Many adults around the world have probably been smacked or beaten with a belt or stick as a child. Beatings were seen as standard punishment for poor behaviour and the more serious the behaviour, the more intense the beating. Some who reflect on those moments today can still recall the pounding terror and seething pain when those who love you are driven to hurt you, praying for it to stop.
Some parents would physically harm their children out of uncontrolled rage whilst some would dole it out in a more measured, calm and calculated manner. However it was delivered, it did damage, physically and emotionally. The line, “…this hurts me more than it hurts you” or “…I do this because I love you”, doesn’t wash. If that is the case then please stop. I am a child, I am learning and I make mistakes. Can you, as the adult, not find another way to teach me aside from through physical assault? Let’s get one thing straight, beating your child, in no way, shape or form, has anything to do with an expression of love.
The damage of corporal punishment goes way beyond the immediate physical dangers from a parent using excessive force on a child. Numerous studies have found that physical punishment increases the risk of broad and enduring negative developmental outcomes and adversely affects academic achievement. Put simply, if you hit your children, growing up will be more challenging for them and they won’t do as well at school. Besides, hitting your children is the quickest route to lacing them with anxiety and depression disorders or it can lead to substance misuse and domestic violence, all of which can take a long time to unravel and resolve. Every beating you give your child will affect their academic success, their long-term well-being and their relationship with you.
Fortunately, times are changing and non-violent parenting has begun to take root. Sweden banned any form of hitting in 1979 and there are now 58 countries that have followed suit. Vietnam’s position is clear in that it forbids the use of violence towards children.
We at BIS Hanoi do not condone the use of any form of corporal punishment at home. We take this line because we work closely with children and we see the harm it does. If we know it is happening, we will want to speak you to help you find another way.
What can you do as a parent?
- Don’t beat your children!
- If you beat your children in moments of anger or frustration, consider a coping strategy: count to 20, take yourself out of the room or breathe deeply for few moments. Beating children when angry runs an increased risk of injury to your child.
- If you administer controlled and measured physical punishment, talk with your spouse about agreeing to find an alternative discipline strategy. Explore using reward more explicitly or taking away things your child values. Changing wifi passwords and having your child earn the right to know it is extremely powerful.
- Think about the words you use when speaking to your child, particularly in fits of rage. What you say will be remembered.
- Talk to us in school if you feel you need some parenting ideas. Remember, many of us are parents too with children who don’t always do the right thing.
- Stop and think before you hit your child – smacking hurts more than you think.