Jamaica’s Perception of Discipline

I promised myself I wouldn’t use this forum to vent, but this particular issue is probably going to land me in the hospital with high blood pressure if I don’t find a suitable outlet for this rage and passion.

Are We Still Slaves?

If we are so mentally enslaved 184 years following the physical abolition of slavery that we cannot identify that irrespective of the problems you face that there is actually a line that should not be crossed in the name of disciplining your child, what are we doing? This is what we are good for after 55 years of independence? This is what we strive to remember as a part of our culture?


Frustration or Blind Rage?

First, let us discuss the rage. You are telling me that this woman is so beside herself with blind rage, a sharp blade was used to aimless slap her child over and over, in sensitive places while both she and the child slip and struggle with each blow? She had no control over herself? At best she is a mad woman and is unfit to care for a child! Let us discuss all the ways this could have gone wrong in a fraction of a second. What would the conversation be like if we had witnessed a man beating a woman this way? Would we say she must have deserved it?shutterstock_138099623-390x285

  • The child could have been impaled.
  • The child could have lost a limb.
  • The child could have been beheaded.
  • The child could have had her spinal cord severed.

All within a split second. A blocked blow, or slip. That’s all it would have taken. Please tell me what great sin, besides possibly being a murderer herself could this child have committed that this woman was actually willing to risk her death for. Had she been murdered in this tirade the conversation would have been so different. We would all be banning our bellies and screaming about all the other ways that this could have been prevented. We would be bawling and calling on the Hon. Andrew Holness to save us from the violence and cruelty we inflict on each other. Yet, we embrace brutality every chance we get. Giving blind power to a woman to treat a child anyway, however horribly, that she sees fit because she gave birth him or her.

How can we sit down and JUSTIFY a parent becoming so engulfed in rage, that we are actually placing ‘buts‘ in the response to a mother wielding a MACHETE with no regard for the life of the child she believes she is disciplining. 


When Will It Be Too Much?

When exactly will a parent have crossed the line if not now?

On September 27, 2015, Maxine Bailey from a Kingston address burned her 15-year-old daughter with a clothing iron for failing to return rental books. Both arms and a thigh. Well, I guess maybe the child deserved that. That’s what we are saying, right? Her mother did it, so obviously her mother was frustrated and she (the teen) must have deserved it. How could she not?

Annmarie Brown from a Kingston address burned her 11-year-old son with a pot on his bottom to “discipline” him for allowing her own negligence of a  coal stove to burn her 2-year-old in passing on his bottom. Poor mother, so fed up she apparently was. Right, she sure showed him, didn’t she?

Ann Marie Scott threw boiling water in the face of her 8-year-old daughter for losing a ring. Mop stick not delivering enough damage? Here, have some hot water in your face then.

Earlier this year, Theresa Peters dipped both her 7-year-old twin sons hands in boiling water to teach them not to take food from the pot without her permission. Ah, yes, let us be cruel to our children the in true Jamaica fashion.

After all, we were all maimed as children and we are better successful adults for it, eh?

Is there no line? Perhaps, it is just shy of actual murder. Well, perhaps the next time we should just encourage the machete-wielding goddess to use a gun, eh? A game of Russian Roulette? Perhaps she dies, perhaps she doesn’t.


Crime and Violence Our Culture?

How can we not see that the brutality and violent natured crimes that are currently ravaging the Jamaica we know and love is as a direct result of things like this? How is it not possible to see that?

shutterstock_171488747-1050x700Don’t get me wrong, I believe in a good old-fashioned whooping to a deserving child and believe we that is should be used in the event that it is needed, however, if the strap doesn’t solve the issue, is our only recourse cruelty, violence, and murder to the child using frustration as the excuse? Is that what we are saying? Because quite frankly that is what every single ‘BUT’ that follows the sentence, “He/She was wrong, BUT…” means. There is no way around it. Every ‘but’ is a justification. Every ‘but’ a perception of understanding as to why? Every ‘but’, is an outpour of empathy for the abuser. Every ‘but’ is an excuse.


Caring For a Child

In the wake of the arrest of this woman, there are persons who are asking who then is going to care for the child if the mother goes to prison. BUT she wasn’t taking care of the child either! BUT she is a violent individual with an anger management issue. Mother or not, that makes her a threat to the children. The job of parenting a child is laced with pure, raw, unadulterated frustration (If you are doing it right, anyway). Even as adults, our parents are sometimes frustrated with us, with our decisions, with us exercising our adult right to not have to listen. But because they love and want the best for us (assumingly), sometimes, they are still frustrated. That is the job for life, is it not?

The problem with a society ravaged by ignorance is that too many of us believe that ‘taking care’ of a child is completed when you feed, clothe and send him or her to school. These things do not, in totally encompass all the care a child requires and so many in our society, though, providing these basic necessities of life are unfit parents. They blame the child for the fact that they have to care for them. They blame the child, for being.. well… CHILDREN!

We must do better! This woman a treacherous excuse for a mother and no, poverty is not an acceptable excuse. She deserves to be made an example of by the law and afforded the same mercy she showed her child, none. When we aren’t making excuses for criminals saying its, the economy and the system, we are excusing violent acts against our children by their parent under the disguise of discipline? Come on now! DO BETTER JAMAICA!




  • lisalemuya

    i doubt at all if its about discipline i think its rage and frustration channelled towards an innocent child we have had that in our country too (kenya) its so sad

  • touchinjamaica

    Thank you Shandean, your post has touched me a lot. We travel to Jamaica for 5 years and are not “sunshine tourists”. We perceived the aggressiveness with which the people in Jamaica partly deal with each other. We are interested in people and why they are, how they are and researching the causes.However, poverty and frustration should not be the engine to treat the weakest of Jamaican society like that. What happenes to these kids, What happens to these children happens to my children only in my worst nightmares. And I’m ashamed for every little slap on the back they received from me if they were little.

    Violence generates counterviolence and crime, it is an endless spiral, but it can and must be broken. For a better Jamaica.

    • Shandean™

      I agree. Do better when you know better.

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