Commandment 12 of Rights-Based Communication with Children: Beating, Not Part of Non-Verbal Communication

Hello dear friends and care givers. I am glad you are doing well today. I am here with the spirit of advocacy, motivated by a commitment to bring to the very front burner of the conscience and consciousness of the private and public institutions, the rights and responsibilities of the African child for due respect in the best interest of the child. I fired up by a commitment to create a world fit for children. As you read this piece today please understand that you are reading from a man’s burden and that he fervently desires you to share the burden. How do you share the burden? Simple, make it a point of duty to create a world fit for children in your areas of influence, first your home and all other areas, where you have one form of influence or the other.

Permit me today to share with you Commandment 12 of Rights-Based Communication with Children: Beating, Not Part of Non-Verbal Communication:

We live in a world, where we in most cases define our action or omission by our frustration. Such definitions, which have no bearing with universal principles, knowledge, skill and wisdom, are even often defended with zealous commitment.

Unfortunately, such definitions, which do not have any premise in wisdom has been passed from generation to generation. In most cases, such definitions have become unwritten, yet potent tradition.

One of such definitions, which has become a practice among the low and the mighty is that one of the ways to communicate with the child non-verbally is by hitting the child. Many people today believe that we must hit the child. When you ask them to give reasons for their position, they have none but tradition and personal experiences. These are uninterrupted and unfounded premises fuelled by only two deadly factors: frustration and ignorance; needless to say that frustration in most cases is an active function of ignorance.

In dealing with caregivers over the years, I have identified four levels of ignorance. The first level of ignorance is not a major problem but the caregivers’ lack of understanding of it sets him up and he is not able to relate to the three other levels. Here are the four levels. The first is that we do not know everything. That is not on the face of it a problem since it is only God, who is all-knowing. But it becomes a problem when you are not conscious of the fact that you do not know everything. The real problem is that it reduces your receptiveness and responsiveness to new knowledge and retards or stagnate the development of your mind and by extension, your personal development. The second level of ignorance is that many so-called caregivers do not know what they should know. The third level of ignorance is that many caregivers do not know what they should know and they do not know that they do not know what they should know. The fourth level of ignorance is that many caregivers do not know what they should know, they do not know that they do not know what they should know and they now think they know what they should know.

The latter is the most lethal of all. It is the throne of pride. Expect by divine intervention, it is not possible to help such people. Or how do you help someone, who does not believe he has a problem or who even believe that you are the one, who has a problem?

I wonder why the society, which has not sponsored a study on the impact of hitting children on the psyche of the child, is bent on recommending it. Permit me to give us an assignment as I round up this discussion today. I will like us to first of all ask a series of questions, which I will attempt to answer: what is the purpose of hitting a child in trying to communication with the child? I guess the reason should be to discipline the child. The next question is what is the purpose of discipline? I think discipline is to bring out the best in the child by teaching him to develop respect for his dignity of human person. The foregoing does not begin with rules. It begins with the examples that the caregiver is able to show. Now, how many of us caregiver understand discipline this way? I guess very few of us. If it is very few of us, could we then say many of us do not understand the purpose of discipline and therefore do not do it with an informed motive? I think so. If we do not do it with informed motive, does that not cast dark shadow on the method we seek to employ? If the foregoing cast dark shadow on the method we employ, should we not dedicate more time to studying the purpose of discipline with a view to attaining an informed motive? I think so. As far as I am concerned the motive of discipline is superior to the method. If we can get the motive right, we will always get the method right.

In view of the foregoing, I therefore submit that hitting a child is not part of non-verbal communication with children. I conclude most controversially that hitting a child has no value in child discipline and development.

I think I should sign out here. Thank you for visiting today. Sure you learnt one or two things on how to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY and Think the FUTURE.


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