I’ve noticed a disturbing change in my children since my family arrived in India a little more than two months ago, they are starting to slap or hit each other, a behavior I very rarely saw when we lived in America. It’s no mystery why, both my daughters often talk on our way home from school about “naughty kids” who were rough with them and about teachers slapping or spanking kids. Kids don’t lie about these things, and I’ve noticed with my own eyes that although the Tibetan kids in the school have been wonderful about making my girls welcome, they think nothing of shaving their way past them or hitting them to get attention, leaving my girls with shocked expressions of outrage.
Otherwise, the school is great, it’s probably the best school for young children in the area, the problem is with the culture rather than any individual students or teachers. In the Tibetan community, most of us were beaten when we were children, lived through it, turned out okay more or less, and often accept the belief that beating kids is necessary to make them be good. I understand that some parents, who no doubt love their kids very much, even tell the teachers at my daughters’ school to be sure and beat their kids enough.
That’s why it’s no surprise domestic violence in adult relationships is so common. Without ever intending to, parents who beat their kids plant the seeds of future violence toward women, and none of us should be surprised then those seeds bear fruit one day. For that reason, I don’t necessarily consider abusive husbands bad people, they’re just faithfully following their role models.
Whether it’s towards kids or women, physically violent behaviors have got to stop, and for that to happen, we need to change our attitudes. We need respect instead of control. Kids need to see their mothers treated as respected equals, and mothers and fathers both need to respect the ability of children to learn how to resolve problems peacefully. Once we give respect a chance, I predict future generations will wonder why we ever depended on violence in the first place.