Disciplining children is important, but it does not have to be by using a belt, cou-cou stick or other objects.

Attorney General, Adriel Brathwaite, gave this advice to parents and guardians across Barbados today, as he reminded them of the country???s obligations to eliminate corporal punishment being a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of a Child.

He was delivering the feature address at the Stop the Violence Against Children youth rally at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill.

???We have to decide whether or not we are going to adhere to that Convention. I know that in the schools there are some teachers who are concerned that if you take away corporal punishment from the school then it would lead to further indiscipline among the young people.

???But, in the absence of greater evidence of that, I maintain the position that we signed on to the Convention and it requires us to eliminate corporal punishment,??? he stated.

???The average parent still believes that it is his or her right to administer corporal to punishment to his or her child,??? he lamented.??But, he stressed, parents and guardians in ???modern Barbados??? needed to consider alternative methods of discipline other than corporal punishment, which sometimes resembles an assault that ends with scarring and injury to the child.

???We are therefore adamant that we are trying our best to persuade modern parents that there are other ways of persuading children to comply,??? he stated.

However, he acknowledged that changing the culture of Barbadian society would not be easy, especially as the society held strongly to the expression ???spare the rod and spoil the child???, and the belief that hanging should remain on the island???s statute books.

The Minister added that there was a believe by the older generation that they were flogged and it did them no harm, and that they were in fact better off now because of the punishment they received at the time.

???But what you don???t see is the number of men and women who are scarred, and scarred considerably, because they either did not make the connection between the nature of the punishment that they received, or have continued in silence, even as adults,??? he said.

Mr. Brathwaite noted that corporal punishment will be removed from the new Juvenile Justice Bill for all children under the age of 18 coming into contact with Barbados??? criminal justice system.

???If I am not prepared to flog my own children, I don???t see how I can be prepared to flog somebody else???s children, or be a part of a regime that allows it,??? he declared.

Meanwhile, UNICEF Children???s Champion for Barbados, Faith Marshall-Harris, reminded parents that the rights of a child did not speak to that child being able to do whatever he or she pleased, but of their right to food, shelter, good health, education to be cared for and other necessities, in order to be productive members of society.

She also cried down the belief that the best way to discipline a child was by hitting him or her, warning that ???violence begat violence???.??Mrs. Marshall-Harris, also an Attorney-at-Law, said the aim was to end the cycle of violence in society, especially as violent children become violent adults.

She recommended that parents and guardians teach their children values which would stay with them for life.


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