Friday, January 28, 2011

Child Discipline

East vs West is the age old thing in many cultural differences and the other day, a friend on Facebook posted a video clip of Dr Phil program showing a mom in the US disciplining her young son who's lying and when the son wouldn't confess or admit to the mistake of lying, she would made him take a mouthful of Tabasco sauce (aka chili sauce) and swish it in his mouth until he owns up and then he's allowed to spit it out. Then he also got the cold shower for fighting in school, lying and getting warnings from teacher. Here's the clip....

Now if you watch it till the end, it shows that many members of the audience were crying cos they got so affected that they were tearing and some called her a monster and some said the child gotta be taken out of the house by social service. But the thing is, the kid is out of control and if you look at the next clip, the mom's explaining that all other methods didn't work and the kid would just say "Is that all you could do to me?" back to the mom...

So here you have it. The thing is, if you ask me, her discipline methods are just soooo common among Asian parents of my generations! And her ways were considered mild cos she didn't even whack the kid. I remember when I was young, I was a major horror and when I got into trouble, my mom would lock me into a dark room aka the store room with no lights and window till I quiet down and hey,  it works (and I'm not afraid of the dark these days too). And I got caned when I did pranks too. I once went into a high end department store and threw a crystal candle holder on the floor for fun and it broke and my dad had to pay exorbitant amount for it and when I got home, I got caned. Nothing uncommon.

I've heard worse stuff on how peeps from my generation got disciplined. A friend of mine was asked to kneel down on two beer bottle caps (jagged side up of course) while he got whacked. A relative of mine got fed chili padi when she failed her test (she'll probably think Tabasco is nothing!) and her mom once made her kick a durian like a soccer ball (okay that I think is a bit sick). Then Ah Meow said her nanny used to make the kids kneel in the squatty toilet bowl when they're naughty (so that it's so gross they won't do it again).

So when Ah Meow and I watched the clip, we went like "Huh? Why the hell were the freaking audience crying? It's really not so bad cos she didn't even hit him and it's nothing compared to how we were disciplined when we were young"....apparently a lot of my friends didn't think that much of it and thought ah it's harsh but it wouldn't consider as abuse though the sound effect of the kid screaming in the shower was disturbing. But hey, he was taunting the mom saying "Is that all you could do to me?" when she disciplined her so we all think it's a bit of a you-asked-for-it thing. Thing is, if you show this clip in Asia, nothing much would happen and you probably wouldn't get mention of social security of sort and my dad actually said just whack the bugger. It's, however, considered child abuse in the West. Interesting huh?

Then another clip on Dr Phil showed this mom being "mean" as she lost her temper quick and she yelled at her daughters and sometimes called them "Stupid" and asked them to "Get out of my face" etc. Again, Ah Meow and I were puzzled cos we went like "Huh? Isn't that what moms are supposed to do? Our mom screamed at us and call us stupid and sometimes said that she'd rather give birth to a piece of char siew (roast pork) than us." So we're quite puzzled why the mom was all teary...

Just quite an interesting perspective of how children should or shouldn't be disciplined. The two dueling school of thoughts between corporal and non-corporal punishment. West is always about not hitting the child and the East is now slowly adopting that though many still think it's important to punish and hit the kid.

Do you? I personally believe in responsible punishment and hitting at times is needed. Of course, you shouldn't hit the kid for no reason and you must make the child understand why. And of course, you shouldn't hit the child excessively with scissors kicks and karate chops, but some reasonable spanking might do the child some good. And with less spanking adopted among younger parents, I really wonder if the 90s kids (aka the Strawberry generation) are so spoilt because they didn't get whacked enough...But I do know that when I have kids, and if I have kids, there'll definitely be a cane hidden somewhere in the cupboard. I'm not condoning violence and child abuse but I think a bit of responsible spanking as discipline would go a long way.

To end this spank or no spank post on a light note, let me end this post with a really funny clip by comedian Russel Peters on child discipline between the East and can't be more enjoy and have a good laugh...quite long but it's really funny


Anonymous said...

Hahaha...I think the sound effect of the cold shower is bad but yeah, he's out of control and the mom's at her wit's end and yes, she didn't physically spank the kid and I agree that it's no biggie in the eyes of most Asian parents.

The Western kids don't get punished enough, corporal or otherwise and maybe that's why there're so many shooting incidents in the US

Anonymous said...

u've seen this highly controversial article?


Anonymous said...

Miss u! Lots of love...old b!

Becky Cheung said...


Actually our mum likes to call us names as well. Like even now, she calls me the "retarded kid" ( in Cantonese ) or says I going to become a "dead fat woman" ( again in Cantonese ) when I gain weight or something. I am so used it and called her back "smelly mouth person" ( in Cantonese )at times but we are both okay with it now.

I still remembered when I was in primary 5, she threw my homework, textbooks, and my dictionary of the house when I could'nt get the words right for my Chinese. Then she scolded me so loudly that I think most of my neigbhours knew or something and said, "You study on your own!!! You so stupid!!! It's hopless. I am going to do my hair instead of wasting time on you!!!"

I remembered she came back with a funny perm-mushroom-like hair that day and it was kind of scary and she said something like "Look, it is all your fault, now my hair is funny and the stupid hairdresser charges me so expensive for this."

Looking back, I think it is kind of funny. ( but I got As for my Chinese most of the time during my school days. )


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