My knuckles started hurting for a moment as I was writing this article as it led me to remember my high school PT (Physical Training) master who had quite a reputation for meting out corporal punishments. If anybody misbehaved, they would be in for a good beating and boy, it would be brutal. He would slap and smack us with his bare hands, use a stick or even the rope attached to the whistle quite liberally. It was quite effective, I must say as we would start shivering at the thought of having to face him.
But the question is... Do these kinds of punishments work today?
Spare the rod, spoil the child
This is one of the most popular proverbs that is used. But, what was once considered a right to punish children has now transformed into the thought of whether it meant that children are to be DIRECTED rather than DISCIPLINED.
The proverbial ROD was often used by shepherds to guide sheep and that GUIDANCE is the point being emphasised by experts today rather than corporal punishment.
Why it's wrong?
The BIGGEST REASON: VENGEANCE
One aspect of corporal punishment that no one really talks about is the manner in which it makes a kid VENGEFUL. Teachers and schools who still resort to beating children need to realise how they're inculcating one of the most negative character traits as they're CORNERING them when they're at their most VULNERABLE. If I have to be brutally honest, I wouldn't have allowed anyone to lay a finger on me if I was as strong as I was during my school and college days. If I'm carrying that HURT even today, you can imagine.
It SHATTERS confidence!
Though I wasn't into too much trouble apart from the occasional being late, not polishing my shoes and so on, I always felt like I'm a NOTCH lower than the other kids who were never punished. Today, I must say that I'm doing quite well for myself considering all the challenges I had to go through, but even today if I see any of the 'never punished' kids in school or meet the GOODY TWO SHOES types, I unconsciously go into my SHELL. It takes quite an effort and a lot of awareness to recalibrate myself and bounce back.
Birds of the same feather...
Another reason why these punishments do more harm than good is by PUTTING ALL THE "BAD" EGGS IN ONE BASKET. When I say BAD, I mean the ones who are BRANDED as bad by the teacher or school, which might not necessarily be the case. The children who are PUNISHED tend to form a GROUP as they feel CONNECTED or have more in common that the other kids. The group dynamics gets affected and leads to many conflicts. Especially when they are TEASED or BELITTLED for getting punished by others. In many cases, it has also led to an increase in instances of bullying.
As I make a wholehearted and sincere appeal to everyone still believing or following these punishments to STOP, I also would like to thank all my lecturers and teachers who supported me in all possible ways which is why I'm able to serve many to the best of my ability.
Adarsh Benakappa Basavaraj