While a certain section of our society is agitating for corporal punishment to be applied much more liberally to misbehaving adults, our neighbours in South Africa are seriously lobbying to make spanking of children in homes a criminal offence.
More than a decade ago corporal punishment was banned in schools but truth be told some school children especially in rural areas are still subjected to beatings for things like failing to make the mark and arriving late at school.
The Children’s Rights Project, based at the University of the Western Cape in South africa, made the proposal to ban spanking in homes last month, SA media reports. The project has asked the department of social development to ban corporal punishment in homes.
Other children’s groups, including the Children’s Institute, Childline SA, and the Centre for Child Law, have jumped on the bandwagon to support the proposal and the department is currently considering whether to amend the Children’s Act in order to give children more rights.
On wednesday morning it made for interesting listening as many parents twitted to SABC 2 Morning Live hosts on the controversial subject which seems to have divided parents into two opposing camps of those for spanking and those who are against.
“We have a God given right to discipline our children,”said one parent who sent in her two cents worth to the show through twitter. Many were for the spanking while many others were totally opposed to it with one even suggesting that the “Children’s rights group should be spanked for bringing up the issue.’
Should we follow suit and make it a criminal offence to spank our children at home too as the international trend seems o be going? Is there a difference between spanking and beating a child and where should one draw the line and is there even a right way to spank a child and a wrong way to administer spanking. Do our children need more rights?
TOYS AND GENDER INEQUALITY
Do toys promote gender inequality? That is the question that I found myself grappling with recently as I went shopping for a girl’s birthday present.
After working my way through heaps of pink and fluffy dolls and little pink cups, trays and pots I came to the conclusion that the answer to the above question is unfortunately a resounding yes!
Although shops have not labelled their shelves according to gender, there is no denying that there are strong traditional expectations on what is accepted as the norm, which outlines different paths for different genders right from child hood, thereby dictating different toys for boys and girls, unless of course a parent is conscious to break that mould.
From birth, boys and girls are bombarded with stereotypes; boys are allowed to be more adventurers and climb trees and open new toys to ‘fix them’, while girls are encouraged to be passive and play with plastic tea sets and blonde dolls which I find consistent with obsessive concern with looks and appearance as well as the domestic role they are expected to play when they grow up.
I must admit that I still don’t understand how any caring and loving black mother or father for that matter who wants their child to grow up into a self respecting and loving black woman can buy their child a Barbie doll complete with blue eyes, blonde hair and skimpy clothes. In the end my boys picked a pink toy laptop for their friend and I was glad with their choice. What do other parents think on this subject?
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