Violence Starts at Home.
Let's face it, violence is as South African as boerewors, braai, pap and sakki-sakki music. Faced with "disobedience" our favorite tool is still hitting,sjambock, a kick in the pants, a humiliating dressing-down or just plain old neglect. (Yes, neglect is just another form of violence) Somewhere along the line, modern humanitarian psychology has just passed us by. The thought and evidence that violence harms both the perpetrator and the receiver, denigrates us, pummels our feelings of self-worth and confidence and limits us as human beings, is still a foreign language to too many S. Africans.
We are top of the pops as far as murder, rape, break-ins and theft. Yes, poverty does play a role here but the examples we are setting our children i.e. how we are using violence to solve problems, lays the foundation for our nation. We would do well to reflect on our atitudes to violence at home and in our schools.
A seventy year old man I know, who has struggled a life time with feelings of self worth and self confidence, still tells me that he must have been a very bad child otherwise his father would not have beaten him so much. Other voices who were there as well, tell me that the father was a brutal bully, always on the look out, for someone he could vent his moods on.
The latest ANC law on spanking is just another symptom of a brain dead government. Parental corporal punishment usually takes place in the privacy of the home, away from the public eye. The child /adult relationship is such, that a normal child almost always assumes the guilt. "Mommy or Daddy is right, I am wrong". Children want to believe in their parents. If they cannot believe int their parents, who can they believe in? Not to be forgotten, the adult is definitely in the more powerful position.
Should a "spanking" ever come to court, there would have to be bodily damage or witnesses. If these are missing it is just testimony against testimony. Pity the judge!
Toothless laws do not help anybody. Instead of building a world class educationla system, backed by well trained social workers and psychologists, who can pick up behaviorally disturbed children from dysfunctional homes, we are getting mud-huts, undelivered books and archaic nonsense "always respect your elders" although many of the elders do not deserve as much as the time of day.
It takes just one behaviorally disturbed child to bring a class of thirty children to a standstill. Giving a behaviorally distubed kid a whack or a hidding, is not going to pull him into line. The child is already too disturbed and other measures are needed. That our teachers have to face these kinds of situations wthout the necessary professional backing is just another sign how sick our educational system is.
For all of you out there who still believe in coporal punishment, may I suggest that you read some of Alice Millers books. A good book to start with is "For Your own Good: The Roots of Violence in Child Rearing" Amonst other issues, Ms Miller asks, are we really hitting the child for it's own good or could we just perhaps be hitting the kid because we are.....in a bad mood, overtired, have been looking for an object to get ride of our frustrations, anger, ....our own incompetence...?
This is not a book for light-weights. I dipped into the Amazon reviews of this book and found "A difficult book to read, because of all the pain it evokes"
"If anything, after having read this book, you will think twice before lifting your hand to hit"
Child-raising and education is a heroic task, which asks patience, maturity and great humor. I am not assuming a Don Quixote stance, where the enormous difficulties are white washed. I am pleading for more thought and less force.
P.S. my motto is " I have been mistaken before"
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