Physical punishment may cause irreparable mental damage


DHAKA, Oct 14, 2018 (BSS/ UNICEF FEATURE) – Physical punishment is a form of mental and physical torture that causes pain, humiliation, low self-esteem, deep psychological trauma, distress and irreparable mental damage in children, experts said.

It may causes a multitude physical and social problems like school drop-outs, mood and anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, cardio- vascular disease, arthritis, obesity including irreparable mental damage,” Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Prof Dr MSI Mullick told BSS.

When a parent, whom the child is totally dependent on, uses physical punishment, the child feels betrayed in the worst way possible. Regular physical punishment is responsible for lack of faith and may provoke rebellion, said the psychology expert.

“Children who experienced corporal punishment have symptoms of abnormally high stress hormones, which can kill neurons in brain areas crucial for thinking and memory, and high levels of an antibody that weakens the immune system,” Director of The Institute of Pediatric Neuro-disorder and Autism (IPNA) under BSMMU Professor Dr Shaheen Akhter told BSS.

The most common forms of punishment are scolding, hitting on palm with ruler or stick, making them to keep standing in classroom, hitting on other body parts, slapping, ear, hair or skin twisting and kneeling.

Bangladesh’s High Court on January 13, 2011 declared all types of corporal punishment in schools ”illegal and unconstitutional” following Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) and Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK)’s litigation to stop cruel punishment for children.

Experts said, children, families, educators and the public need to be made aware of laws and practices concerning children’s rights. Then, society will turn away from corporal punishment and teach them discipline with love and mutual respect.

A little understanding of a child’s psyche, love, support and a lot of patience can change things and unruly child can calm down and become the best one, said the experts adding parents need to try in a positive manner.