Sunday, September 11, 2005

"Kannathil Slap Seithaal"...Dangers of slapping a child's face

Audience: Parents, Teachers, Nannies, Child Care Personnel, Anyone who cares for and looks after children, Tamil-movie audience.

Besides causing severe personal injury and insult, punishing a child by slapping on its face can also cause severe hearing problems if the palm that is striking the face strikes the ear or the ear lobes of the child. The closer the striking palm is towards the ear or the earlobes, the more severe is the damage. Maximum damage is done if the palm misses the face and strikes the ear directly.

Unfortunately a lot of face-slapping is seen in movies. Other than the dramatic effect it can create on screen it is never to be imitated in real life particularly if the victim is a child.

I was in the USA when the Columbine tragedy took place and I remember an Amercian colleague at work asking me for my opinon on the corporal punishment, to which I replied, " I would advocate it." My American friend agreed and said, "You know the butt has two purposes. One is for sitting and the other is for being beaten." He also went on to say how as a child he was beaten (on his behind of course!) and that when he had children he did the same thing to them, when it was necessary. My friend also insisted that with the right combination of love and punishment many a today's disturbed teen could be saved. If someone from a country where the corporal punishment is forbidden by the law can say so, it is time physical punishment is performed correctly on children.

I am of the opinion (and that which my parents taught me) that sparing the genital area anywhere from waist downwards is the appropriate place for physical punishment and not on the any other part of the child's body particularly the chest, face and head.

In the Mani Ratnam film "Kannathil Muthamittal" there is a scene where the father (played by Madhavan) when enquiring about his daughter's whereabouts, slaps his son, a small boy, on his face . What irony! The name of the film "Kannathil Muthamittaal" translated into English reads - "To place a kiss on the cheek..."


Preethi Ramanan said...

Hi subhash

My name is Preethi and Sathish (he is my project manager) happened to forward your blog link to me.. very interesting :):) though in this particular article i dont see why you advocate physical punishment at all? Can we not do without it?

I might not be a very good judge since i dont have kid(s), but from what i have seen over the years...a child respects you more and listens to you better if you can get the message across with a couple of stern words/sentences. Over a period of time i think it becomes immune to any kind of beating..

infact i remember...i have got quite a few slaps from my mother and have been very nonchalant about it at times...whereas when it comes to my grandmother(who has never even laid a finger on me) one stare from her used to be enough to put me back on trial :)

well these are just my thougths at this point in time.. i guess i should get back to you after i have kids :):) do let me know what you feel about it..


Subash S L said...

Thanks for the comment, Preethi. I do agree with your opinion on the beating. What I meant about "advocating" is this. Do not hesitate to "spare the rod" when it is absolutely necessary to do so. I know there have been families that have raised perfect kids without "any" corporal punishments but that's not the typical case. At the same time I know of kids who have been beaten by their parents to the point of "physical abuse". This however is to be avoided. Bottom line - Be strict but never hesitate to love and indicate why they were punished. You may be surprised to know that caning is pratised in several schools in Singapore. Parents are warned before their wards are caned and I was told that many parents kids make sure that their wards go to these schools. As you said, with many children you don't even have to go that far but this is not the case with gun-wielding, bomb-making and disillusioned kids.
Watch out for more posts.

Subash S L said...

Preethi, just another thing that I missed. I must say that when it comes to physical punishment extreme care must be exercised particularly if the child is a girl. Personally, it would be very difficult for me use physical punishment on a girl child.