Corporal punishment is abuseTuesday, July 27, 2021
I can recall the last time my father ever spanked me. I was eight years old and had disobeyed his command not to “visit Miss May”, but to “stay in the yard”.
Miss May was an old lady who lived next door. I remembered that she was sick and I was her 'doctor'. On my daily visits, I would “wet up” her head with the rubbing alcohol or bay rum and cut the “single bible” in two, then bandage them on her head.
Because I cared for her, I was late in returning home one Sunday, only to discover that my father was home early from work.
I was not given a chance to explain why I had not been home. My mother, who knew why I was late, tried to defend me, but to no avail.
My father pulled his belt to administer my punishment. I bravely approached, but my mother shouted, “Why don't you run like other children?” In my first effort to run, the belt hit me in the right eye. The result was that he had to take me to the doctor.
As he drove me to the doctor's office, he suddenly turned towards me and said, “Please tell the doctor that you fell down and hit your eye.” The family physician, Dr Feanney, asked me how I got hit in the eye. As the loving, obedient child, I did exactly as I was told. The doctor did not believe me, but he could not get any other answer from me. From that day, my father never spanked me again.
Most children in Jamaica often experience physical or verbal abuse from their parents or guardians for doing things that are a normal part of their psychological development, such as a desire to explore their environment, frequently asking questions, playing, or a justifiable need to help others.
Many suffer abuse because of outdated belief systems like “children must be seen and not heard”. In the end, the abuse subverts children's natural inclination for critical thinking.
This creates the vicious cycle of abuse since those who were abused, physically and/or verbally, are themselves unable to differentiate between what is good or bad behaviour due to the underdevelopment of their critical thinking ability.
The Government should ban the abuse of our children.
Dudley C McLean II
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login