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Values & Education

Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child?


If a loving word or a kind suggestion does not help in making a child get back on the right track, can a whack or two come in handy? Is it okay to rap a child when he or she is unknowingly or intentionally not heeding good parental advice?

I grew up in the times when parental advice was usually heeded and if one became unjustly mischievous, a whack on the back, hands or legs was not considered criminal. Even today, if you ask me, I would consider the beatings that I received from my teachers and from my mother the best medicine for not being obedient in either behaviour or at studies.

Today, the scenario is slightly different. Schools have been ordered by the law to not use corporal punishment to fine tune children. Yes, the law has been brought in as an outcome of several insensitive teachers using this kind of reprimanding cruelly. Some teachers have also misused corporal punishment to get back at children they are prejudiced against. All is fine as far as not treating students cruelly is concerned. But what, after that?

Now the students are the ones misusing this law. Knowing fully well that they can escape the law since the power is no longer in the hands of the teachers; students have made a mockery of the entire education system. With too many facilities available and distractions existing everywhere, children are the ones now getting back at teachers. They know that they won’t be disciplined so they adopt the ‘let’s beat them at their own game’ attitude. The naughty children get naughtier and the good ones get influenced by them. The “Just wait and see, I am going to complain to your teacher” statement doesn’t work anymore.

So, even if they are scolded and beaten at home, they know that once they are in school where they spend the majority of their waking constructive time, they are free and can do whatever they want. Some even go ahead and threaten the teachers. There have been instances when students have beaten up or murdered teachers for scolding them in class.

I am not saying that children cannot reform without being rapped. I am not saying that a child cannot be won over with love and brought onto the right track. But where is a teacher or parent allowed to do that? Hectic lives, gory and vulgar entertainment 24×7 ensures that a child’s mind works overtime, unable to understand the sentiments behind a teacher’s or parent’s verbal reprimand. Today, the child talks back to the parent and is not scolded for being ill mannered.

Parents are going out of the way to see that they provide all the amenities that they did not get as children. While doing so they are doing away with the instructions that need to naturally follow the free granting of these amenities. And when the child becomes a spoilt brat they fret and fume, “Where did I go wrong?” The same is the case with teachers who go to extremes to reform a student. We either hear of extreme misuse of corporal punishment or extreme humiliation in the absence of physical punishment.

I have never heard of a student going astray because he was rapped on the knuckles by a teacher or a parent. But yes, I have heard of children hanging themselves because their teachers or parents scolded them. Why, in foreign nations, a child can even complain to the government against his parents for having harassed him. And, the government can even take away your child for that!

My write-up is not about the advantages of using the rod or the ruler in order to reform a child. My views are only reflective of the alarming situation that exists today wherein a child finds it easy to be destructive but finds it difficult to listen to verbal reprimand. So, will a rap in time spare a child from going astray? Will a sensitive tap help in stopping a child from taking his or someone else’s life?

What are your thoughts about using corporal punishment as a way of disciplining a child?

Shail Raghuvanshi is a freelance journalist, content writer, editor, book reviewer and poet. She has 15 years of writing experience in newspaper, magazine, radio and television. She has worked as a Spoken English Teacher too. She runs a blog for writers called Write Space and blogs at her personal blog Muse N’ Motivation. A daughter, wife, mother and friend, she believes that there is no situation that can’t be made better. Faith, Friendship and Family are what makes her life complete.