We are going overboard in our haste to become more americanised where punishment is concerned
Recently, I read a news item captioned ‘Father jailed for beating promiscuous daughter’ and I quickly got my glasses to read and reread the article because I could not believe it. To be honest, up until now I still haven’t got the full meaning of it all. In fact, a work colleague was in the same position when he read it and asked me if this was the same Guyana, a West Indian society, in which this had happened. The youngster had been in the habit of sleeping out and having sexual relations with older men. It was a cause for concern for a worried father who responded by beating the girl.
He was duly convicted and given a six weeks’ sentence for child abuse.
His method of discipline might have been injurious to his daughter, and parents must be cognisant of this possibility when administering punishment if they are in a rage. Being very angry when administering punishment is a sure way to cause injury. However, sentencing him to six weeks imprisonment may not be the best thing either, because this means that the teen is free of a protective father to roam and continue her sexual promiscuity.
Imprisonment is sending the wrong message to teenagers out there who are prone to have a rebellious attitude, which will in the long run cause them a lifetime of regrets. In our haste to become more americanised we are going overboard. Owing to this parents will become less involved and less inclined to discipline, choosing the laissez faire approach when it comes to child upbringing. Or, they will be forced to adopt the good old Guyanese ‘put them out of the house’ approach when teens do not comply with the rules. This would be the worst case scenario that is bound to hit Guyanese society very hard.
I hope Ms Lurlene Nestor and other social scientists are taking notes, because this kind of decision could mean that some persons will continue along a downward spiral. A very sad picture indeed.