A Horrific Punishment

A Horrific Punishment

A mother's account of a Horrific Punishment given to another kid by his mother. 

I was going downstairs to get my son back from School’s Bus Stop. While stepping down, I heard a little child howling. I knew it was Vedant*, a child who stays in one of the flats on the floor below ours. I also know that this one is definitely a troublesome child. He hits other kids, he is disobedient, has bad manners… and so on and so forth. But he is still just a little boy who has just started going to a play school a few months back. Each time I hear him crying loudly, I feel bad for him. 

 

When Anger Combines with Punishments

Today, what I saw was definitely shocking. His mother was holding him above the ground, against the railing. And she was saying, “No, I won’t get you down”. I thought may be he is insisting on being put down, and he is crying because his mother is not allowing him to. I am not friends with his mother, but we are on talking terms. I asked, what happened? 

She said, “I am punishing him, he is not listening at all”. 

I was really shocked. So basically, she was threatening him. That was the punishment. In the building which is in front of ours, another mother was standing with her little kid, Samast. Vedant’s mom was continuously asking him, “Tell me, now do you wanna go to Samast?”

Our Anger may have permanent damaging effects

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Then I understood what was the fight all about. Vedant was just back from School and was probably insisting on going and playing with Samast. That and may be he was rude with his mom, which I agree is punishable. But I was aghast with the way she was threatening to throw him downstairs. 

As I said, I am not friends with her, but I still felt I should say something. I told her, “Don’t do this, he would get scared,” while I continued my descend to the ground floor. She didn’t listen though. I could still hear the poor child howling when I reached down.

This is not the first incidence I have seen where a mother is threatening to throw her child from a scary height. In fact, the last time I witnessed it, it was from a cliff! Then, the mother in question was close, so I scolded her and told her she shouldn’t use this form of punishment at all. So it’s not that I am not aware of this “Punishment style”. But this incidence still came as a shock. I am just glad my son wasn’t with me and did not witness this.

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These mothers are probably too wound up, they have tried everything else and are really frustrated that the child wouldn’t listen. But this so called punishment is horrific! It can scar the child’s heart forever. It can give the child a fear of heights. In my opinion, if scolding is not working, putting the child in a cot or a crib for a minute or two, or some other place where he is safe, and knows that s/he is safe, just secluded for the time being for his or her bad behavior is more than enough. If it’s not proving to be enough, may be a light slap? But it shouldn’t be this kind of scary punishment for sure.  

In my experience, punishments or corrective measures don’t always have to be proactive and/or immediate. We can choose an opportune time and can always take help of stories to make the kids understand their mistakes or differentiating good from bad. If nothing else works, and the child is not showing improvement at all, Child psychologists can be consulted. 

Anger is definitely a part of parenting. But the way we channelize our anger, the path we choose to discipline our kids, is going to be a huge factor in shaping our kids’ conscious when they are adults. We should keep that in mind. We should be very careful.

* This is based on a true incidence, but names have been changed.

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