Is beating your child abuse or discipline?

Seeing all the tweets about how our parents raised us and while some are outrightly funny, others are thought-provoking and sad (A few at the bottom of the page). The question remains, is beating your child abuse, or is it discipline? Do these beatings have lasting effects? Are they necessary? Are there better ways to train the child that do not involve the whip?

See, there’s really no manual to training your kids. What works for A might not work for B.

I was beaten as a kid, and while sometimes I feel like it helped make me who I am, I have thought about it, and I am convinced the beatings were unnecessary most of the time. Whatever message they hoped to pass could’ve been passed across without the whip. Or all those hurtful words …

You see, I was a very good kid (I think, especially when you consider my background/environment); always first in class, went to church almost everyday – Choir practice, Bible-Study teacher, etc., never ever stole or cheat anyone, never did most of those mischievous things kids did, etc. In summary, I was a curious kid who read a lot, liked playing football (the reason I was beaten most times), and was content with everything I had at that time.

I remember the worst beating my dad gave me. One evening, on his way back from work, he caught me in a game-center watching people play PS One. I was also wearing a bandana, had an earing I had glued on my left ear on. He dragged me by that ear to the house, and after the beating, I ached for days. (I think that’s one of the reasons I’m not crazy about computer games).

The worst beating my mom gave me was after I finished secondary school. I had gone to help some lady manage her phone-call and recharge card business (aka, an umbrella stand by the street). Mom sent for me and when I got home she was wielding a plank. She asked why I went to help someone else when she had a shop I could be at. Mind you, I had 4 siblings and 2 relatives in the house, and we all took turns being in her shop. I was about to mention that when she raised the plank up. In my mind, she couldn’t hit me with that. I was so confident I didn’t duck or block when it landed on my shoulder. I was numb as she hit me a few more times. The next day, I packed a couple things and left the house. (Another day we’ll talk about where I went and how my journey to independence started).

I thought being beaten was normal (spare the rod and spoil the child disciple) till I lived with my aunt in Ijanikin. It was shocking. She and her husband NEVER touched any of their kids. They barely even shouted at them – a quick reprimand, or calm scolding was all it took to reset their ‘ways’, and today they are some of the most decent and best-behaved ladies I have ever seen. And oh, they are all successful too – from a thriving businesswoman to a banker, a medical doctor, and the last, an MBA scholar in the USA.

I have seen very badly behaved folks who lack home training, and probably got that way because they were never beaten (or disciplined) as kids.

I have seen kids who were beaten, and the beating shaped their lives, guided their steps and made them successful today.

I have also seen people who were beaten till they got used to it (or not) and still turned out horribly.

I personally will reserve the whip for very very rare situations where talking, punishment or any other non-physical method won’t help. I seriously doubt this opportunity to be a barbarian and treat my kids like animals will ever arise sha.

Like I said in the beginning, there is no manual to training your kids. If you believe in God, just pray he gives you wisdom to train them right, so they can be much better versions of yourself.

If you do not believe in God, may the force be with you.


2 responses to “Is beating your child abuse or discipline?”

  1. Uchechi Avatar

    Well am a mum of 3 toddlers. 5, 4 & 2yrs of age. The truth is that most often I flog my kids but on a second thought am beginning to understand flogging all the time may not just be the best way to shape there behavior. In fact most of the time when I beat them is usually because I’ve been under a lot of pressure from work and all so the tantrums I could endure from toddlers usually translates to been impatient and beating them in the end. Parenting requires lots of perseverance but the atmosphere in Nigeria does not even give us that room to be patient with our kids. I pray God helps us.

    1. Chidi Okereke Avatar
      Chidi Okereke

      Thank you for this Uchechi. I wanted to mention that SOMETIMES, beating kids is as a result of frustration (that has nothing to do with them), but because I am not a parent yet, I didn’t. I am glad you have identified one of the challenges. Patience is key, indeed. Well done

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.