Raunjovit, 12 year old boy from a top notch school of Calcutta committed suicide by hanging himself after he was subjected to corporal punishment at school.
How could such incidences be avoided?
• Parents need to take active interest in their child’s school life. This will give them some indication or a prior notice if something is upsetting the child at school. Prevention is always better than cure.
• Parents themselves should believe that disciplining a child does not require them to be punitive. They should be against the proverb “spare the rod and spoil the child”.
• Parents and teachers should educate themselves and actively seek each others support on effective disciplinary methods through discussions during PTA meetings.
• Parenting is not an inborn talent or intuition, rather it is a skill which can be learnt by attending Parenting seminars.
• If you are still facing behavioural and disciplinary issues with your child, consult a child psychologist. There may be deeper emotional issues which require professional help like Play Therapy.
• It is a known fact that children find it difficult to express emotions verbally. Play being a natural mode of communication for children, children use play to communicate their emotions and resolve them. Play Therapist are trained to help children deal with difficult emotions using play as a medium for communication.
Why Should Corporal Punishment Be Banned?
Corporal punishment should be banned for the following reasons:
1. It has no place in the education of children.
2. It perpetuates the cycle of abuse.
• The research shows that children who are beaten and abused are more likely to be prone to depression, low self-esteem and suicide. The simple fact that corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure is not part of any education curriculum indicates that educators at every level know that corporal punishment has no place in the classroom. Discipline can and should be taught be example.
• Corporal punishment is often an outlet for adults’ pent-up feelings rather than an attempt to educate children. Many schools urgently need more resources and support, but however real adults’ problems may be, venting them on children cannot be justifiable. In any case, hitting children is ineffective in relieving stress. Adults who hit out in temper often feel guilty; those who hit dispassionately find they have angry and resentful children to cope with. Life in schools where corporal punishment has been abandoned in favour of positive discipline is much less stressful for all.
• Evidence all over the world indicates a strong relationship between high rates of corporal punishment and higher rates of poor academic achievement, dropouts, juvenile delinquents, incarceration and spouse abuse. There appears to be a strong link between corporal punishment during the growing years of a child’s life, and his/her easily becoming a perpetrator (of violence) later in life.
Respect vs fear. Respect should not be confused with fear. “Good” behaviour due to fear of being punished means that a child is avoiding punishment, not showing respect. Corporal punishment can appear to be effective when it results in immediate compliance, but its negative short and long term effects are well documented. The negative emotional impact of corporal punishment in fact impedes learning and undermines the teaching and learning process.
Children learn to truly respect people and things when they appreciate their intrinsic worth. When teachers demonstrate respect for children’s human dignity and integrity, children themselves learn to respect themselves and others. When teachers discipline children in positive, non-violent ways, children learn that conflict can be resolved without undermining this respect. Positive forms of discipline are designed to ensure that children learn to think about others and about the consequences of their actions. There are many materials available to support non-violent classroom management which can be adapted and translated for use in every country.
Discipline vs punishment. Discipline is not the same as punishment. Real discipline is not based on force, but grows from understanding, mutual respect and tolerance. Corporal punishment tells children nothing about how they should behave. On the contrary, hitting children is a lesson in bad behaviour. It teaches children that adults find it acceptable to use violence to sort out problems or conflicts.
Discipline problems should not be confused with discipline solutions. It is important to distinguish between problems with discipline in schools and the ways in which schools respond to those problems. There is a tendency for teachers who are against prohibition to point to children’s behaviour as demonstrating the need for corporal punishment. But children’s behaviour does not necessitate a violent response. Discipline problems in school result from a combination of many factors, including those relating to the child’s individual circumstances, the school environment, the nature and perception of the teaching profession in a particular country, the adequacy of the curriculum, etc. Poor school discipline represents a failure to identify and address appropriately the causes of the perceived problem; it does not result from a failure to inflict corporal punishment on children. Addressing disciplinary problems requires creative, empathic, supported, respectful and professional interventions, not beating and humiliating learners.
The Positive Disciplining measures should be introduced both at school and at home. It identifies four solutions that begin with the letter R: Related, Respectful, R reasonable, and Revealed in order to be effective. Their respective meanings are given below:
• Related means that it is directly linked to the misbehavior in some way;
• Respectful means that teachers retain a respectful posture when dealing
with a student;
• Reasonable means that the consequence or solution doesn’t contain any
additional punishment; and,
• Revealed means that the student knows in advance what the consequences