Experts: Punitive punishments may cause more harm

Using punitive punishment against a defenceless child is uncalled for, no matter how badly the youngster has misbehaved.

Singapore Children's Society's senior director of youth services, Dr Carol Balhetchet, said that when an adult uses brute force, it shows that he or she has lost control.

The clinical psychologist said: "With punitive punishments, a child may become more rebellious instead as he may feel unloved and unwanted."

There is a possibility that the child, when he grows up, may also resort to using brute force on others to gain control over them, leading to a vicious circle.

Dr Balhetchet said that instead of hitting a child, an adult should counsel him and give him advice.

There are also other ways of disciplining a child, said the founder and senior counsellor at Family Life First, Mr David Kan.

"A parent may put a child on timeout when he misbehaves or also take away the child's privileges, like his favourite toys," he said.

Parents contacted by The New Paper expressed their horror when they saw the clip of the boy's beating on the train.

A primary school teacher, who wanted to be known only as Madam Anna, 42, said she felt very sorry for the child.

Said the mother of two teenage boys: "It's so sad what happened to him. No child deserves to be treated like that."

Dr Balhetchet said members of the public need to step forward and offer help whenever they witness such incidents.

She said: "We have to protect the vulnerable - like the elderly and the young - from abuse."