Young Singaporean parents may still be using corporal punishment. Here's why!

PHOTO: The Straits Times file

Just as parenting styles vary for every parent, how they discipline their child may also differ from others. This is especially true when it comes to discipline. Some may prefer to coddle their children, but other parents may be a little stricter in how they discipline their child for misbehaving.

While you might have experienced physical punishments in your childhood, can the same be said for the new generation of parents?

A viral post on Reddit garnered attention and 508 comments for a similar question. The Redditor asked new parents in Singapore whether they still hit their kids as a form of punishment. 

Many Redditors flocked to comment on what they thought about this issue and if it were in fact, true. 

Is it still common for S’pore parents to use corporal discipline?

PHOTO: The Straits Times

Reddit post originator shared his own experience in the post. He wrote, “In the early 2000s (during my childhood days), it was was still a common practice. Kids in my school (me included) used to get hit with things like belts, rattan canes and hangers.”

But after admitting that this treatment was meted out to him nearly two decades ago, the Redditor asked, “Do young parents nowadays still believe in such punishments? Or do they prefer a different approach?”

Naturally, the commenters were divided on whether punishments such as smacking should still be practiced on children. With many admitting that “caning should be used as a last resort.”  

Types of punishment for a child: Parents discuss humane methods

Many Singaporean parents responded to the post by admitted that times are different now. And they use different methods to discipline their children. Many were against corporal punishment.

1. “If you don’t finish your homework, i’ll confiscate your phone!”

Now that children are exposed to more screen time with the advancement of smartphones and tablets, it seems some parents use them to discipline their kids. Instead of caning, user saggitas commented that now suspending time with their phones is a better fitting punishment. 

Reddit user that tragedy also agreed. She wrote, “I think now the best solution is to talk and explain to your kid followed by confiscating their [privileges].” 

“Kids in the current times starts at like base 15 at least in terms of [privileges] (internet, aircon, phones, tv, food) so there’s a lot more parents can take away as punishments,” added user tom-slacker.

2. “We take the emphatic route and this has worked for us.”

Reddit user Rodneythekid and her partner shared that they both experienced it first-hand. And so decided to “draw a hard line at any sort of physical discipline.”

“Judging from our kid’s personality (confident, fearless and outspoken) beating isn’t going to work,” they write. “Going down to their level and having eye contact while communicating gets the message through with less fight. A lot of the times our kid just can’t tie the words to his feelings and needs. I realised that personally being this old, I too sometimes can’t accurately put my feelings into words. No regrets so far on our parenting method,” she said.

The user adds that this method can highly depend on your child’s personality and that parents should just “do what works for your family.”

3. “Instead, it’s best to use a mix of different methods.”

Reddit user babyyodaismyguide found physical punishments to not be effective on children. She added that you would only end up teaching your little one to “fear the weapon in your hand.”

“If you cane your kid for not doing his homework, the moment you’re not around he’ll just not do it. Or worse, he’ll find better ways of hiding his homework,” the user adds. “In fact, I think parents who rely too much on physical discipline tend to lose the respect of their kids as they get older.”

She also suggested younger kids should instead just be given timeouts. This will let them know about “boundaries and self-discipline.” Meanwhile, older children can be taught about “goal setting, communication and finding out what motivates them.”

4. “I feel that caning should be used as a last resort.”

Redditor friedriceparadise opened up about experiencing canning as a kid that eventually gave her anxiety issues. She wrote, “I think many parents underestimate the effect caning have on the child.”

“There are many other non physical punishments to teach the kid,” she added.

User xzsctan admitted that he also developed anxiety after being caned consistently as a child and writes, “it affects me so much even to this day. I hear my mother voices all the time in my head. ‘don’t drop the food’, ‘finish every grain of rice on your plate’.”

They signed off with promise of, “never put(ting) that on my daughter.”

ALSO READ: Jacelyn Tay shocked that son asks to be caned over nothing

Parents who still believe in corporal punishments

While some were more open to trying out different types of punishment for a child, there were those who chose corporal punishment. They believe it be a solution for worst case scenarios, especially when the child misbehaves.

1. “I’ll physically discipline my kids if I have to.”

Reminiscing about how he was hit with various objects such as a broom, wet towel and feather duster, user Oscarizxc shared that physical punishment should be used if necessary. 

“I can’t speak for the rest but I’m in my mid 30s and I’ll physically discipline my kids if I have to,” he wrote.

2. “I do agree however, that caning a child for severe actions like stealing, is necessary.”

While admitting that being caned as a child for “not eating vegetables” is ridiculous, user yandaoyandao shared “corporal punishment is actually something that needs to be properly thought out.”

“What I think, and you all may disagree, is what contravenes the law, especially offences which can be caned as adults could consider caning the child. But there must be very clear lines drawn where to cane, how to cane and how many strokes of cane,” the Redditor wrote.

She also added that it really isn’t easy to be a parent for “the restorative part is equally important. Caning should not be the be all end all. Ensuring no repeat offence is actually harder.”

3. “We do have a cane at home. But it’s not the first port of call.”

Reddit user kcinkcinlim said that he thought caning was necessary in special cases. 

“After repeated warnings, other punishments like shutting off the TV or taking their source of entertainment away, the cane does come out,” kcinkcinlim shared.

But kcinkcinlim clarified that it should be done as a “stroke across the palm.” There are also times where they would miss and hit their own hand. 

This Redditor edited his comment and wrote, “I also just realised it’s quicker and more accurate to give a quick finger flick on the palm. Hurts enough to register that we’re not messing around, but not so traumatising as a weapon.”

This article was first published in theAsianparent.