My little one is forever full of questions! Maybe all children are like that. I was cooking dinner, when he strode up to me, his toy zebra in one hand, and tugging my dress with the other.
“Why do animals live in the jungle? Why can’t they live in apartments like us?”
I will save our conversation for some other day, but I remembered his question in context to a news that I saw on TV a couple of days ago. A live-in maid in Pune, who took care of a couple’s 11 month old baby girl while the parents worked in night shifts, was tossing the baby in air, kicking it with her feet and terrorising it in every possible way! How on earth can anyone be so heartless, was beyond my comprehension. To say I was shocked, would be an understatement. I felt repulsed just watching it. The contents of my tummy did a flip, every time she threw the child in air and played with like it were a toy! Luckily for the child, there was CCTV installed in the house, and alerted by the little ones reluctance to be alone with the maid, the parents decided to check the CCTV footage. And this is what they found out! Was the woman mentally sick to have been so ruthless with a toddler?
But again, is hitting, threatening or terrorising children restricted to someone heartless like that maid? Or is it a common feature in many homes? Just because there is no CCTV to monitor how people behave when angry, does not mean the abuse does not happen. I am not talking about a harmless spank if the child has been really naughty. But, I personally know parents who mercilessly thrash their children and say it is for the good of the child. In the garb of correcting the child, in the garb of ensuring that he/she grows up right. Five out of ten people I know hit their child to ensure that their child is not spoilt.
Take a break guys, they are not mangoes!
To me it seems like they are venting someone else’s anger on the hapless child.
One parent hits her child because he gets up late. How will he learn discipline otherwise? So I ask her, how has hitting the child helped? He still cannot get up early! And waking up to a sound thrashing is not the best way to start your day!! Maybe there’s some underlying problem, like a late night, or too many extra curricular activities or some actual sleep disorder like apnea… how about finding that out, for a start?
Another mother complains that her son is rude, ill mannered, and fights all the time. There are numerous complaints from his teachers and friends. In her own words, she spanks him black and blue but he shows no remorse or improvement. Black and blue? She has threatened to send him to boarding school, but to no avail.
I can guarantee that he will not change! If anything, he will become more stubborn.
Why is the child behaving so? Is he craving for our attention? Is he a victim of bullying? Shouldn’t we concentrate on finding that out? By hitting and threatening the child, aren’t we make him feel more victimized?
There are endless reasons why we keep abusing our children, and we have great reasons for defending our action. But I can think of only one reason.
WE HIT THE CHILD BECAUSE HE IS TOO WEAK TO HIT US BACK.
We know he is defenseless. We like to keep him awed about our presence at all times.
I have strongly believed that no child should ever be abused, physically or verbally. It leaves an indelible scar on their young minds, FOREVER. For us it is a momentary action, but ask any child and you will know that they carry the wounds for a very long time.
Moreover, their little bodies are too weak to bear our heavy fists. What if you accidentally hit a vital organ, what if your spank on his back stopped his little heart or caused internal bleeding, what if it damaged an ear or eye. We hit out of anger and seldom realize where our hand lands. Why do something that we have to regret for the rest of our lives? Maybe we should indeed have CCTV cameras installed in our houses.
Our children are born out of our love; they need to be tended to with love. I do not mean to say that we should not correct our children even if they are wrong. By all means, we should. That is what we are there for, for holding their little hands, when they falter. Every child is different and only the parent knows the best way of bringing up their child. And sometimes a mild spank or two is quite ok, if it gets a point across. There are a million ways to discipline a child and hitting, threatening or terrorising is definitely not one of them. It is this abuse that I am against.
So coming back to the question my little one asked me, I wonder if I should tell him, “Yes baby, animals do live in apartments.”
My name is Shubhangi Srikanth and I write under the pen name Titli. I started my blog “the little princess” and it helped me channel my thoughts in the proper direction.
After having worked for more than 12 years in the Pharmaceutical and Banking sector, I now freelance as a content writer for medical and health websites. I have two adorable boys, who have taught me more about life than I could teach them. Being a mother is one of the most fulfilling roles of my life, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world!