Abuse being disguised as discipline

October 03, 2017
Corporal punishment

On the weekend, there was a video being circulated on social media of a woman beating her child with a machete. As is the norm these days, many persons were sharing the video because they were amused by the happenings in the footage, but I personally found it to be very disturbing on several levels.

I grew up with an abusive father who, in his effort to discipline me, would use his fists, throw me on the ground and kick me sometimes.

For many of us who grew up in a Jamaican home, being beaten is the norm, and many of us as adults speak about these beatings in very romantic terms, because the general consensus about beating is that it is necessary.

Now, back to this recent video where this mother was beating her daughter with a machete. While the video itself made me pause, it was the comments that really got the hairs on the back of my neck standing.

There were different debates about why the mother is justified to beat her child like this, most of which includes speculation that the daughter must have found herself in some man problems. This thought process really concerns me on several levels, because, at a glance, the daughter looks as if she is about 14, and if they are right and there is a man involved, how does almost killing her with beating serves as discipline?




Another part of what concerned me in the comments is the fact that many persons found the video amusing because it is not only traumatic for the child, but, also, the mother is practically naked, and that can be embarrassing for her, when all is said and done. I have always believed that much of what parents do to 'discipline' their children is abusive and it needs to be addressed. I also understand that parenting does not come with instructions, so many individuals are trying their best. I do believe, however, that as adults who are responsible for the care and welfare of a child, using a deadly weapon to punish her is perhaps not the best you can do.

I have had conversations with persons who tell tales of how their parents threw pot covers, used electric wires, hose, pieces of tires and other weapons to beat them, and how they feel they are better for it. However, I would like to challenge that, because we seem to have a history of abuse, and it is such a part of us that we feel it is necessary. We see these same elements of abuse in adult relationships and the rising incidents of domestic-abuse cases, and even the death of women at the hands of their partners. I believe that these abusive behaviours are remnants of the abusive childhood that most of us grew up in.

As a victim of an abusive father, I can personally testify that beating never worked on me as discipline. Ultimately, it can affect the relationship that you have with your children as they become adults. I hope both the mother and child get the help they need, and get to move on from this experience with as little scars physically and mentally as possible.

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