hitting a child

Ashley - posted on 08/03/2009 ( 21 moms have responded )

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As a mom who is adamantly against any form of violence toward children, I am often confronted about "keeping my mouth shut"/" minding my own business". I feel the safety of chidren is everyone's business and will never sit by and agree/be silent/"mind my own business". How do you all feel?

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Michelle - posted on 11/20/2009

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In this, I must agree with Melissa Donnelly, to an extent. I feel it is ok to spank the butt, quick and only once, for them to put two and two together - "If I do something wrong, I'll get in trouble/spanking". I don't find a problem with that. The verbal abuse of calling a child names, well, I cannot agree with that in any shape or form. Parents did that to me and I remember how hurt and unwanted I felt. My parents didn't beat me, nor neglect, but they grabbed my attention when I was wrong or not listening. Never left bruises. Never made a mark. Never did I complain. It is just how I was raised and it made me understand that doing wrong things, when you know it is wrong, you are some how going to get a consequence, whether now or later. (i.e. Karma) I do not agree that abuse from hitting is only once there are marks, cause some parents/people can hit a way to where there is no mark. Once to two spanks to grab the attention, that's it. More then that, you're over doing it and just making the child upset and/or angry. Again, everyone has a different opinion for abuse. I think today if you even THINK about hitting your child you have already abused your child. When I was growing up, it was normal. (Again, to an extent.) Don't be quick to judge because someone does their parenting/raising style different then you. Don't be quick to call child services because you THINK the child may be suffering. If they admit, show signs, by all means, DO IT! It's like "The Boy Who Cried Wolf".

Soky - posted on 11/14/2010

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If its spanking its not abuse. If the parents hits them with a closed fist.. then thats abuse and you should definitely butt in. I spank my child but I dont "hit" her. She needs discipline once in a while. All kids do if not then they grow up to be little spoil brats who talk back to their parents or anyone and have no respect. My child will not do that.

Jessica - posted on 12/03/2009

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On the logical side of this, as long as your 'physical correction' of your child is not severe, does not leave marks on any level, and is not a projection of your own problems (drinking, anger control, self-hatred, whatever) then it should be a viable parenting option.



On the non-logical side of this, I was beaten badly as a child (yes, it was abuse versus honest to goodness 'physical correction' so my relationship with the non-abusive form of hitting children is limited) and it was always explained away as 'discipline' and only after 8 years did it stop, and now more than 20 years later I'm still dealing with the psychological, emotional and mental issues this lack of adequate parenting provided.



On the mommy side of things, how could you even imagine hitting your own child and being ok with it? I've got an almost seven year old, a 10 month old, and am halfway through another pregnancy and I couldn't imagine 'smacking' or 'popping' my child and feeling even remotely justified about it. If you hit a child then you fail. They are small, they are inexperienced, and most importantly they are yours to protect not to hurt.



If you cannot make your child behave without resorting to physical violence then my opinion is that you are either not trying hard enough or that you need to be educated as to how parenting is NOT a relationship based on fear and pain but one based on learning and love. Children are born with the natural desire to please their parents because our job is to teach them how to live right. Once you hit them then they learn that hitting is ok from you then they go out and hit everyone else in their lives, and then you hit them for hitting others... is this the life you envision for your children? Because this is what you are giving to them.

Heidi - posted on 11/23/2009

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I think there is a HUGE difference between a little spank and beating. Nowhere did Melissa say she beats her child. A little tap on the hand if a child is touching something that may hurt them can be justifiable. I don't practice any sort of hitting when raising my boys. There are times where I play paddy whack with my 4 year old and he laughs and laughs when I put him over my knee, when I pat his butt, and its not hard at all. Is that considered spanking or smacking my child? I think everyone raises there kids in different ways, however if you purposely endanger your child then yes its child abuse. But a little tap...I don't think so. I work with kids all day everyday and if I feel there may be abuse it is part of my job to report it.

Amanda - posted on 12/03/2010

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I don't spank my kids. I don't "pop" my kids. I have 4 kids, and time outs are effective for us. And for my oldest we take away privelages. My parents spanked me maybe 3 or 4 times my whole life. It was more or less time outs and loss of privelages. I do inhome daycare and I'm a mandatory reporter. Therefore if I believe or suspect a child is in danger I need to report it to the authoritys. I don't go off a whim everytime and call constantly though. I haven't ever had to call yet! I think that yes it is our business to report abuse. No child deserves it. And I think that every mom on here has their own right to discipline their children as they see fit. I'm not here to judge your parenting skills. Nor am I here to disagree with them. Personally I dn't like the thought of physical punishment. My fiance on the other hand he will smack their hands if they were told not to touch it or if they were going to touch something hot. That's different. But I have to agree with everyone to a certain extent. :)

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Melissa - posted on 01/18/2011

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I agree I also have to say 100 false alarms are better then 1 missed chance to help go with tour hit be honest with CPS and yourself with the reason. Always ask yourself are your intentions honest and pure. I thought about this and if CPS came to my house I would take that opportunity to see if there was something I needed or could possibly improve on. Nobody is perfect right but we always can improve

Collene - posted on 09/11/2010

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If you start to see marks, go ahead, tell someone.
If you see black eyes, go ahead, tell someone.
If you start seeing unexplainable broken bones, then by all means, tell someone.
But if for some reason you see a child have a tap on the hand or a smack on the bottom because they have refused to, time and time again, not to do as they are TOLD (Verbal first, always!) and the child has nothing on there face but stunned silence or a surprised look on there face, then that was the way physical discipline was meant to be used. In a productive manner.
Laws were changed recently in New Zealand for a reason. But it was that reason that made that dreaded Grey area. The law for all realistic purposes, was brought in to show how bad it can REALLY get. To STOP the ones that OVER-DO it. The ones that have there children wear long pants and a hoody to school because they don't want to get caught having beaten there child with a BELT, a JUG CORD, a WOODEN SPOON, a PHONE CORD, a COAT HANGER and not just the little plastic ones you get from the drycleaners, I mean metal ones with nothing on them. Even hearing of stories as nasty as thrusting the child's hand on the ELEMENT just to show that it really is HOT. So if you really think that a tap or a smack is ANYTHING in comparison then I'm afraid you have no perception of what really is abuse and what really is discipline.
And thank you to Ashley Hardgraves for setting us an excellent example and showing us all a perfect example on how to discipline without using violence but with necessary force as back up.

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I guess it can be difficult, NZ just had a law passed that you cannot hit your child, unless it is a form of discipline. :/

Now that is a little bit of a grey area...but I think that you can usually tell when it is abuse. I am trying to not get into that form of discipline, like now when Winter is naughty I will sit her down and look in her eyes with a frown, and firmly say "That is naughty." -etc. Myself as I was growing up, I got the wooden spoon and such. But I can say, that what I feared most was the dark room. I believe that there are definitely ways to teach your kids to behave without hitting them. But I guess that it is really up to the parent whether they are pro or against hitting. I sort of float in the middle. I confess I have smacked Winter on the hand a few times. Mainly when she tries to touch the fireplace >>;

Ashley - posted on 07/06/2010

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I do not agree with abuse... my father was abusive to me as well as my mother. i feel very strongly against it, but there are times I pop my daughters butt only once, never the first or second time.... only when it is things that endanger her. For example, my kitchen openings are too wide for a gate, which has never been a problem until recently.... she doesn't go into the kitchen unless i'm in there. when i cook, even if i don't use the over... .My whole unit gets very very hot. when she ran in a grabbed it. I knelt down on the floor held her hands and explained... HOT we do not touch this or play in the kitchen.... I carried her to the livingroom got out her toys sat her down and went back to the kitchen, 30 seconds later as i'm rinsing potatoes i turn around as she is grabbing the stove AGAIN... I explain again, NO MA'AM that is HOT, we do not touch or play... after doing this and trying distractions for 30 minutes.. she came in again and grabbed the stove, I popped her butt ONE time, knelt down and explained NO MA'AM WE DO NOT PLAY IN THE KITCHEN.....
After that... she didn't come back into the kitchen instead she trotted out all smiles and went and played with her toys!

Amanda - posted on 01/20/2010

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i believe a lil smack is nothing i would never verbally abuse my daughter but if shes being naughty and i have already tried a time out and shes still doing it than yea a lil smack on the butt is not bad.

Kendra - posted on 01/12/2010

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I have spanked, smacked or popped my kids as it's been phrased for punishment, although popped to me sounds like backhanding and I haven't done that. I believe if a parent is doing it out of anger or spite, i.e. making themselves "feel" better, than you have a problem. Obviously if they are black and blue or being starved or any other serious consequence you have a problem. But there is a time and place for spanking and that does NOT mean I am "not trying hard enough" or "need to be educated." I have 3 healthy, happy, well behaved kids that do not go around and hit everyone in their lives. Matter of fact, I have never had a problem with them hitting ANYONE.

There is a huge difference between abuse of any kind....physical or emotional and disciplining in a physical manner. No one's mentioned ages either. My kids are 9-12 right now. To me, they are way too old to spank. I can't remember the last time I did. Now they get grounded, lose privileges or we discuss the problem. But a 2 year old that takes off running in the parking lot deserves a swat on the butt to make the issue clear. Time outs aren't always accessible. And you cannot sit down with a one year old and explain to them why they can't keep sticking their finger in the light socket, so a swat on the hand works wonders. I'm not saying physical punishment should be parents only resort, or even their first resort, but parents that use a swat or spank or whatever in an appropriate manner and at an appropriate force (it doesn't need to hurt to make the point) are not bad parents. I could probably count on my fingers how many times I ever "hit" my kids in any way shape or form and I do not regret them. The lesson was learned, we moved on, and they suffer no emotional scars because they got their hand or butt smacked a couple of times. I'd be shocked if they even remembered it.

As for the question, would I step in if I felt someone was abusing? I would sure hope the answer would always be yes. How I would handle it would depend on the situation. Is it someone I know? Do I feel the kids are in immediate danger? Is it a parent or an outside party (sitter, teacher, etc.)? I would either talk to the person, talk to the child, call DSS, call the cops or spend a lot of time sitting on their couch for fear of leaving them alone. But I would not ever undermine a parent's punishment. If I felt someone was being too harsh, not abusive though, I would either let it go or talk about it later depending on the person and what happened. I can say first hand I would not like it if someone tried disagreeing with the punishment I just gave my kids in front of the kids. But once again, there's a big difference between discipline and abuse and a good person should step in to stop abuse.

Danielle - posted on 12/27/2009

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We all know that no TWO children are the same...so for one person, sitting their child down to discuss what just happened, may not be as effective for another parent with her child. I won't name any names, but I do know a mother that uses the "discussion method" and it CLEARLY is NOT working at all! They just mock her and go on their way and run the household and any household they are in.

I do not believe in child abuse, hitting your child until they are black & blue or methods of starving and neglect, but if talking to your children is not working, then perhaps a little tap on the butt will get their attention.

Also, it's not always your place to step in when another parent is punishing their child. All you are doing is undermining them and their abilities...in front of the child...and it's like two parents arguing, it shows a weakness to their children. If you see that the child is appearing to be distant, losing rapid weight or is bruised...then step in. Until then, you haven't walked a day in their shoes.

Cherice - posted on 11/28/2009

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I feel that there's nothing wrong with popping your child, as long as one keeps it to a chastisement and not a physical not stopping abuse, it's one thing to pop them on the hand or the backside but it's another when your hit them in the face or punch them as if their not your child I think that would be just wrong and dss should do an investigation.

Myra - posted on 11/23/2009

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Quoting Heidi:

I think there is a HUGE difference between a little spank and beating. Nowhere did Melissa say she beats her child. A little tap on the hand if a child is touching something that may hurt them can be justifiable. I don't practice any sort of hitting when raising my boys. There are times where I play paddy whack with my 4 year old and he laughs and laughs when I put him over my knee, when I pat his butt, and its not hard at all. Is that considered spanking or smacking my child? I think everyone raises there kids in different ways, however if you purposely endanger your child then yes its child abuse. But a little tap...I don't think so. I work with kids all day everyday and if I feel there may be abuse it is part of my job to report it.


"There are times where I play paddy whack with my 4 year old and he laughs and laughs when I put him over my knee, when I pat his butt, and its not hard at all. Is that considered spanking or smacking my child?"



I wouldn't consider it spanking or smacking or anything like that because your intent is not to punish or make him hurt...it's playful fun. But in all honesty, it doesn't matter what any of us think...if he reacts in a way different than it being play, that's when it should stop if you don't intend to hurt him. As long as it's play to him, it's all good!

Myra - posted on 11/06/2009

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I was raised where if you know of or see abuse happening, and you do nothing to at least try to stop it, you are helping it to continue. Safety of anyone in known to be in danger is everyone's business that knows.

When I was a teenager, I had a friend whose mom was abusive (physically hit) and neglectful of food and emotional needs. I personally called DFACS to report her mom many times. It didn't do any good since that was when they'd call before coming out, but I knew for that week when they'd be coming out, my friend's family (she had 3 other siblings) would have the food, soap, and clean clothes they needed. I tried to help...

My husband has seen men hitting children or women out places, and gone up to them and started doing it back to the man. They never hit back on my husband (and he's not a big guy), but he always said he'd be willing to take a hit from some guy like that if it meant he stopped hitting a woman or child long enough that they could get to safety.

Mel - posted on 10/30/2009

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lol another one who thinks her way is right. SMACKING IS NOT ABUSE. If you cant get used to other peoples opinions you shouldnt be on circle of moms. If you dont smack your kids that good for you but dont expect everyone else to do the same. I will continue to teach my daughter taht she will get smacked when she does the wrong thing

Nichole - posted on 10/26/2009

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Melissa Donnelly do you really think that it is ok to hit kids? I find that very disturbing! Was being beaten normal in your household and that's why you think that you must beat a child black and blue before it is abuse? I would suggest that you seek some help if you think that abusing children is normal or acceptable behaviour... you should be able to see a counselor free of charge if you contact your local mental health services. The idea of children being abused never mind if they are mine or not disgusts me, if only everyone felt the same the world would be a better place!

Mel - posted on 09/25/2009

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i think people like you stick your nose into other peoples business too much TBH

Stephanie - posted on 08/16/2009

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Melissa Donnelly, abuse is any form of hitting that leaves ANY kind of mark on a childs body. as well as emotional and so on. Tell a child that they are stupid cause they didnt do something or know something is abusing them. I am a teacher and had these classes in college as well as very 3 months through work. I do not believe in hitting at all. my job is to report any type of suspected abuse and that is what i will do. i have lost a few friends/parents of my job by doing this. but it turned out to be true. think about what the child feels when you hit them in any way. I sure know i would not want anyone hitting me cause they are mad. cause i know i take NO pain.

Mel - posted on 08/04/2009

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if it is abuse yes but alot of people believe something is abuse when it is not. smacking is not abuse. abuse is hitting a child over and over til they are black and blue.

Melissa - posted on 08/03/2009

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I agree 100% I believe if you feel it is abuse, it is your duty to talk about it one on one if that does not work then report. Too many people turn there heads to abuse.

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