Friday, March 16, 2012

Spare the child!

“Baby Falak leaves for a better world!!”

Reading the headlines brought a lump to my throat. A two year old baby girl, so severely beaten up that she finally decided to leave this world and go to a better world? That someone could be so cruel to hurt a two year old child, leaving her with bite marks and cuts was unfathomable. I do not know this little child, but nevertheless it was painful! 
May she rest in peace.

My friend called me after reading about this and she sounded pained too. But why would she be pained, I asked myself. I know her to routinely spank her children. Just because they were not as grievously and fatally injured as baby Falak, did not mean they weren’t being abused. And here she was feeling the pain of a child she did not know but ignorant to the pain of her own children!

But aren’t little children in most houses being subjected to this kind of an abuse everyday? I have seen this in the homes of friends, relatives and acquaintances. In the garb of correcting the child, in the garb of ensuring that he/she grows up right. Eight out of ten people I know hit their child to ensure that their child is not spoilt. Take break guys, they are not mangoes!

I have seen parents spank their little ones mercilessly for reasons ranging from anything to everything!  To me it seems like they are venting someone else’s anger on the poor child.

One parent spanks her child because he gets up late. How will he learn discipline otherwise? So I ask her, how has hitting the child helped? He still cannot get up early!  Could it be the outcome of last night’s party? Maybe the child is too tired after the endless extra-curricular activities. He maybe genuinely, falling short of sleep. Maybe there is a serious disorder that needs to be addressed. But no, he will be spanked. Wouldn’t it help, if we spend time with the child at bedtime, instead of spending time watching television, trying to talk him out of his problems?

Spank the child if he is fussy at the dinner table! A friend spanked her child because he vomited on the dinner table. The child was made to clean his vomit and quarantined for bad behavior. Arre Behenji, I will vomit too, if I have eaten something disagreeable! Be thankful he didn’t try to eat it and choke on it!

Another mother complains that her son is rude, ill mannered, and fights all the time. There are numerous complaints from his teachers and friends. In her own words, she spanks him black and blue but he shows no remorse or improvement. I can guarantee that he will not! If anything, he will become more stubborn.
Why is the child behaving so? Is he craving for our attention? Is he a victim of bullying? By spanking the child, we make him feel more victimized than ever. In all probability he is picking up what he sees at home. Children are fast learners and our behavior is like a school.  

The same lady tells me, ‘Your son is Shravan Kumar, you must teach him to fight back, or else people will take him for a ride. ‘An eye for an eye’, that’s what I tell my child.’ she says. Oh! So therein lies the problem!  But sorry, I beg to differ. I believe ‘An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind’. It may sound clichéd, but I could never teach my son to hit back someone who has hit him.
My son told me of an incident where his friends were teasing him about something, and instead of fighting back, he explained to them that he felt hurt by their teasing and as a good friend he would never do that to them. They apologized. And I felt incredibly proud of him.

If our children see us lying, they will pick it up in no time. If mom and dad can lie why can’t I? Mouthing bad words? Be sure the child will learn that better than his ABC’s. One mother says, her son lies to her all the time, so she has to spank him; it will deter him from lying. 


I don’t think so!

My child doesn’t lie to me. I tell him that I trust him. I tell him that I will love him even if he has made a mistake. I tell him that admitting his mistake is a bigger virtue than denying or lying about it. And when he admits his mistake, I ensure that I do not admonish him for that. If he has admitted his mistake, it already means he knows he was wrong, isn’t it? I ask him what would have been the right thing to do. 

Trust your child.

I asked my friend to try this. But she said it did not work out. When I spoke to the child, he said, ‘Even when I spoke the truth, mom hit me, I might as well lie and get away with it.’ So there lies the problem!

There are endless reasons why we keep abusing our children, and we have great reasons for defending our action. But I can think of only one reason.


We know he is defenseless. We like to keep him awed about our presence at all times. 

I have strongly believed that no child should ever be abused, physically or verbally. It leaves an indelible scar on their young minds, FOREVER. For us it is a momentary action, but ask any child and you will know that they carry the wounds for a very long time.
Moreover, their little bodies are too weak to bear our heavy fists. What if you accidentally hit a vital organ, what if your spank on his back stopped his little heart or caused internal bleeding, what if it damaged an ear or eye.  We hit out of anger and seldom realize where our hand lands. Why do something that we have to regret for the rest of our lives?

Our children are born out of our love; they need to be tended to with love. I do not mean to say that we should not correct our children even if they are wrong. By all means, we should. That is what we are there for, for holding their little hands, when they falter. Every child is different and only the parent knows the best way of bringing up their child.
But there are a million ways to do that and spanking is definitely not one of them.

There is an old adage that goes, ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’, but I would rather spare the rod and spare the child. I would rather make this world the best place for my children to be. All our children need is a little patience.

(P.S. I guess I have been a little preachy, and I hope you will forgive me for that)


  1. Moving post.. :'). Couldn't agree with you more.

    1. hmmm..cannot get the little girl's picture out of my head :(

  2. Wow--this is a powerful post. How very sad for that little girl. And it's even sadder that this happens far too often.

    My parents were both abusive, physically and emotionally. I don't ever remember a time when I wasn't frightened.

    I made it out of childhood somewhat crazy, but alive. One of my younger sisters, however, wasn't so lucky. As an adult, she took her own life because the misery, anguish & emotional problems caused by the abuse was just too much for her to deal with. Sadly, she grew up to be an abusive parent, just as our parents had been.

    The happiest thing in my life is my relationship with our daughter. She's happy, well-adjusted and an amazing young woman. She's also my best friend. And she's never been spanked, verbally abused or physically abused.

    Because of my painful past I turned to humor and use my creative skills to write and draw things to make people smile and laugh...because laughter truly is the best medicine--and I believe it's sorely needed.

    (Thanks for stopping by my blog & for your kind comments!)

    1. Sad to hear about your traumatic childhood. But I am so proud that you have decided not to let your childhood affect your own child. A child needs to know that she is loved and that we will be there for her no matter what. Have a rocking relationship with your child!

      Your blog is beautiful and colourful and very creative...I am happy I stopped by!

  3. beautifully written..m indeed falling short of words. I too feel the same, children need love and care.

  4. preachy? no.
    but even if you feel that you were preachy, this is a preaching that most of us parents need. so thanks for the GOOD preaching! the instances you described here are those that we can all relate to

  5. Very moving post- very well thought out and very well said. I will still differ in my opinion of a light smack on the palm or a flick of a cane on the palm- as it has not seemed to leave any scars for me in my psyche or in the psyche of my children. It was always used in the most extreme of situations and not as the 'go to' method-- but rather the last resort when all else failed.

    I think the key is to find the right method and mode for each family and then stick to it consistently.

    Well written! Thank you for the link!!

  6. super shot! Child is the Father of man- If, we are open to learn from them.

  7. "I have strongly believed that no child should ever be abused, physically or verbally. It leaves an indelible scar on their young minds, FOREVER."

    This point should be noted by all the parents!

    If you hit your children often..They will surely become stubborn....Seen this practically!

    Enlightening post dear!

    Poor girl! May her soul rest in peace!

    1. You read it so well Sri Valli... and yes stubborn is all the kids become! thank you for reading!

  8. Well, the post caused a lump in my throat thinking of the times I have slapped my kids -yes, I have! But truly, if one were to do that often enough, apart from the criminality of the act, they will have spoilt the very meaning of human existence. it is somewhat akin to children thrashing their parents in the latter's old age.

    1. It is never too late to stop. And you are right, it is not just criminal but also very un-human... I have never been hit by my parents, and it helped me develop completely as a person, making my mistakes and learning from it...and now I take all care to ensure they never feel hurt. its a reciprocation of love, definitely! everything gets reciprocated ,like u said, maybe the thrashing too!

  9. Such a moving, touching post. Yes, as parent we want their best but is our best good for them? I know for a fact mothers vent on kids for no reason at times. That's not all, there is this lady, she constantly feeds her son, until he throws up :(

    1. oh yes, a lot of mothers do that..wonder what they will do if someone stuffs up their mouth similarly! passing on someone else's anger on the kid is again a strict no-no..

  10. Princess, It is gravely unfortunate that, there are many children who are abused under the guise of spanking, and this article is an attempt to give correct info to prevent such abuse....Spanking is a much debated topic.
    But, very frankly I feel... a light spank on the clothed bottom given with fairness, love and care is an effective disciplining technique. I have done it myself with my dotty but, when ever I did it, I ensured that nobody was around.And, it was never done in was basically to set rules that sometimes discipline will be sure (and swift)!
    How can parents be so ruthless...?? Beats me..!

    1. oh is a debate i've been in a lot of times with my friends too! and when u say, not hitting in anger, u've hit the nail there..because, when a parent hits in anger it is never a spank, it is more a thrash!

      when i have to discipline , i usually tell my child what he did, i don't tell him if he was right or wrong, i ask him to sit alone for some time and think about his actions, whether he felt he could have reacted differently. trust me, it has worked 100% of the times. i dont mean , he has apologised each time, he does if he feels he is wrong, but some times he has made me see his point of view! i might think, i was right, but his explanation makes realise , as parents we could be wrong too!

  11. The title of your post caught my eye and I while I was shocked to read the reason for this post, I was equally shocked when you said that 8 out of 10 kids whom you know are spanked by their parents!! I have been a mum since the last 9 years now and while I myself adopt the 'no spanking' policy atleast as far as my patience can last, I have hardly ever come across anyone who would use the hand - treatment with their kids. Every society is different I guess and I wish all those abusers would read your post and get some sense put back into their empty minds.

  12. My father was abusive. But sadly, my son will have the same opinion about his parents. I've the tendency to give him hand-treatment, whenever i lose control over my anger. Assertiveness and aggression joins together, and there goes my hand on his chubby cheeks. I've read this post of yours twice and probably will read it again and again so as to remind myself that i'm no one to raise my hands on my child. After all,as you say, "our children our born of love and they should be tended with love".

    1. Jini...Im glad that this post made you think....and like i said, it is never too late to stop. im sure you will find a way out this and it will benefit both you and your child. for our kids, we are the heroes and they look up to us for everything. so may you be the hero your child looks up to.


At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person..deep gratitude for those who have lighted the flame within me!! your comments will be appreciated..

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