Psychological & Emotional Damage Corporal Punishment can Have on Children
Once I read a poem in 4th standard, it beautifully described the relationship between parents and their off-springs. I can’t recall its name but it was in my mother tongue Hindi which made it more meaningful and self-explanatory. It stated how a child is like the clay and the parents are like porters, while their parenting is like the potter’s wheel.
Heavy strokes on the gentle clay could break the creation before forming. While swift movements of hands would slowly and steadily mould the clay to make a beautiful article. Similarly, in life, children are like the immature clay which has no shape, lustre, and form. It is the parents who breathe life into them by nourishing them.
Shortcuts come with risks:
Putting efforts and time in parenting is what most nurturers skip. They prefer taking the shortcut which means beating, yelling, scowling and abusing them to plant fear in their child. Whenever their child misbehaves, they don’t school them but turn their cheek black and blue.
Such parents feel that hitting their child will stop them from putting up this kind of behaviour, as they know they will be punished. But does it really stop a child from misbehaving? The answer is No, as none of the studies claim that giving Corporal Punishment would ensure your child will never misbehave in life.
Kids are curious beings, who learn from their surroundings:
They quickly pick up behaviour of those around them. If saying a bad word or using foul language makes someone giggle, they will do so as they think it is funny. Instead of canning your child. You should rather sit and make your little one understand why it is bad and if he/she continues to do so, you’ll punish them.
You have to understand that raising a child means taking care of a sapling. It needs water, air, light, and love. A correct balance between loving, teaching and letting them free is what will make your child an individual than a “mini-me” of yours. You should never strife for making your child to become a replica of you. Let your tiny bud be the most unique version of herself.
Kids imitate their parents and for them their parents are never wrong, they are perfect the way they are. Sadly, most parents don’t feel the same about their kids. Everybody wants their child to be the smartest of the lot but the way they nurture them makes them just like everybody else, broken little adults.
Children who are repeatedly abused by their parents see the world with fear:
Such kids have little faith in others, are conscious of how they behave in public. Constantly live under the fear of getting beaten by their parents. They lack social skills, are emotionally vulnerable and do not open up to anybody.
Keep many secrets inside and maintain boundaries at a very young age. They dwell in their own world away from human interaction, where they loathe and feel secure. This can be tormenting both emotionally as well as psychologically.
Teenage years are excruciatingly painful for girls raised by abusive parents:
Such kids face hardships when they enter teenage years, especially girls who are raised by abusive parents. The transition from a girl to a lady is both mentally and physically challenging. As they hit puberty, their body undergoes constant change. Since they don’t have anybody to tell them, what’s happening to them. They become self-conscious, hating and disliking the change.
Many girls develop eating disorders during this period. They don’t want their body to alter. The stretch marks, the breasts, the acne on the skin and the monthly cycle becomes a topic that they never really understand. Lack of parental guidance, knowledge on the transition makes them scared of what is happening to them.
Predators often prey on such girls:
This problem is bigger than it seems as for girls when they slip into the teenage years, the world looks at them with different eyes. The good old brotherly figures start prying on them and older men aim at them, as they think of them as an easy prey.
Girls who come from such backgrounds are on their radar because these predators know they will never speak up or if they will, then their parents will blame them only. Beating, punishing, grounding them or making them feel guilty for the mistake they never committed. The rough teenage years either makes them emerge as stronger or makes them timid.
In most cases, girls who go through such ordeal never speak up until it’s too late. However, in both instances, they lose faith in everybody, distance themselves and find it difficult to trust and to connect with people. Their entire life is marked with endless silence and social awkwardness that never seem to go away. No matter how much they try.
Fearful boys who later become control freaks:
Things aren’t easy for boys too as many young guys, who have been profusely smacked by their parents, for no valid reason have anger management issues. As adults, they resort to solving their problems either by using violence, cursing or breaking things, instead of sitting down and talking.
Mainly because they have seen their parents use violence as a tool to school their kids or partner. A few, who have had abusive fathers, often practise domestic violence at home. They become control freaks who repeat the same cycle as they feel, it is the right thing to do.
Kind of dictators, who like others to please them, and obey them. Because they believe they’ve had a tragic fate and now it’s their time to avenge. Since their parents have been emotionally unavailable and extremely harsh on them. They have waves of emotions. It’s hard to figure out what could make him happy, angry or upset.
Little boys projecting the image of angry young man:
Such guys portray the image of angry young man but inside they are fragile little kids, looking for love. However, they stay away from seeking deeper connections as they fear, they might catch feelings or get heartbroken in the process.
Some also develop social anxiety or become anti-social due to the lack of faith in people. To cope up with the feeling of emptiness and emotional instability. They may abuse drugs and adopt other bad lifestyle changes that make them forget the void for a while.
Problems with sustaining relationships:
Some adults who were the victims of such abuse get so overwhelmed by physical touch that they fear it. For them, love and relationships are a tricky affair, as it includes emotional and physical compatibility.
Many such adults find it difficult to carry forward relationships because they don’t want their feelings to be wasted on someone, who doesn’t value it. Like they have seen in past, portrayed by their parents. Or merely see them as a beautiful subject or moreover an object to entertain themselves with.
They either run away from people or choose the wrong one. In some instances, young girls don’t fight when they are being physically abused by their partners. Because they think there is no harm as they have seen their father or mother exerting physical pressure on them to teach valuable lessons in life.
Not all kids grow up alike:
However, not all kids grow up to be mentally and emotionally challenged as some get over the phase, when they slip into adulthood. Especially those who build deeper connections with a few close friends as they find happiness in their company. The laughs, the talks, and the endless chatter compensate the love, that their parents fail to provide them at home.
They may never tell their friends what goes in their mind but the time spent with them makes them forget their monotonous life. On the contrary, there are many who accept it as a phase of their life and do not depend on others for their happiness. Introvert kids who grow up be sane, for years have kept themselves occupied in hobbies like reading, writing, drawing, painting, dancing etc. It keeps them entertained and also helps in calming their troubled mind.
Whatever the case may be, kids do carry the weight of a rough childhood in their adulthood. As it is the only time when they truly understand the meaning of life. Why they are like this? And why the world appears a lot different to them. They start questioning everything and the more they know, the deeper they dwell into the spectrum. That is why such kids are often noted to be introverts, empaths, loners or someone with a complex personality.
What to do instead:
Every parent aspires to raise a child who is intelligent, is well disciplined, have great virtues and obeys others. Good parenting involves taking care of your child’s mental and emotional heath rather than, stressing on moulding your little one into an adult. Don’t use the Machiavellian approach with your kids, nobody is perfect here, neither you nor I, nor your little one. So let the breeze of childhood caress your little one’s tender soul.
One must understand the difference between Punishing and Abusing:
Threatening your child which includes mental and physical torture, will only harm them to the point that they might lose their faith in you. So be patient and let your children learn from their mistakes. Let them fall, give them the liberty to open up to you and share their nitty-gritty secrets. Don’t hit them hard enough, don’t hush them, don’t tell them that their words are unimportant and their existence is meaningless.
If you do so, remember that later in life, your child might face mental and emotional distress. And nobody wants that, so don’t be too judgemental and instead of raising your hands, and cutting their fragile little hearts with harsh words. Try and be patient, talk to them like a friend would and it’ll be easier for them to open up.
Overcome the Communication barrier with your child by following these tips:
- Strict parents often have this conversation barrier with their little one. To break that you can play with them, take them for walks or share stories from your childhood.
- Partake in the hobbies they enjoy doing, so you two can bond well.
- Celebrate their little victories like when they perform well in sports, excel in studies or bring home a prize in art.
- Encourage them when they don’t do well in academics or extracurricular activities.
- Don’t hit them just because you had a rough day, have emotional buildup or are mad about something.
- Don’t tell your child that he/she is a failure and will never succeed in life.
- Hug your little one and peck his cheeks. Make him feel safe around you.
- Kids yearn for affection so tell your little one that you love him to the moon and back.
A humble piece of advice for all parents:
If you have anger management issues then try to tackle it before planning a child otherwise, this will only worsen the condition. As many parents dealing with such issues not only give physical punishment to their kids but also throw objects at them, whatever their hands can get hold on.
Your child is a gift to you and to humankind, sent with a distinct purpose. Your main objective should be to take care of your child’s mental and emotional well being. Not to make them feel lonely and isolated at a young age, who fears telling things because he/she doesn’t fit in the real world.
They think like an adult, are wise beyond years, know how cruel the world is and feel they don’t deserve love. Instead of raising that rod to hit your child with, raise your standards and see how your child will prosper.
Note for those who have gone through physical abuse:
Your past shouldn’t dictate your life because it doesn’t exist now. Instead of wasting your time in cursing or blaming your parents. Try not to repeat the same cycle or not use it as a tool to incur wrath on other people. Everybody suffers in different ways, such is the course of life. You should never use it as a medium for indulging in drugs or for blaming your parents for your failures and bad temper. It is your journey, you must evolve.
Let thy spirit be high in love. Namaste