I was independent from a very young age living in Grenada. By the time I was seven, I knew how to cook, wash clothes by hand and clean the house. By most standards, I was considered an agreeable child who never got into much trouble, except for one time when I got into a fight with my brother. After a good spanking from my father, I knew I had to play nice with my siblings.
Until the age of 16, I had few recollections of being spanked by my mother. She used the hand occasionally but it was never a traumatic experience. To be honest, it was probably warranted because I was a very stubborn child and followed my own path. I did whatever my heart desired at the time.
I left home at 16 years old because I was not provided with any discipline or authority figure at home. I had to take care of myself and become sole caregiver for my siblings. I was virtually thrown into adulthood in my adolescent years.
My upcoming CXC examination was fast approaching and I needed support. I went to live with my aunt but got kicked out after a short stay. Instead, I ended up staying at my cousin’s house. Life was great there until one fateful day.
I was walking home from school heading to my cousin’s house when I was ambushed and violently abused with a wet dirty mop. I remember the mop breaking on my left arm from the nasty beating. My white shirt was covered in mud and I received a cut on my left arm. I was pretty swollen with bruises over my entire body. I was enraged by the assault and decided to go to the police station and report the ambush. I thought my abusers deserved to go to jail. The police thought otherwise and told me to go home.
It has been 25 years and I still have a scar on my left arm and emotional pain from the beating. As much as I feel infuriated some days by this past assault, the abuse I endured taught me to be a different mother to my child. I refuse to lay my hands on her. Instead we have sit-down conversations to air things out.
No child should ever be abused no matter the circumstance. Parents may think that spanking a child is a way of teaching them a lesson, but the reality is that your child will suffer with a lifetime of emotional pain. This emotional upheaval was not going to happen in my house. I came to realize that the cycle of child abuse had to be broken with me.
I am happy and proud to say I achieved that goal with my daughter who has never once suffered any physical mistreatment. Kids should never encounter the cruelty of physical abuse in any form, including spanking. Children require love, protection and communication. As parents, it’s our responsibility to raise productive members of society, so talk to your children instead of raising the hand of violence. You might be surprised that they actually listen to you.