Posted by: Concerned Parent | 2003/12/12

To Health 24

I wrote the email below to the editor and MD but it has been returned undeliverable (access denied). Perhaps through this forum there is a way it will reach the writer of the article - Susan Erasmus, or the editor as I am highly perturbed by what I have read.
"I have just read the above article at the Health24 website, and enjoyed the contents very much, there is however one statement that has caused me great concern, and would like to point this out to you, as I am sure the intention is not what it seems. The relevant excerpt is below, and the offending statement has been highlighted in blue.

“Undermining their authority. Obviously this depends on the situation. If your spouse is beating the children for no good reason, you would be wrong not to intervene. But if your wife has said the kids cannot have cookies before supper and you go behind her back and give it to them, you are in the wrong. The two of you have to present a united front to the children, otherwise your lives will descend into a hell of daily testing of limits by your offspring.”

A comment like this implies that there are times when a person does have good reason to beat children. Now perhaps it could be debating whether smacking a child is a good or a bad thing , but a “beating”? – There is NEVER a good reason to beat a child.

With the child abuse stats in SA (never mind the fact that it’s illegal), I do think that perhaps this statement should be reworded. Hopefully I am right in assuming that this is an oversight. "

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear CP,
I have sent a copy of your message on, directly to Susan, and I'm confident that she had no intention of implying that there are good reasons for beating children.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Concerned Parent | 2003/12/15

If you notice I took offence to "beating" - not smacking. There is a difference! A vast one. I even went as far as to say that "smacking " could be debated - but I don't believe there is ever a good reason to BEAT a child.
I have never received a beating or a smack growing up, neither did my brothers or sister. We all grew very balanced parents and carry the same philosophy in our respective families.
We all got up to teenage mischief, and we were punished in various ways. This was effective for us, and I take my hat off to my parents who never took the easy way out and beat us into submission.
They took the long route of midnight talks, and lots of patience. It was loving and kind, and without fear, but based on respect.
I'm happy to report that ALL four of us are not drug addicts, criminals, heavy drinkers - none of us even smoke although we tried much of the stuff that most teenagers do.

Reply to Concerned Parent
Posted by: Jacks | 2003/12/15

How many of us decent human beings grew up being smacked? How many don't regret our parents smacking us in the least? I for one, understood exactly why I was being smacked and agreed with it. I needed to be punished cos I did something wrong. As far as I'm concerned I am a better person for it. There is nothing wrong with hitting a child. There is something very wrong with hitting a child unjustifiably with the child not knowing why he/she was being punished. If you are a responsible, mature parent you will know how to smack your child so that it benefits from the act. Spare the rod and spoil the child. I agree totally.

Reply to Jacks
Posted by: Zeena | 2003/12/14

Gee, I don't agree. There is an appalling lack of discipline in South Africa today. I am NOT talking about abuse. But often a child of up to, say 12 years, when very naughty, understand only one thing: a few hard whacks on the bottom.

Some of you might have seen on the news that child labour in the Hex River Valley (helping Mom in the vineyards and earning money) has been clamped down on. In previous summer holidays, due to the same anti-child-labour laws, small crime became rife there. Mothers and fathers worked, and kids had to be left at home unsupervised. They formed gangs, they stole, they broke into houses. So recently they've been "working" again in the holidays. The hours were reasonable, they stayed with their mother, the rested, they ate and drank. In town, petty crime suddenly dropped by 90%, and everone was happy, including kids and parents, because extra money was coming in. Now it's been halted again; children are not allowed to be kept busy and earn pocket money, and those people are poor ...

A child knows when it he/she was really naughty. So I agree totally with Lady Nina. A good whacking never harmed a child. Again -- we're not talking fists and abuse. Purely old-fashioned whacks-on-the-bottom with the back of a hairbrush discipline. I am totally, completely, against ever slapping a child on or near his face. Just a few bottom slaps, that's all.

In this country, by and large, all discipline and responsibility has broken down. Kids are "taught" that naughtiness, lack of respect and CRIME pays. The police cannot do anything to kids under 18. In the good old days kids who committed petty crimes were given a few hard ones by the police, and boy, they never repeated a crime.

It's a sad state of affairs. On one hand we have more abused and neglected children than ever. On the other hand we have more kids committing crime than ever ...

Reply to Zeena
Posted by: Susan Erasmus | 2003/12/12

Dear Concerned parent

Rest assured that I had no intention of implying that there is ever a good reason for beating children. It is something to which I am personally very opposed. On rereading the paragraph, I realise that it is possible to interpret it in the way you have, and I will make one or two changes to clarify my original intention.

Thanks for pointing this out to us.

Susan Erasmus

Reply to Susan Erasmus
Posted by: lady nina | 2003/12/12

hi there

i don't have a problem with the article in fact i think thats it's due to a luck of a good beating that we have the kind of statistics regarding teenagers that was made public on monday - sex. weapons, drugs

if a beating is what it takes to but the fear of God into them regarding issues then thats what i will use. just a small example - my child snapped at her aftercare teacher while she was giving some information regarding her behaviour to her - i was sitting in the car and jumped out grabbed her and lifted her in the air and slapped her - all three of us was shocked and appologies was exchanged afterwards... but my kids got the message - you don't speak disrespectful to others!!
the teacher says my child changed for the better!

before you faint let me asure you that my child gets ample love and we do discuss things openly in our home - she is a cum laude student and has a good self esteem - but i'll do whatever i have 2 2 equip my kids to be decent adults and teaching them things like respect and honestly is a priority in my home - we need to be able to trust amd respect each other...

unfortunately we will only be able to see in 20 years who is right and who is wrong and by then no amount of regret can fix the damage

take care


Reply to lady nina

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