Regularly Abused Children Likely To Lose Respect Of Their Parents


By Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin
Pix Shahiddan Saidi

BANGI, 18 Feb 2014 – Parents, guardians or teachers who regularly beat youngsters were likely to lose the respect of their children when they become adults.

Prof Dr Zuria Mahmud of The National University of Malaysia’s (UKM) Faculty of Education said corporal punishment, a long-standing tradition in Malaysian society, may be counter productive and even unacceptable under international convention.

Speaking at her public lecture organised by the faculty here recently, she said studies have shown a growing trend among young adults who were ambivalent about their elders, especially their parents.

“Counsellors at UKM and elsewhere who interviewed students found that some youths became resentful of their parents because they often suffered beatings at home when they were children.”

Prof Zuria said the students said they were glad to be able to live separately from their parents and cherished their freedom. They felt independent and need not heed their elders’ advice any more.

She cautioned Malaysian families wishing to stay abroad to be mindful about international family laws on the treatment of children.

Malaysia, like many other countries including the European Union, have signed the United Nations Convention On The Rights Of The Child (CRC) in 1989.

The CRC among others provides that all nations must act to eliminate corporal punishment and all other cruel or degrading forms of punishment towards children.

Prof Zuria suggested the Malaysian government take its pledge seriously as the country is bound by the convention that it has signed.

She also advised post-graduate students doing their thesis on student counselling to study the CRC closely.

In some countries, especially in the West, the punishment for child abuse can be a jail sentence of up to 10 years.

A proper implementation of the CRC requires an overhaul of child custody and guardianship laws in the country.

The CRC, Prof Zuria said acknowledges that every child has certain basic rights, including the right to life, his or her own name and identity and to be raised by his or her parents within a family or cultural grouping and to have a relationship with both parents, even if they are separated.

Prof Zuria’s field of specialisation is counseling education and supervision. Besides teaching and supervision she is also active in research and publication.

Her works focus on issues related to counselling practices and training. She has 27 years working experience, beginning as a counsellor at the MARA Junior Science College.

She is married and has three daughters and one adopted child.