Is that the best way to discipline your kid?
This story was reported when a concerned neighbour called The New Paper after noticing the three-year-old boy tied to a sofa in his home by his mother. He was even left alone in the family’s Toa Payoh flat on a few occasions.
The incidents have also been brought to the attention of the police, who were called last Monday when the boy, who was apparently tied to the sofa at the time, was crying really loudly.
The boy’s mother, who only wanted to be known as Mrs Lim, told Lianhe Wanbao that she only tied her son up occasionally. Her reason being that her son is “very playful [and] likes to climb up and down. Sometimes I’m busy with my housework, so I tie him with the string.”
She also admitted that she has left her son at home alone tied up when she runs quick errands outside.
Active and playful
The boy’s father, a 50-year-old painter agreed that his son was mischievous adding that his son was very active and had a penchant for playing with lighters, even running into the kitchen to light the stove. He added that his wife is usually busy with housework and that tying their son up is a temporary measure to keep him out of trouble.
A good mum
Neighbours the paper spoke to have also come to the couple’s defence saying that the measure is not indicative of abuse.
One of the neighbours The New Paper spoke to last night, Mr Shuen Tay Chay, said “I can guarantee you there is no abuse. Actually the mum takes very good care of him.” He adds that other neighbours might feel sorry for the boy but probably did not understand how mischievous he could be saying that he has seen the boy climbing the window grilles in the house as well as roaming around the neighbourhood before.
Experts weigh in
Parenting and psychological experts the paper talked to however feel that the measure of tying up her child to a chair to manage him is not encouraged.
Dr Carol Balhetchet, youth services director of the Children’s Society said that this was not a good solution to keep her son safe and that she should definitely look at other ways of managing her child when she is too busy. For example putting him in a childcare centre or getting someone to help look after the child.
She did concede that the mother might have had her reasons for resorting to tying her child to the sofa and that judgement should not be made until both sides of the story have been heard.
Daniel Koh, psychologist at Insights Mind Centre, says that as long as the child is under any mental strain, even if it’s for a short period of time – it could still impact the child psychologically.
Frances Yeo, principal psychologist at the Child Development Centre of Thomson Paediatric Centre, also feels that such a method is dangerous.
She says that the boy could play with the string and get entangled in it, and without the watchful eye of an adult, could even lead to strangulation.
Understanding that putting the child in a childcare centre or hiring a nanny could put a financial strain on some families, other safer child minding methods are available. These include, getting a play-pen for the child to play in while the mum is busy with housework or the parent could consider doing the housework while the child is asleep.
Ways to manage an overactive kid
It would seem that the parents here face the challenges of raising a playful and presumably over-active child. Here are more constructive ways you can manage a playful child at home.
- Set out clear rules for his behaviour
- Kid-proof the house – keep all flammable items such as matches and candles out of sight and out of reach and installing safety grilles on all windows.
- Never lose control – when a parent loses his or her cool and starts shouting to scold the child, the child can sense that the parent is no longer in control of the situation. It also signals that you are at the mercy of your child’s whims and tantrums.
- Enlist the help of family members – having a supportive extended family is a blessing as you can get them to look over your child when you need to run errands or are busy working.
- Be part of a support network made up of other parents in the neighbourhood – so you can organise play dates with them or even seek their help in looking after your child when you are extremely busy