Monday, 11 May 2015


There are moves overseas against smacking of children particularly those under 3 years of age. They do not yet understand the reason for parental violence against them and the rules that they have broken to warrant being smacked.

Children should not be hit on the head or shaken. This can cause injury or death. Nor should they be hit with a stick or belt. In Papua New Guinea, we regularly see mothers hitting small children and making them cry on the street.

A mother may be annoyed that their child is disturbing them while they play cards. So the child is smacked and told to go away. The child will cry more and be smacked more. A child will scream and cry at bath time at the prospect in having cold water poured on the body. This may warrant a smack.

Many uneducated women in PNG do not know the difference between discipline and training. They will hit a child for putting faeces on the floor. I once saw a small child punched by an aunty for refusing to come to be washed.

At the same time, we also see parents pretending to smack a child. They look fierce in the face and bring down a stick hard on the child's bottom. But they stop the blow about 3 inches from the child's body. The child cries loudly.

Parents should be shown how to train their child without resorting to smacking, particularly a very young child unable to understand.

Abuse of children is wider than that among mothers who spend all day playing cards in the dirt of a village. Children are not washed. Small children are naked and dirty, often with sores on the body.

The mother spends all available family money on cards rather than food for the children. A hungry child will be given a two kina note to buy a dry bun and a soft drink.

Violence can come from a husband who comes home from work to find his clothes not washed and food not cooked. Food money has been spent on cards. The house is filthy. The man will get the blame as the wife is obviously a caring angel. Ask the UN activists.

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