Beyond violence in parenting

Today, I witnessed a scene which I believe is familiar to many people – a older sibling slapping a younger one within a group of China nationals. The scene goes like this …

YB (Younger Brother) about 10 : *started lying on the floor and err doing some kind of Capoeira (minus the music and style) on the older sis*

ES (Elder Sis) about 14:

Except it is a slap not a kick*

So what happened next is much more interesting and is something worthwhile to discuss. The parents came in to look at their darling son, who is now being butthurt at one corner, and probably wondering why he, the “chosen one” is being kicked by his “inferior sister”.

Why did I say so? Because the parents ending up consoling the son (!), and actually asking the sister to apologise to him (!!). The sister ended up giving a limb apology to the brother (!!!).

Analyzing the situation.

Lets analyze from the start – the sister behaviour (the brother is just trolling around so nothing much to talk about). Why did she opt to slap the brother instead of just moving away? Many possible reasons, but I listed the three most probable ones.

  • This is not the first time this happened, and violence is the fastest way to end his violent act and to relieve her frustration.
  • She has a axe to grind against her brother and is just waiting for the perfect chance to take revenge.
  • Self-defence mechanism (against a family member…)

If it is the second and third reason, I do not see much of a reason to overthink it. But if it is the first reason, then something is really off.

What kind of parenting will actually foster such a thinking process ? I believe it is one where the parents do not act based on reason, but instead on their personal biased judgement. I came to this conclusion when they asked the sister to apologize to the brother, but yet they did not ask any form of apology from the brother. Contextually, we must understand that in China’s culture, the male is placed on a higher position than the female. But here, we can see that such a position of privilege has been taken to the extreme.

It is highly likely, that this is not the first time, he is trying out Capoeira on his sister. Otherwise, the sister will definitely opt for a more passive approach to deterrence, since she knows her position well (she unwillingly apologize in the end). Again, obedience to the parent’s wishes (or commands..) is part of filial piety, a concept well drilled into the children in China. The girl, learning that violence being “the most effective” method, might grow up to become more aggressive and resenting her family members for the unfair treatment since young.

It might seem like too far-fetched away, but it is definitely within the realm of possibility.

My takeaway from this.

What can we learn from this? We, as parents must always remain fair and not be biased to any family members. Children, being very sensitive, can easily sniff out any resemblance of unfairness. It might seem like a no-brainer, but the less aware we are, the more likely we might screw up while on “auto-pilot”.

Especially, when violence is involved, parents should step in and prevent the violence from escalating further. If it is not possible, both parties should be punished to let them know that violence, is not right in any form, especially towards another family member. Teaching children what is the “limit” is vital as part of their education into adults.

Parents should also avoid using violence (excessively) to educate their children. Yes, we all know of the saying “spare the rod, spoil the child”. This is true, spare the ROD but I am not saying that you cannot give a slight slap on their palm. Be patient and firm like a rod, and I trust that we can all, one day go rod-free (LOL).

Go beyond violence, in parenting.


Author: domodaddy

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