A new study conducted by UNICEF in five Indian states has revealed that at least 30 different forms of physical and verbal abuse are part of disciplining efforts by Indian households.
The study titled ‘Parenting Matters: Examining Parenting Approaches and Practices’ was conducted in two districts each in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, three districts in Rajasthan and four districts in Maharashtra.
The UNICEF study outlines the various forms of violence faced by children in India - physical violence (burning; pinching; slapping; beating with implements like stick, belts, rods) verbal abuse (blaming; criticizing; shouting; use of foul language); witnessing physical violence (towards one parent; towards siblings; outside the family) and emotional abuse (restricting movement; denying food; discrimination; instilling fear).
“At least 30 different forms of physical and verbal abuse are reported as part of disciplining efforts. The punishment is a widely accepted method to discipline children for both boys and girls in families, schools and at the community level for both girls and boys,” the study said.
According to UNICEF study, girls and boys are raised very differently from a very early age in India as girls are being made to take care of household chores and they face more day to day restrictions being imposed by their fathers and other family members.
“Mothers are the main caregivers for children while fathers are much less involved. While male caregivers took children outdoors, mothers are more involved in enabling indoor stimulation through storytelling and singing, among others,” the study said.
Speaking on the release of the report, Yasmin Ali Haque, UNICEF Representative in India said, “Our experience in Ebola crisis shows us that young children are more likely to experience violence, abuse and neglect as families struggle to cope, that could have a lifelong impact on them. Awareness on positive parenting practices are relevant now more than ever to promote both mental and physical well-being of children. Supporting parents and caregivers to provide young children with nurturing care in times of crisis is essential."