Not Another Nashawn Brown: Let’s Parent With Love

The death of Nashawn Brown, resulting from the beating by his stepfather is not an anomaly.  Every day, throughout Jamacia, regardless of  class and ethnicity, children are abused emotionally, physically and sexually. This must  stop.  We must learn and understand that children are not empty vessels and not our property to do with as we feel.  We must not take out our anger and frustration on our children. We must honour and respect our children, and we must not stand by and watch adults abuse children. Those of us who know better, must be the voice of children who are unable to speak for and defend themselves.

Whenever I see children out, whether going to school, church or some function, they are always well-groomed. It is evident that a parent or guardian invested time and energy to achieve that appearance. However, it seems that parents do not take the same amount of pride in the psychological and emotional welfare of their children.

What we as parents say to our children has deep, life-lasting implications. If we want children who are intelligent and compassionate and emotionally intelligent, then as parents we have to provide them with an opportunity to practice and internalise these values.

Contrary to what some adults might believe, each child comes into this world fully equipped with a unique personality, with specific likes and dislikes. While parents or guardians are intended to guide our children, we are not expected to dominate nor terrorise them.

When I do workshops, parents often throw out the Bible phrase “spare the rod and spoil the child,” which is taken completely out of context. No matter how you slice it, beating is violence. Although there should be no corporal punishment in schools, we know that children are being damaged irreparably by some teachers who humiliate them because they might not understand a certain lesson. Teachers are co-parents so it is vital that  teachers are instructed in the psychology of children.

The data says that 75 per cent of adults who are in jail were abused as children. Those who rape, mutilate and murder, were abused as children. Here are the inescapable facts:

  • 80 percent of Jamaican children experience or witness violence in their homes and communities, and 60 percent experience violence at school.
  • Adults who engage in violence against their intimate partners or children, experienced and or witnessed violence in their homes or communities when growing up.

If we treat children with integrity, show them love and compassion we are on the pathway to creating an open, honest and healthy society.  Let us act as if each child is our most precious treasure. Listen to our children. Speak softly and kindly. Do not be quick to judge or interpret their actions based on your own adult reasoning. Give them the benefit of doubt as you discipline, do it with love and compassion. Model kindness. Model forgiveness.

Children’s Right

Opal Palmer Adisa

before she was four

she was thumped

pinched slapped in the face

by the time she was six

she’d been beaten with stick shoes

pot the hook of a fruit picker

her mother has shoved her

causing her to stumble

in the market for walking

too slow with the heavy basket

then cursed her out:

you too damn clumsy and weaky-weaky

her grandmother had spat on her

and knocked her in her head with a stone

for saying good morning to the woman who was

her grandmother’s life-long enemy

the teacher had slapped

her in her hands with the ruler until they swelled

because she couldn’t remember

nine times eight and when she said

her head hurt the teacher shamed her

now at twenty-three with four children

two fathers she expects to be thumped slapped

spread and entered with force

any friday night when her man

comes home drunk               feeling defeated

she expects to be cussed out/grabbed by the throat

when she asked for money to help with food

and when her frustration and anxiety mount

which is all the time she shoves and pushes

her children for clinging to her          screams at them

ah wish oonuh would just dead

and leave me the blasted hell alone

then she pulls and hugs then tightly

to her bosom                           head throbbing

as she mumbles    is love me love oonuh

is so love hurt

2 thoughts on “Not Another Nashawn Brown: Let’s Parent With Love”

  1. This is so sad. I used to be pro-corporal punishment until I had to unpack how much trauma children often have to deal with later in life because of it.


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