A video from the city of Delhi went viral recently, in which a young girl could be seen lying on the roof of a house on a hot afternoon, with her hands and feet tied up. Alarmed, the Delhi Police sprung into action to track down the child and ensure that she was safe. It later turned out that the girl’s mother had allegedly tied her up and left her on the roof as punishment for not completing homework. Can such cruel behaviour be passed off as an act to simply discipline a child?
Social media posts first claimed that the video was shot at Karawal Nagar locality in the city, but later it was confirmed that the video was from Khajuri Khas area, following which the Delhi police managed to track down the child and the mother.
The mother informed the police that she was punishing her five-year-old daughter for not completing her school homework. She further alleged that the child was punished “only for five to seven minutes”.
Sharing an update on the incident, the Delhi Police tweeted, “After a video of a girl child tied up on the roof of a house surfaced on social media, all possible efforts were made by Delhi Police to ascertain her identity and circumstances. The family of the child has been identified and appropriate action initiated.”
Mother leaves child on hot roof: Abuse does not discipline a child
A study by UNICEF found that Indian parents use 30 different forms of physical and verbal abuse on children as young as newborn babies to six years of age for ‘disciplinary purposes’. Physical abuse included actions like pinching, pushing, shaking to more severe forms of assault like beating with rod, stick or belt.
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So one wonders, does physical abuse actually help in disciplining a child at all? Or does it simply leave them with life long mental scars that would affect their well being as adults.
Wasn’t tying a five-year-old child and abandoning her on a hot roof an extreme punishment for simply not completing school work?
The mother’s action was an overreaction that will likely affect the child in the future in negative ways. Children can be scared into completing their work, but that doesn’t miraculously turn them into geniuses. How do parents expect their children to gain knowledge, when their only reason to study is to avoid punishment?
We can blame it on the education system that is followed in India, where focus is more of “finishing” studies than understanding lessons. Where homework, assignments and marks in exams decide whether or not a child is a good student, instead of their behaviour, extracurricular activities and talents.
The mother who allegedly tied up her young daughter on the roof will face police action for what she did, but this was possible only because the incident was caught on camera and the video was circulated widely. What about incidences of parental child abuse that go undocumented? What about children who are left to endure such cruel punishments without any intervention? Who is responsible for them?
Indian parents need to understand that merely getting your child to do their homework, by hook or crook, doesn’t make one a good parent. A large part of it is rooted to how you lay the foundation for their adult life with a happy and secure childhood, where children do not complete their chore out of fear but a sense of responsibility or even excitement and happiness.
Views expressed are the author’s own.