methods and my Arabic textbook was routinely soaked in tears. Corporal punishment is outdated. Maybe more people recognize that now than before. I was a slow learner but in the eyes of my parents- a weak student. Thankfully, she is more gentler and understanding with her kids and I have Oprah to thank for that.

Disciplining children is a science. I know plenty of young children who are exceptionally well behaved. They are smart and courteous and very socially-aware. While our children have come of age, our parents haven't.
I know lots of parents who still use draconian ways of disciplining. And if the Indian government decides to punish each of them, then 80% of our adult workforce will be in prisons serving life-sentences. Why, we'll even need to convert most of our government offices into prisons just to accommodate them.

I am opposed to corporal punishment.
Yet, I will also say that Indian parents punish their children because they love them. We take solace in the Christian verse: Because He loves us, He punishes us, just as a father would discipline His children...'.
Russell Peters famously joked about how his 'father would beat the crap out of him and how he was the envy of the white boys that he used to hang around with'. We all laughed so hard that we pee'ed through our nose.

Why can't we find newer and more effective ways to discipline and reprimand?
Beating the crap out of your child is surely not the way. It never was.

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