Workers want to educate parents on how to discipline children

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A 10-year-old stabbed himself to death after being beaten and choked with an extension cord by his mother, according to Memphis Police Department.

An extension cord can be a painful way to discipline a child--it can not only hurt, but leave marks that could end in a parent being arrested.

The Exchange Club Family Center is working to educate parents on how to discipline their children in other ways.

"We would see using things like electrical cords, or choking and hitting and punching as something we would definitely identify as abuse. For some people, that's normal discipline," Crystal Carter of the Exchange Club Family Center said.

Police said Jaheem McKenzie's mother, Robin McKenzie, told first responders she was whipping her son with an extension cord and choking him to discipline him.

She said the 4th grader became angry and ran into the kitchen and stabbed himself in the chest with a kitchen knife, killing himself.

"When I say it's very sad, it's very sad. I see this young man every day playing with the kids," neighbor Traimaine King said.

But 10-year-old Jaheem isn't playing at his Frayser apartment anymore.

Police charged Robin McKenzie with aggravated child abuse and endangerment.

Carter says some parents discipline the way they were disciplined, and in her parenting classes, she teaches parents a different way.

"We teach non-violent methods for parents, and we use nurturing parenting and curriculum," Carter said.

Carter says even if a parent says they were disciplined with corporal punishment and they turned out okay, that may not be accurate.

"Even though we might appear to be okay, we still have some trauma and issues," she said.

Carter says Tennessee is a mandatory child abuse reporting state. If you think a child is being abused or neglected, call the Tennessee reporting hotline at 877-237-0004.

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