Mixed reactions to PM’s call for ban on corporal punishment

SHAKEN by the news that four-year-old Nashawn Brown from St Catherine was allegedly beaten to death by his stepfather, Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday said he would be pushing to bring a halt to the use of corporal punishment as a child-rearing tool. The Jamaica Observer took to the streets to get reactions.

Old Harbour, St Catherine:

Sophia Pottinger, 47-year-old vendor and mother of six

“Children must get lick! These children nowadays are very rude and not hearing. When I was younger my parents would beat me and it has made me a better person today. Some children are very stubborn, so if you don’t beat them, they won’t hear you, especially the boys. And so many parents are supporting their children whenever they do wrong, that’s why the crime rate is so high, because parents are no longer disciplining their children; instead them a support their wrongs. We need to get back to parents and the village raising a child together.”

Burnt Savannah, Westmoreland:

George Condell, 44-year-old employee of NCB, father and stepfather

“I agree with the prime minister. Corporal punishment should be banned. Being a good parent does not mean beating fear into a child. So much more can be achieved with love, care and guidance.”

Port Maria, St Mary:

Philbert Gardener, cane vendor, father of five

“In the ’60s, a cane man get all a di whipping dung in a school… and mi still standing… And up to this time, I don’t find myself in jailhouse or [involved in] criminality.

“[Corporal punishment] is wrong, for some really take advantage of children. I don’t take advantage of [my] children… they respect me. Dem graduate and realise that daddy is not a man for joke, so they don’t play joke around here with me. They reach the stage now where I leave them on their own.”

Cambridge, St James:

Harry Hanson, principal, Cambridge High School, educator for 20 years

“Personally, I do not believe that corporal punishment is the same as abuse. However, it can be appreciated that the line of differentiation between the two is very thin. With that said, I believe that corporal punishment has been used in the past to effectively control behaviour in some cases but fails to create a truly disciplined individual. In my practice as an educator over the years, I have discovered that there are other ways to instil discipline. In fact, some of the most effective teachers are those who employ alternative methods to corporal punishment. Before banning corporal punishment, the prime minister should educate parents on alternative methods as they are parenting the way they were parented.”

Cave, Westmoreland:

Britney Cunningham, 20-year-old actuarial science student at The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus and eldest child

“Even though corporal punishment is a method often used by adults to discipline children, it has its pros and cons in today’s society. I believe that children must be disciplined in a way that is deemed acceptable by society. However, the disadvantage comes into play when these disciplinary measures are abusive. I am 100 per cent against child abuse in any form but also believe that children should be punished for unacceptable behaviour and indulging in inappropriate activities. I think, however, there should be an extent to which corporal punishment should be banned rather than erasing it from the system completely.”

Hampstead St Mary: Keith Harley, 52-year-old higgler and farmer with no children

“I am against it. They must not beat a child [because] the child is innocent… that’s why [he needs] guidance. I never used to get brutal beating… my father just look at me [and I would behave]. A parent should know how to train his child that he don’t have to beat them; beating is not a solution; it make the child ignorant.”

Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland:

Shavalo Porter, 35-year-old Jamaica Public Service Company field service technician and father of two girls

“This is my honest opinion. Anything that is used in excess or abused will cause a problem. I don’t have an issue with [Prime Minister] Andrew Holness saying him a go ban corporal punishment. However, as old people say, ‘You cannot spare the rod and spoil the child’. I personally believe that if a child is grown from birth in a certain environment, you don’t physically have to reprimand that child regularly. Aryan [my daughter] is almost four and throughout her life, I don’t think mi slap her two times. Because I speak and she responds; I show her respect and, in return, I am given respect. When I give her a command I [say] please and when she does it I tell her thank you. So that creates an easy passageway for respect to flow on both sides. But a lot of us as parents, sometimes the frustration that we have stems from poverty and [pressures at] work. We take it out on the kids because we nuh really have nobody [else] to take it out on, and the kids are weak fences. So what should be discipline turns out to be abuse. In this recent case where the stepfather beat the child to death, I don’t think it’s the first time the child get beaten from the stepfather. I just think that it was a regular thing and it went too far and the child died, sadly.”







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