If there’s one thing I would love to change about how parents or adults in care discipline children in Nigeria, it would be to stop beating. Adults inflicting physical pains on their children or students is sad and often not in the right proportion to offence committed.
Inflicting physical pains on children is something that comes up in conversations a lot when we talk about childhood memories. From my experience, often the reason for this needless act has little or no connection to why the child is beating mercilessly, it is just an avenue to vent unrelated frustration on anyone too young to fight back.
I don’t believe in corporal punishment as I have never learnt a thing as a result, the only reason I changed my behaviour was so I don’t get beating up again, I always thought that the adult who inflicted the pains is the one needing help.
What happened a few days ago in Lagos is one of the main reasons I disagree with adults transferring their frustrations to anyone they have authority over. Mr Ajebughobi’s case is a perfect example but not uncommon. He was consumed with anger and beat his son leading the poor boy to have ruptured intestine.
What was the offence of a 13 year old Somtochukwu? He went to visit an aunty to collect his birthday gift, the problem here was that his father has instructed him against visiting this particular family member.
I know about our parents many instructions about a particular family member, often times no reason given to justify the warnings, we are just meant to listen and not question.
According to Somtochukwu: “When my daddy saw me with the slippers and knew she bought the slippers for me, he started beating me. He locked me up in a room and beat me. He kicked me in the stomach many times before he left me there.”
I have seen similar cases like these too many times and it is sad to do such a thing to a child you claim to love.
After the poor child ended up in the hospital, the doctor realised his was a case of child abuse.
Here’s what the father had to say to defend his action:
“I did not expect he would be injured that much. What happened was a big mistake on my part. I blame myself for whatever has happened. He is very troublesome but I know nobody wants to hear that now.”
It is clear who the ‘troublesome’ fela is now.
If one had to get a child needing medical attending to show their dislike for a certain family member, then the problem is really not about discipline the child. There are better ways to talk to a child about not relating to someone parents disapproved of – how about giving him convincing reasons why he is not allowed to visit such a family member?
The case of corporal punishment is very common in our country, in homes, schools and anywhere where adults have upper hands. Many swear this is the only thing that lead them to being a disciplined adult, what they are not talking about is how this inappropriate transfer of anger to unconnected entity has contributed to decreasing mental health.
Glad to see the Child Rights Foundation responded favourably to Somtochukwu’s case. I hope he gets better soon.
As for Mr Ajebughobi, maybe one day there will be a law that punishes psycho parents.