Some experts have decried the increase in child abuse and rate of injuries inflicted on children at homes and schools in the name of punishment.
These experts in separate interviews with newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday warned that the impact of harsh corrective measures on a child could be counterproductive.
They cautioned parents and school authorities on the disciplinary measures they employed to correct the wrong doings and actions of their children. According to them, some of these measures can be fatal.
The experts noted that such measure could also contribute to children exhibiting negative tendencies in future.
Miss Grace David, a legal practitioner, decried the increase in child abuse and warned against inflicting physical injuries in the name punishment.
According to her, the use of corporal punishment as a corrective tool should be abolished, as it does more harm than good on the victims. ” It affects their dignity, health, self esteem and development.
“It could affect the child physically, mentally and psychologically and it could even lead to death.
“There are alternative ways of punishing or correcting a child for wrong doing, and those ways should be explored,’’ she said.
David, therefore, urged the government to enforce stringent laws and prosecute any person guilty of harming a child, irrespective of the relationship between the victim and the perpetrators.
Mrs Esther Yohanna, a Guidance and Counseling expert, said some of these measures could affect the child’s self esteem, confidence, physical and psychological development of the victim.
She, however, said even though punishment was meant to teach and correct children, it should not be meted harshly or in contrast to their age, size and development.
“ Punishment is meant to teach children the most appropriate ways to behave by redirecting and explaining to them the effect of their misbehavior in a most suitable way,’’ she said.
Similarly, Mr Fidelis Ayuba, a teacher, attributed the negative tendencies exhibited by some children in schools and the environment to the kind of corrective measures explored by their parents and adults around them to correct them. “ Some of these punishments leave lasting effects on the children, which in most cases dictates their behavior.’’
Ayuba, therefore, cautioned the society on the kind of disciplinary measures they should take in order to correct a child.
“One doesn’t have to beat a child to correct him or her. There are other measures like talking to the child to know the reason for the behavior.
“At times one can even deprive the child of something he cares much for a while to serve as punishment,’’ he said.
Mrs Rebeccah Timothy, a mother, warned parents against administering harsh punishment on their children as a way of correction.
She said that this might contribute to the misbehaviour and juvenile delinquency some children exhibit in the society.
“ Some children are exposed to harsh punishment and abuse for every little offence they commit, even when they are not guilty of it. “ So because they are used to punishment, they no longer see it as a corrective measure, which in most cases makes them misbehave more without any care about the consequences. According to her, this can have severe consequences on the children and the society in the future.
Timothy, therefore, called on the public to correct a child in a mild manner, rather than administering harsh punishment that can be detrimental to the child’s physical, psychological and social development.