(Editor’s note: The Young Leaders group at Lynn Jeffers School on Nevis is competing with schools across the region to meet the requirements of this year’s project, “Bridging The Gap.” Last year, the school finished in second place in this contest, which is sponsored by RBTT Bank. Students involved in this project are conducting interviews to discuss issues that have an impact on a wide variety of people. The Observer is publishing excerpts from their work today and in the coming weeks. The Observer is not requiring the use of last names in this instance.)

This week’s Lyn Jeffers Young Leaders topic for Bridging the Gap is parent child relationships and child abuse. Some parents use physical discipline when dealing with children; spanking, lashes, etc. When does this move from punishment to child abuse. What benefits are there in physical discipline? Does psychological discipline ever become considered abuse? Listen to Choice Radio at 5:00 pm on Thursdays to hear this and other topics discussed at length.

The Young Leaders posed their own questions on this topic to adults and students. Here are the questions and the responses they received:

How can you improve your current parent/child relationships? What are some key points in your relationships?

What is your current relationship like? What do like best and least about your relationships? What do you think of child abuse in these relationships?

P.D. – female 16 – Thinks her relationship is already good so she can’t improve it any more. Key points are understanding, communication and patience. She has a healthy relationship with her parents and likes when they understand her but they sometimes disagree.

H.D. – male 15 – Thinks he can improve his relationship by doing what his parents say and practicing good habits. He says his relationship is “crazy” and a key point would be to have less of a temper but that the relationship is stable. The best part is the understanding and the worst is lashes.

N.B. – female 13 – Says doing things right will improve her relationship and the key points are patience, interaction and communication. She feels her relationship is healthy and stable and that her parents understand her but does not like the lashes. She thinks that is abusive.

A.D. – male 14 – Feels relations can be improved by doing what parents want. Key points in this relationship are love, honesty and trust. He feels his relation is stable and that his parents care about him but sometimes they don’t trust him.

L. J. – female adult – Thinks it’s important to listen to children so you can give them a good response and take them seriously. Key points are to spend quality time with them and supervise homework. She feels she has a healthy relationship with her children and like openness, honesty, approval and offering good advice. She would never abuse a child and has seen the results first hand with some children she has worked with. They are withdrawn or act out and often become abusers themselves.

S.C. – male adult – Thinks good communication can improve relationships and key points are love, for each other, concern, cooperation and courtesy. He feels he has very healthy relationships with his children and likes that they support each other. He sees nothing negative in these relationships. He feels that physical discipline can easily become abuse and that is not a good thing. It can physically and mentally harm a child. Abused children become abusers.