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rainbow ruler   :  Archive   :  1999   :  SG Domestic Jul 1999


Domestic CP - July 1999

Corpun file 5373


The Straits Times, Singapore, 25 July 1999


Cane the brats

THIS newspaper has never budged from its position that discipline at home upheld firmly separates a tight family from a possibly dysfunctional one. It is not a popular stance to hold, as a study on family virtues released last week by the Ministry of Community Development proves. That found that parents are moving the way of coddling children, away from firm handling.

Let us not be mealy-mouthed about it: this is not recommended.

Discipline and the teaching of the right values should not be a case of management by parental terror, of course, but it cannot be good either if fashionable trends and behaviour patterns imported from cultures with different wellsprings were to take root.

Western children talk back to their parents, often rudely. That is said to be a measure of confidence. We call it the origins of societal breakdown. Asians are better served with the ingrained respect due parents.

Slavish copying of alien habits is implied in the research finding that four out of five parents would teach discipline by reasoning with their children rather than administering a firm smack if they behaved badly. By itself, "reasoning" with kids sounds more fashionable than practical. In combination with a careful use of the cane, however, it could go down better.

Six out of 10 parents said they opposed physical punishment, and about half were inclined to be lenient or would find it hard to punish misbehaving children. The trend is not helpful. Parents are asked to search within themselves: have they grown up maladjusted from the childhood spankings they received? Nothing has changed, only pseudo-science and the babble of childhood specialists have.

So, never spare the rod. Soft handling can only turn out a generation of loutish, mean-spirited young adults. That would be surplus to Singapore's requirements.

Copyright © 1999 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.

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