In the US, it’s no longer considered socially acceptable to spank your child. But parents may still be heard expressing a nostalgia for that period when it was easier to discipline a child, when a parent’s word was the law and disobedience could be quickly checked with a hand or a wooden spoon. This nostalgia is reinforced by the belief that in other countries, children are still spanked and turn out fine, or even better.
That’s what makes this story from South Africa so interesting. There’s a program there in the poorest public schools that seeks to give parents alternative ways to discipline their children. We get an intimate view inside the relationship of one mother and daughter as they struggle to escape their cycle of violence and rebellion. Despite the foreign setting, it’s clear that what’s at stake for families is the same all over the world.
Other stories on KUOW Presents, Wednesday, April 10: