As schools shift to full home-based learning in Singapore, mummy WhatsApp groups are abuzz with discussions on places to buy canes to discipline children. Yes, you read that right!
Most mums are concerned that with kids transitioning to at-home (once again) model – disciplining them may need more than just gentle parenting.
Take a look at this conversation that recently took place in one such group.
Image courtesy: WhatsApp / iStock
Not incidentally though, searches for assessment books to help kids power through HBL have also gone up.
As you know, schools will operate to facilitate home-based learning until the end of the school term on 28 May. Soon after, June summer holidays will commence. This means that kids will be spending the next few weeks at home.
This has forced parents to prepare themselves to balance academics with discipline till June. Hence why these WhatsApp groups are buzzing with discussions on information about buying canes. And while most parents seem to be in favour, some are also discussing if this is really the way to go.
So is this a regular practice in the little red dot. If so, what does the law say?
Is Caning Allowed In Singapore? What Do the Rules Say?
Image courtesy: iStock
Caning is allowed as a disciplinary measure in Singapore. In fact, it is a form of corporal punishment in schools, and is permitted under the Education (Schools) Regulation.
While it is one of the disciplinary measures considered for “very serious offences,” Article 88 of the Education (Schools) Regulations of the Education Act states that no corporal punishment shall be administered on female pupils.
As for male students, corporal punishment “shall be administered with a light cane on the palms of the hands or on the buttocks over the clothing.” Others include detention, suspension and even expulsion.
Although, some schools do not use corporal punishment at all.
Caning is to be administered by the principal or under his or her express authority, and with another teacher as a witness. Under the Ministry’s guidelines, a maximum of three strokes per caning is allowed.
This was reduced from six strokes in 2017.
Can Parents Take Action Against School For Caning Kids?
If you against implementing corporal punishment, unfortunately, you may not be able to take action against the school for imposing caning on your child unless the MOE guidelines were flouted.
For instance, if your child was caned without permission from the principal, or was caned too harshly. The best solution in this case would be to speak directly to school authorities.
Now, corporal punishment has always been and will continue to be a subject of much debate. Some parents are for it, while others are against it. And with a full home-based learning transition and a work-from-home model for most parents, it is understandable that disciplining children is a stressful topic.
Which is why it may be a better idea to look towards methods that do not involve caning or corporal punishment. Children are after all impressionable and they can be disciplined in ways other than caning, too.
5 Ways To Discipline Your Child Without Caning
Caning or any other form or corporal punishment can instil fear in a child, and this can push them to feel anxiety and even lead to depression.
So here are five disciplinary methods that do not involve corporal punishment.
1. Avoid yelling and use a calm approach
Instead of yelling at them, let your child off on a warning. Better yet, sit them down and check in on them, ask them about the things that may be bothering them and pushing them to behave rebelliously.
You can also use the incentive approach and ask them to finish a task in exchange for a reward. This gives you as well as your child to cool off.
2. Praise your child often
For a child to do something and then be left hanging without a simple ‘thank you,’ can be demotivating. Just as it is to you as an employee. So if you want your child to finish a task, make sure to follow it up with acknowledgement for a job well done.
This acknowledgement will boost their confidence and will help them perform better. Reward systems like sticker charts work well for younger children.
3. Avoid comparing your child to others
You should resist the urge to yell, nag, or lecture. But you must also resists the urge to compare your child to another child.
When you do this, your words aren’t likely to teach your child to do better next time. It demotivates them and may also add an unnecessarily burden them.
4. Take away a privilege
This will help your child learn the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Loss of privilege for your child can include reduced screen time and even reduced outdoor play time.
But remember, before you use this strategy always ensure that you explain why you did what you did and what you expect from your child.
5. Time out
Taking some time off is important for both parents and kids. It will give you the opportunity to cool down and similarly, your kids will get a chance to introspect on where they have gone wrong.
At the end of the day, caning or yelling might be a short-term solution. But in the long run, it can emotionally damage to your child. Don’t let your impulse or anger overpower actions, which you might regret later.
News source: CNA, Ministry of Education