Recently, a Singapore mum and dad were caught caning their child in public. A witness recorded and uploaded a video of the incident online, which sparked much uproar and debate.
Meanwhile, someone also informed the cops.
Singapore parents cane child in public
According to The Straits Times, the incident took place at Block 410 in Jurong West, next to an open-air carpark.
In the video, we see the mum, cane in hand, with her daughter, who looks like a lower primary school student. Nearby is a school bag, and some books, which are scattered on the ground.
The girl looks very scared and is wailing out load, apparently crying out “I don’t want” in Mandarin, while trying to snatch the cane away from mummy’s hand. Mummy can be seen tearing out a piece of paper.
PHOTO: SCREENSHOT FROM STOMP VIDEO
Then suddenly, daddy, who was until then, a mute spectator to the proceedings, picks up a tree branch (or something like that), walks up to her, and whacks her leg several times.
We see the girl running off, shouting (apparently), “Papa, I don’t want.”
Lastly, we see the mother passing the girl a tissue to wipe her tears, and instructing her to pick up her bag and books, before getting into the car. We haven’t uploaded the video here because we found it a bit too distressing.
The Straits Times reports that some witnesses alerted the police, who had a long chat with the parents. It seems, the parents were advised not to cane their child in public in future.
Mother writes public apology
As expected, netizens reacted strongly to the incident, some condemning the parents for hitting their child in public, and many others actually condoning this method of discipline!
Meanwhile, the mummy in concern has written a ‘public apology’ to the media, as per The Straits Times. The letter is titled, “Apology letter from the mother of the child who was publicly caned”, and signed off as, “a repentant mother”.
The mummy explains in her letter her reasons for behaving the way she did that day, “My girl has been discovered to be lying to me with regards to homework recently. I discovered many empty worksheets from her tuition classes, which she insisted were questions that teacher did not ask her to do. Subsequently, we discovered that she had often conveniently said that to avoid doing her homework.”
The mother apparently warned her daughter against doing so, many a time (without caning), but she snapped when she saw that her daughter had made some really careless mistakes in one of her test papers, and hadn’t bothered to check them.
She writes, “During the car ride back to my mother’s house, all these episodes ran across my mind and I just exploded. She admitted that she did not check part of the papers. I just could not believe I have raised a liar.”
She then decided to cane her so that she would “remember that one must be honest and to check one’s work carefully”. Her daughter however, “cried loudly and refused to accept the punishment”.
PHOTO: SCREENSHOT FROM STOMP VIDEO
She writes, “Some of you will say, ‘of course, she is scared’. But as a mother who had said she was going to mete out the punishment, how will you react? At that point, I felt that I must keep to my word at least once but she struggled with me with the cane.”
It seems she chose to cane her child outside the house because her mother wouldn’t let her cane children in the house, “I had tried to choose a deserted corner to discipline her as my intention is not to publicly humiliate her, but my girl cried very loudly.”
“My husband by then realised that there were bystanders and decided to step in to end the scene. Out of his love for me, he gave four strokes but some missed my girl. He told her she should be obedient and not run away when punishments are meted out and we talked to her after she put her bag and came out of the car, which the video did not capture.”
The viral reach of the ‘caning’ video has obviously disturbed this mum and dad, who have assured that they would seek help from counsellors and revise their disciplinary methods hereon.
The mum ends her letter with, “As communicated by concerned netizens, we do think we need to seek help from counsellors. However, please rest assured that our children are not abused.”
“This is a family discipline case, not child abuse. If you are really concerned about our children, please give us the space.”
We understand that sometimes it gets too frustrating for mums and dads, that they get pushed beyond limits, and need to vent. But images of the little girl cowering in fear, and those loud pleas for help linger on, long after the video is over...
Caning our kids
Is it okay to cane our kids? A large majority of parents in Singapore still use caning as the preferred method of discipline. Why is it okay to inflict pain on our kids because they didn’t rise up to our expectations? Would it be okay for your boss to hit you because you didn’t do well at work?
Let’s do a fair examination of the pros and cons of caning:
Why parents still cane their kids
- It was part of our childhood: And most of us grew up alright, unscathed, and well mannered.
- Shock works: The shock of the pain, coupled with your anger, may be an effective and INSTANT deterrent to your misbehaving child. It sends a very clear, if threatening, message that the misbehaviour has ‘painful’ consequences.
- Instant release of your own frustration: So you have been warning your kid against the action for the longest time, and it still isn’t working. Caning gives parents that superior feeling of power and authority, and provides instant release of tension and frustration.
- All children are different: Perhaps the biggest argument in favour of caning might be that every child is different, and some parents truly believe that caning is the only way to send a lasting message.
Why parents should NOT cane their kids
- It was part of our childhood: And most of us hated it, and don’t wish to remember that part of our childhood.
- Studies show more harm than good: Many international health organisations have called out for a ban on corporal punishment on children. Research shows that it does more harm than good. It lowers the child’s self esteem and makes him feel like he’s a bad and worthless person.
- Teaches aggression: Caning teaches children that the use of power is okay to get others to obey you. It introduces violence and cruelty at home. Children subject to corporal punishment may end up using violence as a tool to solve their problems, later on in life.
- Can damage parent-child relations: Caning makes your child scared of you. The child will be tempted to lie and cover up his mistakes, to avoid the pain of being punished.
- It can get too extreme: That fit of anger, or long bottled-up frustration can lead to one too many strokes of the cane, causing more physical harm than you ever imagined.
What do you feel, parents? Is caning caring? Is it okay to cane your child in public? Do let us know your opinion in the poll below:
Also READ: Why you should NOT cane your child
(Source: The Straits Times, Stomp)
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