24 Apr 2014

Licks: to give or not give

The above video has made the news in Trinidad and Tobago, triggering the long running debate on corporal punishment to start afresh.

The gist of the video is this: The mom caught her 12 years old daughter posing in her underwear and posting the photos on Facebook. Mom is wrathful, and took matters into her own hands… literally as you can see.

So, back to the story… mom is ‘ready to make a jail’ for her actions as she thinks the beating has taught her daughter a valuable lesson. For me personally, the debate isn’t whether corporal punishment is right or wrong, but where does it cross the line into abuse. Did it in this instance? I think so. Although no lasting damage was done physically, and I think mentally the lesson was taught and received, do I condone the beating? No. I don’t. It went on too long, and the lesson could just as well have been received with less ‘blows’.

However, I’m not the parent, and I can’t say what I would have done in that situation. My other thought is that the mother is clearly in control of her actions, and has not been ‘out of control’ over the beating the child received.

I’ve been angry enough with Punks many a time, yes, angry enough to feel the urge to ‘put a slap’ on her, yet I’ve never done so. I’ve been able to control myself, but then again, I’ve had support from Punks’ rather large extended family in raising her, and she has a mom and dad who are very much pro-active in her life. Not all children are so lucky (and I’m going to use this video as a teaching tool today when Punks comes over!). This daughter clearly isn’t as lucky.

Amid the chorus of condemnation, Bartlett said she was yet to hear from the child’s father—a police­man.

Asked if there was any communication between the child and her father, Bartlett said: “He is blatantly telling her he does not want to have anything to do with her. She just has this attachment to her dad. I believe she started acting out after the separation. She was very close to him. After the separation, that is when the problem started.”

Once more, the situation of an absentee father (a police duncey no less!) and the mother struggling and at her wits end to cope with life and raising her daughters to become productive members of society. Who are we to judge?

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