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The New Paper
June 6, 2023
Parents disciplining their children in public isn’t exactly a rare occurrence, but one mother caused a bit of a stir when she allegedly made her son kneel and apologise to her at a food court.
Photos of the incident were posted on Instagram page @sgfollowsall on May 31.
According to the post, an onlooker who took the photos said the mother had made her son, who appeared around 10 years old, kneel and apologise to her.
“The way he knelt down, it looked like he’d done it a hundred times (before),” the onlooker said.
The woman also shouted at the boy, which apparently disturbed diners around them.
At one point, the boy’s father, who was seated opposite them, told the woman to let the boy “eat his lunch” – but she simply told the man off in reply, the onlooker said.
“This whole incident happened for about an hour and it felt like the longest hour (of) my life,” the onlooker added.
“I know parents have the right to educate their child, but to force them to kneel down in public seems wrong to me.”
Speaking to Shin Min Daily News, TOUCH Community Services counsellor Chen Hanxi said children who are humiliated in public by their parents may form a habit of suppressing their emotions, which can lead to a fear of making mistakes as well as an inferiority complex.
He urged parents to try and understand what their children are feeling and thinking, educate them gently, and guide them on recognising and expressing their emotions.
“What children need most during their growth is a sense of security and belonging,” he said, adding that the mother scolding the father in front of the child may cause “double harm” to the boy.
“When mothers prevent fathers from protecting their child, it will not only damage the father’s dignity, but also make children feel extremely helpless.”