If you tell my family that this is a sensitive topic, they would probably laugh assuming that you are joking. No, I wasn’t raised by barbarians. In fact majority of Indians(I use the term Indians because I’m usually surrounded by them at every point of my life and being one myself I can safely speak for at least a couple of families, if not all) find nothing extraordinary about a well-deserved spanking, not the 50 shades way-that would be too disturbing for the parent and child, to maintain discipline. I have received my fair share of butt-whacks, calf-pinches and what-not from substances ranging from my mother’s soft hand to the numerous household items that she would be using at that fated moment. Many will now be reminiscing their whacks while others stare at the screen sympathizing probably at what they perceive as a victim of child abuse. I feel like I have to clarify. My mother is the kindest, loveliest and smartest person I know. She’s one of those rare women who no matter how much you love will always inevitably love you more. She’s a vegetarian in a family of stout non-vegetarians as she doesn’t really understand why people would want to eat defenseless animals. She’s the reason our family still manages to stand the sight of each other without driving each other insane. Shortly put, she’s not crazy.
My grandmother used force to discipline her children and so did her mother, and so on. Is it wrong? Yes. Even a teensy whack below the knee? Probably. I don’t think anyone ever took my mother aside and told her there were other methods to deal with difficult children. I wasn’t very much disturbed either, it seemed everyone around me was being subjected to more or less the same lessons. No, I don’t live in some podunk part of the world. I was brought up in Dubai, a metropolitan city and all my friends parents were educated. smart people who worked hard at their job. And yet, nobody had the time or patience to take a child aside and explain.
My mother was just around 20 when she got married to a man she met on her wedding day and within a year she was a mother to a child that could have been very well the devil herself. I am not angry at my mother for using un-conventional methods to control me, she couldn’t have known any better. Yesterday when my aunt raised her hand at my 12 year old cousin for behaving in a way that would have made the kindest soul’s blood boil. My mother stepped in and told her sister to calm down while taking my cousin aside to have a little chat with him. I may have gotten my fair share of butt-whacks but I’m glad that my children will have their wise grandmother to watch their butts if at all my hand raises out of habit. Their grandmother learnt that force is never the answer the hard way, all by herself. A bit late? Maybe for me. But it’s not too late for generations and generations to come when they pick up tit-bits from their elders. Next time you see someone raising their hands at a child, before you dismiss them as insane try to take a bit of time to think that maybe they don’t know there is another direction in which they can deal with their kids. Show it to them. Set an example.