Saturday, December 11, 2010

When "discipline" becomes Child abuse

I was upset the whole way home as I had only gone out to purchase a few things and instead had to witness something unexpected on the bus coming back. 

I'd thought that this would be a quiet bus ride and was focused on my destination, home, when a woman, dragging a buggy in one hand and holding a kid in her other arm came on the bus. There was a girl (about six years I would guess) following close behind her. The woman seemed rather annoyed as she sat down and put the child she had been holding in her arm forcefully into the buggy.  

I watched in horror as the child started crying and screaming that she wanted to get out, after a while of commotion, the mother finally let the girl out of the buggy and mumbled to the girl who had been following close behind her "Ah, and you can't even help me just a little bit", rolling her eyes.  (Come on. What do you honestly expect a little six year old to help you with when it comes to taking care of another child?") 

It didn't stop there as the child in her arm started crying again, insisting that she did not want to sit on her mother's lap. What came next was to my greatest shock. The woman started hitting her several times and squeezing/banging her against herself. The buggy in front of her almost fell and she turned towards the little six year old who had been quiet for a long time and shouted "You are so stupid!!!" The little girl did not say anything and just sat there silently. 

For the whole time I was looking around just to see if anyone else was noticing what I was noticing. Yes, but nobody was saying anything. Some were staring into space whilst others pretended to be deaf and dumb, staring out the window. 

I felt like one of the many who had fallen into the trap of "bystander effect" experiments. I was glued to my seat, unable to speak, unable to do anything. All I wanted to do was stand up and yell "Why isn't anyone doing anything? Why are you all sitting here like nothing is happening?" It was  of course not up to me to tell the woman how she should raise her children, but it certainly does not help to call a little child of six stupid because a buggy almost fell on the floor. Was she expecting her little hands to reach out for it? 

Some children are really loyal (just like the six year old girl who was silent even when her mother had called her stupid) and innocent, they are naive to the violence and evil of this world. All they care about is happiness. I wonder sometimes why it is so easy for some people to destroy that for children.

When I got off the bus I pictured myself telling the mother that her behaviour disgusted me and that if I were able to I would take away any right she had to be within an inch of a child.  All of this happened in my head, and instead of saying this all I could think about was how angry I was at myself for not saying anything. I felt disgust towards the behaviour the mother had displayed on the bus, and sadness as my tears started blurring my vision and the wind made it hard to see. 

What would the mother do if that silent girl started rebelling against her in her teens? You shouldn't treat a child like that and ask yourself why they have become they way they are in their teens? Just because the girl does not say anything throughout her childhood doesn't mean she won't bottle things up and release it once the bottle is too full to contain any more abuse, whether it's name calling or physical abuse.    

A lot of children tolerate too much because they are not in position to say anything. But....

Be careful how you treat a child or you just might be sorry.

It's not a threat. It's a statement.

Chika x x x