Editorial comment: Violence against children unacceptable

The unacceptable numbers of parents resorting to violence in disciplining their children is a sign of a sick society. 

It is a sad reality that parents are now resorting to such vile ways to the extent of killing their own children to correct them. 

There have been several cases of parents who have killed their children either through beating or other forms of physical abuse. 

The latest is a Shamva man who beat his nine-year-old daughter to death for taking mealie-meal and cooking oil from home to use for “mahumbwe” with her friends.

He beat her up so badly with a switch and then took her to a faith healer after realising the brutality he had subjected her to. She sadly died without getting any medical attention and the father was arrested.

This kind of parenting raises an alarming concern of the need for parents to learn new ways of parenting and disciplining their children without resorting to violence.

The first thing to understand is that violence does not really solve any problem. Instead, it only increases the level of aggression and resentment between parents and children. Resorting to beating children as a form of punishment can be more damaging than corrective. It can lead to emotional and psychological trauma that may affect the child’s development and social interaction as they grow older.

Furthermore, the use of violence to discipline children can result in the child losing respect for their parents and other authority figures. It is a common assumption that children learn what they see and their behaviour is often a reflection of their environment. The use of violence can teach the child that it is alright to solve problems through aggression and physical abuse and this can lead to a cycle of violence that may continue into the next generation.

It is also important to understand that there are other ways of disciplining children without resorting to violence. Building open and honest communication between parents and children is one of the best ways of building mutual respect and trust. Parents should learn to listen to their children and provide guidance, support, and positive feedback while correcting them. This can help children develop more self-esteem and prevent them from developing negative behaviour patterns.

Parents should also understand the importance of setting rules and limits in the house. Children should be made aware of what is expected of them and the consequences of breaking house rules. When children are aware of the consequences of their actions, they are more likely to behave properly and avoid negative behaviour that could lead to punishment.

Another way of disciplining children without violence is through the use of positive reinforcement. Rewarding children for good behaviour can encourage them to continue behaving well. 

Parents should also learn to be patient and empathetic when dealing with their children. Children experience a range of emotions and it is important to be able to recognise when they are struggling. Parents should be able to provide emotional support and guidance when needed. They should be able to offer an open and nurturing environment for their children to grow in.

Resorting to violence as a form of discipline is not the way. Let’ stop these senseless murders. It is only through positive efforts that we can build a society that is truly healthy and united.

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