Perceptions of Adolescents and Caregivers of Corporal Punishment: A Qualitative Study Among Indo-Caribbean in Suriname

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Abstract

While the protection of children from all forms of violence is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, violence remains a part of life for children around the globe. Corporal punishment is a form of violence and a dominant practice as a method of corrective parenting in the Caribbean. While researchers are starting to ask children directly about their experiences of violence, there is limited research on children's perspectives of the function, legality, and boundaries of corporal punishment, particularly in low-and middle-income countries. This study begins to address this gap by reporting on 12 focus groups that were conducted with adolescents (aged 12 to 18 years) and caregivers of Indo-Caribbean background in Suriname. The aim is to explore adolescents' and caregivers' shared perspectives about the prevalence of corporal punishment in Suriname, responses to and feelings about its use as a discipline strategy and perspectives of the rationales for and against corporal punishment, and their views on banning it. Analyses were done using ATLAS.ti version 1.0.50, a qualitative data package. Corporal punishment showed to be an everyday experience in children's lives in Suriname. There was no clear consensus regarding adolescents' and caregivers' perspectives on the parental use of corporal punishment. Many participants hesitated to support efforts to prohibit corporal punishment legally. Messages arising from this study could usefully inform the development of a public information campaign on safe and effective discipline of children in Suriname.

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