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Archive for Child Abuse

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Guest Blog: Corporal Punishment of Children Is A Serious Matter

by Murray A. Strauss

It was encouraging to read an article recently by Sir Frank Peters about the ill effects corporal punishment has on children. As the author of the book, The Primordial Violence: Spanking Children, Psychological Development, Violence, and Crime (Routledge, 2013) from which Sir Frank gathered material for his article, I agree entirely with all the observations made.
Corporal punishment of children is a serious matter, as shown by the scientific evidence in this book, which is based on large samples from many nations. These studies, and more than 100 others, found that corporal punishment increased the probability of many things that parents in every nation hope will not happen to their children,
* A weaker bond between parent and child
* Lower IQ
* Anti-social behavior and delinquency
* Depression
* Violence and sexual coercion of wives and husbands and dating partners

Corporal punishment usually stops the misbehavior in the immediate situation, but parents and teachers have no way of seeing the long-term effects such as depression or hitting a spouse because they do not show for months or years later.

Like all harmful events, most people who experience them, are not harmed. For example, while a third of heavy-smokers die from smoking related diseases, two-thirds of them don’t meet the same fate. Similarly, only a small percentage of solders in combat end up with Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
Corporal punishment of children is a serious matter given that only a fraction of those who experience a harmful event like being smacked actually suffer harm, those who have been smacked a lot can believe it is harmless, especially, if their culture says it is sometimes necessary. What it really means is that they are among the lucky majority who were smacked a lot and not harmed.

Harmful effects might not show up for months or even years later. That makes it even less likely to connect the behavioural problem to having been smacked when they were young. One also needs to understand, although corporal punishment has only a small probability of harming any one child, it’s almost certain to harm the

How can this be? It is because in most nations almost all children are smacked. Therefore, the number of children who later develop these problems is large, even if only one per cent of the children who are smacked have their IQ lowered, are depressed, or hit their spouse. Therefore, for each million children who are smacked, “only one
per cent” means 10,000 with lower IQ, depression, or violence against a spouse when they are adults.

From my extensive research on the subject, over a period of four decades, I can categorically state that corporal punishment is not beneficial to a child or society on the whole and I wholeheartedly agree with Sir Frank Peters that the sooner it is abolished worldwide in homes and schools, better the nation and the world would be.

The writer is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Co-Director, Family Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire. <murray.straus@unh.edu>

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To Discipline A Child Without Corporal Punishment

The method is to treat children with respect. It is to treat children as important as you are. It is treating them with the same respect with which you wish for
them to treat others.

In this 21st century, living in the age of satellites, it doesn’t take long to be knowledgeable or increase knowledge level or to be informative enough on the basis of requirement. Now do we teachers still need to blame ourselves for not being able to discipline a child without corporal punishment? What if a teacher thinks over this matter for a while? Actually, in what situation does a teacher need to push, grab, shove or slap a pupil in the classroom? Is it for they are rowdy in behavior? Or consistently not doing their home work? Or getting
distracted very quickly? Or distracting others in the classroom? A student can have hundreds of such involvements in the classroom, that’s why their status is
student and with responsibility to correct them our status is teacher.

In our country, we notice practice of a quick solution of any problem or disagreement. When a few whacks of a bamboo across the head can bring the disagreement a quick close, then why spending valuable time arguing,
discussing and disagreeing? But let us think a while does this practice match a relation ‘teacher-student’ by name?

Never, our function is to teach and train a human being belonging to lower age level than us, who have different physical, social and emotional level, who have made different learning progress at the time of getting the lesson from us.

Definitely we have to be very careful handling the overall matter. Yes, “careful”– is the term should come first to serve first. Teachers have to create a
successful learning environment and develop a close rapport with their learners. They have to know “learners’ needs” as a vital step to ensure the success of their learning program. Practically, a teacher’s role is very complex and challenging, but it is very exciting and rewarding at the same time.

“Learners ‘ need’ can be referred to as the ‘gap’ between  what an individual knows, understands and can do at any moment in time and what that person needs to know, understands and do to reach defined learning outcomes.

As soon as the teachers identify their ” learners’ needs, they can decide which motivation technique/ techniques they will apply for their learners. Yes…. ‘motivation’, ‘to motivate’ your learners is the next step to be followed.
Anything can be considered as motivators-to give reason, incentive, enthusiasm or interest that causes a specific action or certain behavior. Motivation is present in every life function. Simple acts such as eating are motivated by hunger. Education is motivated by desire for knowledge.
Motivators can be anything from reward to compulsion. We are the responsible persons to keep in our mind all the time.

To discipline a child without corporal punishment the time that children come into this world helpless and unable to thrive without us. Our job is to love and nurture them and to teach them how to live.

In my teaching career I have seen the practice of grabbing, shoving, slapping (very rare), pushing, pinching or confining a child into a small space, taping
their mouth shut, pulling by their hair, tugging at their ears, or belittling, mocking, embarrassing, cursing-though they are not every day practice, but believe me these offensive actions are nothing but robbing a child’s dignity
and self-esteem. Making a child look foolish in front of his or her peers couldn’t help the development of that child – or those who are watching.

Recently in an article of Sir Frank Peters published in The Financial Express, he gave a fearful picture that the psychology expert of Department of Psychology of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Dhaka, said: “Children, who experienced corporal punishment have symptoms of abnormally high stress hormones, which can kill neurons in brain areas crucial for thinking and memory, and high levels of an antibody that weakens the immune system.”

“It may cause a multitude of physical and social problems like school dropouts, mood and anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, cardiovascular disease,
arthritis, obesity and irreparable mental damage.”

According to Sir Frank— a lengthy Canadian study recently concluded that corporal punishment not only raised levels of aggression in children significantly, but also lowered their IQ levels considerably. I salute Sir
Frank Peters for his kind work with Barrister Sara Hossain to abolish corporal punishment from Bangladeshi schools and madrasas. May God give them
their due rewards.

Good people are engaged in different fields of works and accomplish their responsibilities. As a country of 98% Muslim population, we can relate, regarding the handling children, what the last Prophet (PBUH) was like.

There are several ways we can make children behave. Using force or fear or punishment makes the child angry, resentful, fearful and dependent upon force. We need to lead them to learn inner control. It is based on assumption by the teacher that children are by nature good, fair and honest and ultimately capable of responding to that, which is good, fair and honest within us. This method advocates to treat the child with respect. It is treating children as if they are as important human beings as you are. It is treating them with the same respect with which you wish them to treat others.

The writer is a schoolteacher, “Practically, a teacher’s role is very complex and challenging, but it is very exciting and rewarding at the same time,”  writes Dilruba Nasrin, <dilruba23@live.com>

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