Breaking the generational cycle of corporal punishment

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Seychelles along with many other countries have taken a stance to ban corporal punishment of children. It is just a matter of time, soon it will be illegal to hit your child within your private homes.  

The Seychelles will join countries such as Ireland, Lithuania and Slovenia in banning corporal punishment of children in private homes. This decision has been long on going and one which has stirred up many debates amongst the public, especially parents coming from traditional families. 

To facilitate this decision making, a series of consultative meetings are being held across the country for the parents and the public in general to share their opinions about the ban which will soon be implemented. This is an initiative of the National Council for Children (NCC) in collaboration with the department of Social Affairs within the ministry of Family Affairs. 

The first meeting was held on Wednesday, 21st August at the International Conference Centre of Seychelles (ICCS) where those present were able to give their opinions about the expected ban on corporal punishment in private homes.

Initially, there were to be regional meetings for the public but according to the Chief Executive of NCC, Jean-Claude Matombe, they have changed their approach and will therefore hold meetings with parents who have kids in the different schools after the holidays. 

“We need to get the take of parents on the matter as there are still a lot of conclusion on what corporal punishment is and how it differs from that of disciplinary measures. However, it is still a question of cultural influence that some parents still find it necessary or ‘useful’ to hit their child but hitting is not the answer, we need to break that sequence.”

He went on to add that “After a cycle of abuse, children who are hit or beaten by their parents might start hating themselves thinking that they are doing something wrong or that there is something wrong with them. We need to tell parents in general that ‘hitting people is wrong and children are people too.”

Studies show that the current acceptance physical punishment helps to cause more serious child abuse and children who are hit by their parents learn that violent solutions are acceptable as violence breeds violence. 

 Mr Matombe stressed on the fact that more emphasis will be put towards education for parents and teachers equally. “There is a need to know how parents feel about sanctions such as mandatory attendance of parenting classes, stress and anger management workshops, and community work or in extreme cases - prison sentencing.