While spanking children is no longer allowed in schools after the Right to Education Act came into effect, city parents seem to have no such inhibitions.
According to a recent survey, 62% parents in Mumbai don’t hesitate in spanking their children if they fell they can’t ‘control’ the kids otherwise. Children between two to eight years of age were spanked most often, compared with others.
The survey was conducted last month by Born Smart, an organisation working on parenting in Mumbai and Bengaluru. In Mumbai, around 1,750 parents were given questionnaires on their parenting style.
Among those who spanked their kids, 60% said they resort to it when they cannot control the child, while 24% blamed it on their own frustrations. Many – 14% – did not think a reason was necessary, they spank because it is effective, they said.
Parenting experts frowned on such tools of disciplining. “The more this kind of discipline is used, the more the child’s brain veers towards primitive reactions,” said Swati Popat Vats, president, Podar Education Network.
Mothers were also found to be more likely to strike their children than fathers. In 61% cases, mothers had spanked the children, while in 29% fathers were responsible. In 10% cases both parents had spanked the child.
“The father’s absence from home could be adding to the mother’s stress,” said Dr Harish Shetty, psychiatrist, Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, Powai. “Fathers should also play an active role in parenting, the onus should not be only on mothers.”
The survey also revealed 61% parents feel guilty after spanking their children and 23% end up buying things for them to make up for their behaviour. As many as 47% hug their children after spanking them and 34% apologize to them. “This is emotionally deadly,” said Vats.
Physical punishments as part of parenting could be cyclical, the survey suggests. As many as 80% parents who spanked their children had received similar treatment by their own parents. “Spanked children will repeat the cycle of violence and hurt others or themselves,” Vats said.
Sample size: 1, 750 parents in Mumbai, 500 in Bengaluru
Findings for Mumbai:
* 62% parents spank their children
* 38% parents do not raise their hand on children
History of Violence:
* Among parents who hit their children, 80% had been spanked in their childhood
* Among those who did not, 22% were spanked, and hence did not want to put their children through the same ordeal
Mothers hit kids more than fathers
Mothers were found to be spanking children more than fathers. In 61% cases, mothers had spanked the children, while in 29% fathers were responsible. In 10% cases both parents had spanked the child.
Cause and effect
* 60% parents said they resort to spanking when they cannot control the child, while 24% blamed it on their own frustrations
* 14% did not think a reason was necessary, they spank because it works
Makes parents feel guilty
* 61% parents feel guilty after spanking their children and 23% end up buying things for them to make up for their behaviour
* 47% hug their children after spanking
* 34% apologise to them
Effect on the children
Experts frown on physical violence as a tool of disciplining, as it activates the child’s primitive, survival instincts
(Survey by Born Smart, a parenting organisation)