Would You Slap Your Child?

Recently, a video surfaced online showing a mother dealing rather aggressively with a preschooler who was being difficult. The person who filmed the video claimed that the boy was flung onto the ground by the mother, however, he did not manage to get a clear view of that scene when it happened. The internet has since been divided on their views with some expressing their shock and disgust at the mother’s actions while others who are mostly parents (mothers to be exact) empathized with the mother and felt that this issue was blown out of proportion.

The original video still be can viewed via Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152651346326837&pnref=story

PCF-Incident-1024x609Screenshots of the video taken from edumatters website

According to the video, it seems that the boy was outside his school, a PCF childcare centre. So he should be a preschooler of no more than 6 years of age. That’s still pretty young to me. A young child of that age is still immature, lacking the capacities to control their impulses, reasoning to guide their behavior, as well as think of the consequences of their conduct. And don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that because of this, children should be allowed to do as they please. Yes, please discipline your child when required but not in a way that demeans their self-esteem and confidence.

Personally, I felt that the mother’s actions were inappropriate. And even more shocking was how she did not even appear bothered by the fall, be it due to her own fault or from the child trying to break free from her grasp.

As a mother to a toddler going through terrible 2s, I can totally understand the meaning of being pushed to your limit. There have been moments where I found myself at the breaking point. I have caned and smacked my boy before and felt extremely guilty afterwards. Sometimes, in the midst of one’s anger, it is so easy to forget their they are still little. And I have friends who instill a “No Hitting” rule where they do not use physical punishments to correct behavior. Honestly, I am amazed at how they do it because it sure takes a whole lot of patience and self-control.

After reading several studies on how hitting your child will only create more problems for him even though the damages are not immediate. I have stopped using the cane or the hand, but tried alternative methods to get my point across and trust me, it is difficult to get anything across to a 2 year old that thinks he knows it all and wants everything his way. But is it his fault for being like this? Is it my bad parenting that makes him appear like a spoilt brat? No, this is just how toddlers are wired. Have you heard of toddler amnesia? The reason why your little terror keeps doing things which you have repeatedly warn him not to is due to the rapid development of nerve cells in the hippocampus (the part of the brain that registers events and stores them as memories). Their brain cells are growing so quickly, they just forget what mummy said not to do.

Anyway, what really prompted me to write this blog entry was not the video but the comments from other mothers. Some said that it takes a parent to know another, so those who are not parents should not even comment much. I am a parent myself and I do not think it is appropriate to yell and scream at your child in public. That is just crass! You may think it is perfectly fine and sure, whatever floats your boat but please leave the other parents out of this.

Another mother mentioned that she slapped her child who has mild autism once because he was hitting her too many times. Parents with special needs children have it tough, I guess they often find themselves struggling and being pushed to the limits each day. I have read blogs and stories on how parents felt so miserable and guilty after snapping at their autistic child. But this mother or at least from her comment, she seemed to justify that slap was a well-deserved one. Then came another comment where a mother also claimed to have slapped her child because he was throwing a tantrum and just being difficult. Her profile picture was that of a toddler but it could have been an old photo or maybe she was referring to an older child (I hope).

So here’s the golden question – Would you slap your child?

I only thought slaps were reserved for rebellious teenagers who crossed the line in an extremely severe scenario and he or she was asking for the slap as a wake up call. I just cannot imagine slapping a toddler, a primary school kid or even a tween. Did you know that slapping a child especially near the ear might cause damage to the ear drums? When in a moment of anger, would the parent be able to gauge well enough to avoid the ear when delivering the slap?

When a man slapped a 3 year old at the playground, he was arrested by the police. When a childcare teacher manhandled a preschooler, the internet cried foul and parents rejoiced when she was sentenced to jail. So why is it ok for us as parents to be slapping or manhandling our children in the name of DISCIPLINE? Have you ever thought how that slap might be damaging to a young person’s emotional and mental well-being? It could be a slap for now, next time it might turn into a shove, punch or even a push down the building.

We as parents are looked upon by our little kids as ones who protect them and love them unconditionally. Let us not betray that trust and remember that when we find ourselves full of rage. You say, it isn’t easy being a parent. No one said it was easy (as the Coldplay song goes) and that’s just the way parenthood is. The next time you find yourself blinded by rage, turn around away from your crying, tantrum-throwing kid and count to 10. If you are at home, give yourself space and go into another room.

If you need help, please seek counseling or anger management. Join a support group or speak to your family. You don’t want to do something that you would live to regret for the rest of your life.

 

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