What *IS* child abuse??

Kate CP - posted on 01/26/2010 ( 160 moms have responded )

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So many different takes on this one. I just want to know how y'all feel about this. See, some people think that any kind of physical punishment (swats, spankings, etc) is abuse. But some think that it depends on HOW you use the physical punishment (where, when, what you use, etc). Is calling names abuse? Is yelling abuse? Have you ever been accused by any one (officially or not) of abuse? Opinions, please! Oh, and lets keep this civil ladies. I know it's a hot-button topic, but I want to keep it clean. :)

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Krista - posted on 01/26/2010

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Hm...that's sort of like the question of what is pornography. We "know it when we see it."



My take on it is that it can be called abuse when it has negative repercussions on the child's emotional or physical well-being.



Of course, others may disagree, but I don't think that the occasional swat on the bum is abusive. However, if it's used often, and the child flinches away from the parent when a hand is raised, then obviously it's crossed that line. Same goes for yelling -- some parents holler at their kids ("You get your butts in here NOW!") but the child still feels loved and secure. But when the yelling is vitriolic, then that crosses the line.



Some tactics and approaches are very obviously abusive to a child. But when looking at the gray area of things like spanking and yelling, I would say that it becomes abusive when it negatively affects the child's health, or their sense of security, safety and comfort with his or her parents.

Amanda - posted on 03/09/2010

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It is abuse if a weapon is used or a closed fist, also name calling or belitteling. BUT it is also abuse when a parent doesnt do anything. A parent who doesnt take the time to be a parent is just as damaging as a parent who beats, or verbally abuses. Its abuse when the house is disgusting, its abuse when a child doesnt get good healthy food to eat, its abuse when a parent completely ignors a child. There are many forms of abuse, directly and indirectly.

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Dana, I was spanked as a child and I never feared my parents. I've always had a good honest open relationship with them. I think it is the manner in which a child is spanked that makes the child afraid or not afraid. I knew that if I disobeyed, fought with my sister, etc. I would get a spanking. Spankings were not sporadic or administered during anger or while frustrated. I also knew that my parents loved me and were always willing to give hugs, kisses and words of praise.

Andrea - posted on 03/12/2010

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I think alittle swat on the bumb or a little swat on the hand is appropriate in some cases. I dont think that it's ok to spank a child over and over again, and I dont think that it's ok to spank them so hard that it bruises them. And DEFINATLY not ok to call your child names (I have to admit that I've called my children stinkers, but only in fun..)! Anything that makes anybody feel less of a person is wrong! A little swatting is a good thing. If your kid is pushing, hitting, biting, kicking other kids and "talking to them" doesn't help, what do you do? Allow for it to happen? NO! You have to teach children right from wrong.. Children, like adults need a little bit of disciplin.

Amber - posted on 03/11/2010

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i dont knw the real definition for abuse but the best way to deal with that is to not even give ur children a spanking or a swat u never knw who sees you doing it and it could lead to something worse i usually sit down and have a talk with them and put them in a time out sometimes it works sometimes it doesnt thats motherhood for you...and yes i believe calling ur child names is emotional abuse thats my opinion

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Carolyn - posted on 05/29/2011

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You will find several responses to your questions on my website: http://www.orangeblossomwishes.com. (Go to the Blog Tab).



Yes, I was a victim of molestation and then domestic violence, and now have come from victim to survivor to advocate working to bring more awareness to these topics. Abuse is abuse. If it is abusive behavior for an adult toward another adult, then it is abusive behavior for an adult toward a child. And yes, I believe in spanking - when done properly.

Andrea - posted on 03/12/2010

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I think alittle swat on the bumb or a little swat on the hand is appropriate in some cases. I dont think that it's ok to spank a child over and over again, and I dont think that it's ok to spank them so hard that it bruises them. And DEFINATLY not ok to call your child names (I have to admit that I've called my children stinkers, but only in fun..)! Anything that makes anybody feel less of a person is wrong! A little swatting is a good thing. If your kid is pushing, hitting, biting, kicking other kids and "talking to them" doesn't help, what do you do? Allow for it to happen? NO! You have to teach children right from wrong.. Children, like adults need a little bit of disciplin.

Andrea - posted on 03/12/2010

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I think alittle swat on the bumb or a little swat on the hand is appropriate in some cases. I dont think that it's ok to spank a child over and over again, and I dont think that it's ok to spank them so hard that it bruises them. And DEFINATLY not ok to call your child names (I have to admit that I've called my children stinkers, but only in fun..)! Anything that makes anybody feel less of a person is wrong! A little swatting is a good thing. If your kid is pushing, hitting, biting, kicking other kids and "talking to them" doesn't help, what do you do? Allow for it to happen? NO! You have to teach children right from wrong.. Children, like adults need a little bit of disciplin.

Katie - posted on 03/09/2010

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i think that any form of downgrounding a childs sense of who they are in any shape or form is absolutely unnecessary, i have two youngs sons one of which is on the asc spectrum and he thrives on a secure, well nourished balanced environment, the raise of a voice would instantly sned him into shock, the are other ways and means to get your children to co-operate with you, its all about nurturing yoyr children the best way you can but in the correct after all breaking a terrible society of abused children is absolute as they are the innocents.

Chantel - posted on 02/16/2010

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I used to work in group homes for behavioural children. The worst and most frequent form of abuse I ever saw was the inability to say "no". In the group homes there were two kinds of children...those who had been physically/emotionally abused and those whose parents were afraid to say "no". The largest group came from parents who spoiled their children...those parents were literally afraid of their own kids. Those were the worst kids in the group homes.

I don't believe in spanking/hitting/physical punishment or emotional put-downs, etc. I believe in consistency. If parents are consistent with time outs, removing privileges, etc. there should be no need for physical or emotional harm to come to any child. Afterall, if your child hits another child and you spank them...what are you teaching them? Where do you think they learn how to hit?? I'll hit you until you learn not to hit?? Does that make any sense? Violence begets violence. The trick seems to be to find your child's passion, make sure they have access to it when they're behaving, but make sure it's something you can take away when they're bad. Consistency, passion and common sense...if you have all those, parenting is a breeze...mostly. :-)

Christina - posted on 02/15/2010

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i was sexually and phyically abused when i was a child. its the hardest thing. i can forgive but i cant forget. i still have nightmares. abuse is demeaning your child. you need to realistic with discipline, too hard or too much i consider abuse. if that even makes sense. sorry just a hard topic for me. if you are getting satisfaction out hurting a child wether it be emotionally physically etc then its abusive. if you are apart of n abusive situation the get out.... please... off topic i know. but children are a gift and i think the ones that abuse should all go to hell

Michelle - posted on 02/15/2010

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Spanking is a last resort in my household. I have a 14year old daughter that I can probably count on 1 hand how many times she has been spanked her whole life. On the other hand I have twin 8 yr. old boys that I can count on 1 hand how many times they have been spanked in a week (kidding!). Seriously, my point is that all kids are different and while 1 child may figure out very early on that they don't really care for negative consequences others decide that sometimes the consequences don't really outweigh the behavior at least for the time being. My twins repeatedly disobeyed me on a daily basis about getting their homework done at after school care. It was a rule that my husband and I had set forth a the beginning of the school year. They have a tutor that sits and does it with them. I now have a 4 month old and work out of my home for the time being so it became especially important for them to follow this rule so that I could focus on getting dinner on the table and have some quality family time before it was showers and bedtime. It took 4 months for the 1 twin and 6 months for the other before they finally decided that mom was serious and they no longer liked the consequences. I first started off with grounding, then taking toys and they would have to earn them back. Finally by December I started spanking. 1 swat on night 1 of no homework with the clear understanding that each night you disobey me there will be another swat added on. They knew without a shadow what the consequences would be. Now they are twins, so same age same rules and consequences. 1 of them decided the threat of not getting to play basketball and getting spanked were definitely not worth it anymore. The other one wasn't convinced. I stuck to the no basketball and stopped spanking. I went out and bought a learning book at Wal-Mart and instead of standing in the corner, getting spanked etc..he had to do homework. With him it had gotten to the point where he had thrown his homework out the bus window, lied about not getting it from the teacher, tried erasing the date of the day before and re-writing the current days date on it to pass it off. I had to go to extremes with him to get him to follow house rules, but it worked and now he sometimes even asks me if he can do a page out of the book. Both of them have earned their toys and privileges back and realized that it really only takes them 10-20 minutes to get it done at after school care and then they can go play. My point is that all kids are different and what may work with one may not work with another.

Amy - posted on 02/15/2010

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Krista, i couldn't have said it better. There is a line between correction and abuse, and it's all in the degree and intent. I do give my daughter a smack on the tush or yell at her if she does something deliberately wrong or dangerous, for example yesterday when she was reaching for a pan on the lit stove i spanked her to emphasize that she must. never. do that. I felt that just saying "no" would not be enough of a deterrent.



My daughter knows that she is loved completely. An occasional spanking or hollering is not going to hurt her, and i tell her why mommy spanked her tush or shouted at her so she can associate her action with my reaction. Sometimes you need the extra attention-getter.

Amy - posted on 02/15/2010

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Krista, i couldn't have said it better. There is a line between correction and abuse, and it's all in the degree and intent. I do give my daughter a smack on the tush or yell at her if she does something deliberately wrong or dangerous, for example yesterday when she was reaching for a pan on the lit stove i spanked her to emphasize that she must. never. do that. I felt that just saying "no" would not be enough of a deterrent.



My daughter knows that she is loved completely. An occasional spanking or hollering is not going to hurt her, and i tell her why mommy spanked her tush or shouted at her so she can associate her action with my reaction. Sometimes you need the extra attention-getter.

Elisabeth - posted on 02/14/2010

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Spanking should be used as a consequence, and if you have clear rules and expectations that are enforced consistently spanking shouldn't have to be done frequently.

When I was a child and disobeyed, my mom or dad would send me to my room while they got the wooden spoon. They would come in tell what I had done and why it was wrong. They would tell me that I was getting spanking because of what I had done wrong (as a consequence), and then they would swat my bottom two or three times. Then they would tell me what behavior they expected of me and how much they loved me. I am very thankful that my parents spanked me, because their loving discipline has proven how much they care for me. Now I wasn't spanked often, but I was when I needed it.

We don't spank our daughter yet, but she's only ten months old. I do give her little swats when she is obviously being disobedient. I always tell her what I expect her to be doing. Receptive language develops before expressive language, so children understand more than they are able to communicate.

Proverbs 22:6 says "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." My husband and I take this very seriously. We believe we are held accountable before God on how we teach our children, so it's very important to provide for her in every way that is needed - including discipline.

I would ask everyone here to please lovingly discipline their children. Don't leave it up to daycare or schools. It is your job to do, and if you don't do it when your children are young, you won't be able to do it when they are older. Right now we have a lot of authority over our children, but very little influence. As our children grow influence will increase and authority will decrease. If you use your authority appropriately now to train up your children, you will be able to influence them when they are older in order to help them make good decisions on their own - independently.

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Anything that puts your child down is mental or emotional child abuse. A swat on the BUTT (not face or head especially) never hurt any child as long as it is not done repeatedly and when it truly hurts the child physically. Emotional abuse is ALSO when the child sees the PARENT being abused. They feel helpless and hopeless with so many emotions they cannot deal with. Some of the spankings I got hurt, but I KNEW I was doing something wrong when I did it (or was too young to know what I was doing was wrong. It IS a HUGE topic but if you love your child, you want them to follow the Golden Rule of Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That would probably be the best rule for when WE are punishing them or when they don't realize they are in danger from something. I sometimes think mental or emotional abuse hurts MUCH worse than physical abuse unless that physical abuse leaves permanent marks and is done repeatedly. Like others have said, you WILL know it when you see it and also whe or if you do it. Any mother who stays in a relationship or marriage when her children are being the brunt or EITHER physical or emotional abuse does not deserve to keep and raise that child. There are WAY too many places to turn for help now. You DO NOT have to stay with the abuser! LOUISE

Bonnie - posted on 02/14/2010

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Coming from a person who was abused as a child I can honestly say that the difference between discepline and abuse is a fine line. My personal feeling is that anything that is used to damage a childs self esteem and not to teach whether it be physical, mental, verbal or otherwise is abuse. Our children are grown now but as they were growing we did spank on the bottom occasionaly but it was always meant for correction and done only after other forms of correction ie: timeouts ect. had been used.

Joan - posted on 02/14/2010

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i agree it depends on what state you live in. in ma i was found guilty of emotional child abuse because i used to send my 13 yr old nephew to his room for the day. mind you the day started after school was out. he did not loose his belongings the only thing he lost was his ability to socialize with friends. he came up to eat dinner, he was allowed to get snacks if hungry, also to go to the bathroom when nec. etc..the only thing he could not do was socialize but at that time that was what he valued most. in ma you don't have the right to discipline your children. we were told by social services that if we got into arguments with him we were to leave the house because we could not send him to his room. if we were to tell him to go to his room and he would not go we were told that if we took him by the arm and led him that would also be abuse. yet the court system wants you to maintain control over your children ha!!

Melissa - posted on 02/14/2010

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I was told by a Dr. when my oldest was a toddler that if you spank them and it left a mark or would welt up then it would be considered abuse.

Brandi - posted on 02/14/2010

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THis is def. a tough subject. My views are this. I will/have never called my daughter names....that i believe is verbally abusive. She gets yelled at once in awhile though. She gets time outs...and if those dont work I do spank her when shes being bad....not listening after repeated talks...trying to play with a plug....when she pees her pants on purpose cause shes mad (shes 3 and going through a tough phase right now)



Yeah she flinches when I go to spank her...cause she knows she was being bad and is gonna get it. But when shes being good she never flinches at me. We sit there and wrestle/rough house...she knows i love her no matter what. And I always make sure I am calm when I spank her. Then take her aside after and have a nice long talk with her. She knows I get no pleasure from it. In fact most times it makes me feel like crying.



I am always aware of my anger levels when i discipline her. LIke just yesterday she sees me drinking a hot cup of coffee (knows what it is and everything....knows to be careful when i have a cup) ...so she decideds to smash into my side....throwing piping hot coffee all over me. It burned so bad my skin was red going over my stomach and on my legs. I refused to even say a word to her for the next 10 mins because I was so mad. Luckyily my bf was there and stepped in. Yep. she got a spanking for that one. But it showed her more when i wasnt talking to her to let her know what she did.



Spankings dont always work. I admit that...but also with my daughter I hav e noticed you have to change up how shes disciplined. Spankings work wonders one day....the next it could be time out...the next it could be taking away all of her toys. Its always a learnign process. But you will never catch me hesitating to discipline my daughter in any way i deem fit wherever i am. I would rather have a respectful. well behaved child than have her throwing tantrums running around like crazy...and being out of control.



I was spanked as a child. TO the point my mother broke wooden spoons on the backs of me and my sisters. Thats a bit much. But we grew up fine. As for my kid and any more I may have. If they act out they darn well better know a swat on the butt with my hand may be on the menu if they dont shape up quick

Tabetha - posted on 02/14/2010

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I was going to write my own response to this, but I agree with Krista %100. I would also add, that if you are protecting your child/children from EVERYTHING that hurts them, you are also abusive. Children need to learn that consequences will follow their actions. My 3 year old son used to LOVE climbing on the back of our kitchen chairs....instead of bolting the chairs to the floor, the chair tipped over on him, and gave him a bloody lip. Guess who doesn't climb on the chairs anymore.....

Cindy - posted on 02/13/2010

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I believe that spanking for the most part should happen on the bottom, although there are a few exceptions. 1 is sometimes a swat on the hand is appropriate if it is the hand that is causing the problem. I have also administered a swat to my son's foot a couple of times when he's using his foot to push the table away from him while in his booster seat. He pushes the table and makes a general mess by spilling his & others food/drinks, etc. If he won't stop by being told, then a swat is administered. He still wears diapers so swats do not hurt him, however he does not like the "feeling" or the sound.



I can now effectively say, "Stephen, come back here or you will get a spanking" and 9 times out of 10 he will come back (he's just over 2). Sometimes he still keeps running off, then he gets a swat.



1. I tell him to come back or he will get a swat (something he doesn't like)

2. If he comes back I praise him for obeying

3. If he doesn't come back I catch him & give him a swat (follow through)

4. The next time I say "come back" he will most likely come back (and not be at risk of getting run over, etc.)

Diana - posted on 02/13/2010

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Unfortunately, most abuse is a cycle - if you were abused, you abuse. It takes strength to break free - but it can be done. Ask for help - friends' help, God's help - or just look for strength within. I raised 2 wonderful kids, but there were times when I wanted to..... well, you know --- they can push you to your wit's end! But our job is to mold them into healthy adults. Spank when necessary. Discipline is important. But control is easily just important. As we set limits for our children, so must we live within limits for their discipline.

Elienia - posted on 02/13/2010

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Abuse is something that if continued can have a permanently negative affect on a person. abuse is doing someting excessivley and extremely. spanking is not abuse it is just a spanking. beating with intent to harm is abuse. you can be angry and still give a construct spanking but you have to know how to control yourself and you have to respect right from wrong. it is wrong to hurt your child in anyway but they need to know their are consiquences for their risky behavior. defenitly a grey area but parents please use common sense, do unto others as you want done to you. god is watching u, so what would god say about what u are doing?

Diana - posted on 02/13/2010

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If you hit a child in anger, you are potentially abusing that child. If you feel guilty later, you have abused your child. If you've made your child feel bad about himself, you are guilty of child abuse. But abusing a child once does not make you a child abuser. All parents make mistakes. But when your mistakes become habit - or become a way of life, then it's time to get help. Your child loves you unconditionally and your child deserves unconditional love in return. As parents, we must discipline children - that's the only way they can grow up to be good adults - but we need the self discipline to make the RIGHT discipline choices.

Yvette - posted on 02/12/2010

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I have been reading some of the posts on this subject and I have to clarify the difference between administering a "spanking" and "assalt" and "abuse". It sounds very lofty to "talk to the child" and "explain" and "if you are sweet enough and gentle enough" there is never a need for corporal discipline. After raising three adult children, that is simply unrealistic. Children all have different temperments and personalities. Some are just naturally more compliant than others. Actually the down-side of that quality is they can be easily led and need a lot of supervision. Then there are those who are more curious, more determined, and some just outright want their own way about everything. None of these temperments are "better" than the others. Some are easier on parents but they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Virtually all children, at some point in their lives, will test the limits and boundaries that the authority figure has established. Some will be corrected by a firm look from a parent or a verbal, not screaming mind you, "No." Most will test what will happen when that limit is breached. It is inborn in a child to want to go their own way. It is part of being a human being. The goal is to teach the child over the course of their childhood to have self-control. A child must be taught to obey those in authority. When they do not obey, there should be appropriate consequences, consistently administered by a
parent who has self-control. This has nothing whatever to do with being angry or venting your frustrations on the chiild. Clearly that is WRONG. Not the same thing at all. It has nothing to do with teaching a child how to treat others. Of course, they do not hit others. Discipline is not "hitting the child" like one child would do to another out of anger. Discipline should be for willful disobedience, when the child clearly knows they have disobeyed. Even a little one who is old enough to be pulling up on tables and getting into things like TVs and electronics can be taught, although it does take work, to respond to "No". When "No" is not obeyed, a light tap on the hand is not the same as hitting in anger because you didn't get your way. If parents don't teach and train their children to obey those in authority, actually THAT is child abuse. Our world can't function where people don't understand authority and obedience. As children get older, there are other aspects to authority that they also need to be taught, like how and when to make an appeal to the authority. These concepts are all but lost in our culture. Granted, many in authority are corrupt. That is a whole other subject. The fact remains that regardless of the misunderstanding and abuses of some, the principles of teaching children to obey their authorities is still right. Just as it is for the parents to take seriously their responsibility to teach and train. Our children, while they are precious to us and do bring great joy and fulfillment, are not primarily here to make us feel good. They are not PETS. They are little human beings that will grow into adults and take on adult responsibilities. The parent who truly loves their chldren with the right love will recognize this and want to do all they can to help mold their little ones character for good.

Tiffany - posted on 02/12/2010

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In the abuse topic, I would like to know is it ok to swat a child's mouth? I do not think it is ok. I personaly think swatting a child's mouth is abuse. I would rather put a child in time out or some non physical discipline if they have said a cuss word or whatever it was that was caused to have discipline. I do agree with everyone that when it comes to swatting the bum it is abuse if used out of anger or used too much. The name calling to belittle a child is also abuse as well.

Amber - posted on 02/12/2010

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Where there are different opinions there will be misunderstandings and even worse! But the very definition of "ABUSE" is entirely different then the definition of "DISCIPLINE". Also, discipline can mean any form of behavior correction boh physical and/or mental. I believe that when you teach your children the right and wrongs of life you are helping them to be able to live as fully functioning adults with moral and ethical values, what could possibly be wrong with that? When my little girl misbehaves (she's 6 so usually it involves arguing or disobeying) she knows that something that she won't like will happen as a result. Anything from no tv, to no friends, to going to her room, to a spanking occur and most of the time, she chooses, on her own, because of the discipline, to go with the correct and good behavior. Then afterwards she tells me that she knows it's right, which shows me that they can learn but only when they don't want the discipline that comes when they "choose" wrongly! You cannot reason with a child who can't think past the cookie and not care about ruining dinner, or the screaming in the grocery store because you said "no" to candy! Hitting and spanking are two totally different things, and I hate to use this often misused phrase, but God said "spare the rod,spoil the child",He did not say spare the hand spoil the child and there was a reason for that. My kids are not afraid of me or my hand but when I mention getting a spanking they both straighten up and start listening to me. That is not abuse of any kind and it hurts when people mention that in the same meaning and same sentence. If you don't understand the difference then maybe you shouldn't discipline, but discipline is and always has been good for anyone. This country as a whole has completely left off discipline for both children and adults, accountability has gone down to zero,and now we have shootings in schools and adults who can and do,get away with doing whatever they want to whomever! I love my kids dearly and spanking is not an easy thing to do especially consistantly, but the results are two loving kids who not only obey, but know the difference between right and wrong. If my 3 year old can know and choose rightly even when I'm not there, how is this a "bad " thing? I am very proud of my kids as well as my husband and myself for every good choice we've all made. It hasn't been easy, no parenting is, but discipline is not abuse, no matter what anyone says!

Karen - posted on 02/12/2010

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If you look up abuse in the dictionary it means to use incorrectly. Children are not here to be spoken to nastily, to be put down , belittled or chastised. They are here to be loved nutured and taught how to live life in a productive way. They are not here to be belted, hit kicked or punched, they are to to be shown love ...hugs kisses and smiles. Of course this is all in a perfect world and sometimes a quick smack on the bottom goes further in a few seconds than a few minutes of controlled reasoning when the child is misbehaving. I think the thing to remember is it must be the behaviour that is punished and not the child and child abuse is when the child is left feeling bad about themselves or frightened of being hit. I think most parents know when they have gone too far ...... it's when you are left feeling bad about the way you have treated the precious person that you have bought into the world.

Karen - posted on 02/12/2010

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I totally agree with SHARON..Her answer is short and makes perfect sense. There's no beating around the bush, parenting doesn't come with instructions, all children are diff so they all learn differently same as parents but as long as the parent does it with and for love and in the end your child feels the love and reason then it's NOT child abuse it's DISCIPLINE..Without it most of us wouldn't know what's wrong and right nor would we learn the consequences as adults ;-D

Deanna - posted on 02/11/2010

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THIS IS ABUSE!!!!







Please comment and go out and help stop abuse... THANKS God Bless

Sonya - posted on 02/11/2010

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some people are not meant to be parents but become on anyway. If we were to do how our grandparents did in raising our children there wouldn't be any abuse.

Sonya - posted on 02/11/2010

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abuse is a touchy subject as of a lot of things. we do things that we are sorry for and regret in the end. I think that we all are abused and abusive. That the human way well tahts what i us to think. My life has been like a dirt road when it get wet all slippery and hard to stay straight in the middle. We all have a wet dirt road in our life and i think we have been abused on that road.

Camie - posted on 02/10/2010

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You don't have to "belt (your) child to the point that she is screaming" to leave an emotional scar. Abuse is not just "hitting them hard enough that they are marked." The danger here is that adults can have different views about what is 'light'. What is 'light' to an adult might not be 'light' to a child. It can hurt the child alot and still not leave a mark.

When we remind ourselves that it is against the law to hit or hurt an adult (it is assault) - why can it be okay to do the same to a child who is smaller and vulnerable? It helps to put yourself in your child's shoes, and think about what it would feel like. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself:
• "Would I like someone to do this to me?"
• "Will what I'm doing really make a difference to the behavior?"
• "Am I letting go of my own frustrations on my child?"
• What am I teaching my child? (that it is OK to hit when someone is angry
and bigger & stronger than you are?)

According to some research there are not likely to be long-term effects for a child who lives in a loving home where there is an occasional outburst or an occasional light smack. Again, the danger is that adults can have different views about what is 'light'.

Abuse also includes emotional and psychological abuse as well as neglect.

Remember, children learn what they live!

Samantha - posted on 02/10/2010

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my daughter is 8 months old, when she pinches slaps or i have to tell her "no" too many times i give her a little smack on the hand. does that make me a bad mother? in my eyes no it doesnt. i dont belt my child to point that she is screaming, i give her a little tap to let her know what she is doing is not good. i dont want her getting to a year old and thinking she can go around smacking people and that it is ok to.



abusing a child to me is hitting them hard enough that they are marked, whether they have a red mark were the child has been hit or a bruise, when a child wont even go near the parent on a regular bases i do believe they are being abused, for a new born abuse is when you leave them screaming for a certain amount of time, they go red in the face and start hyperventilating... i think it is disgusting more than anything that someone could allow their child to scream for so long. working in a supermarket you get to see all views of parents that are out there and where i worked i do belive 40% of those parents should never have been able to reproduce.

Camie - posted on 02/10/2010

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Re: Spanking. What do you think you are teaching your child when you hit them? You are teaching them that it is OK to hurt someone when you are mad. You are teaching them that if you are bigger you have the right to hurt them. And then you tell them not to hit their friends? What kind of a mixed message are you sending?

Camie - posted on 02/10/2010

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Anything that tears a child down on a regular basis is abusive. If you are always criticizing, calling names, putting down, complaining about, yelling at your child/children--- that really affects who they are for life. It is abusive behavior, and frankly doesn't work very well for compliance. If you want your child to mind you, then build them up, spend time with them, and have Fair and Age Appropriate consequences consistently. It will also build trust so that when they are older you will have a strong and healthy relationship that both of you can rely on!

[deleted account]

I don't do anything to my children that I would not do to my best friend. Respect, integrity and generosity of spirit. The fact that they're small than I am does not make them any less intelligent. The challenge always is: can I decipher what they're saying?



If we invested time in listening to our children and not just to hearing the noises they make, we would respond differently.



Personally? Just because my children are 'mine' does not give me the 'right' to assault them. If I did that to you, you'd report me to the police. (And yes, in my world, that includes 'spanking' (which is slapping a child), yanking, dragging, screaming/yelling, etc. I guess that means we have to be much more creative - in ourselves and with our children.

Lindsey - posted on 02/10/2010

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Then why does the court state that because there was no bruises from the belt hitting the 5 yr old little girl who has been through documented abuse in the past.. the court says that they cant do a thing because there were no marks on her when they assessed her three days later??? UUUHHH, I wish there was something I could do...

Lindsey - posted on 02/10/2010

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Yes it is very sad, as one of these children is my stepdaughter. I have raised a very well behaved, loving 7 year old and three families are fighting for these children and the courts do absolutely nothing..I am sooo very upset about this..

Michelle - posted on 02/10/2010

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I think abuse is anything that puts fear and doubt about their physical safety into a child's mind. For example, I know a woman who tells her 6 year old "you will see when we get home" when she is mad at her, then watches for a reaction. If her little girl starts crying, she just nods her head like yeah, that's what I'm talking about, uses a harsh voice and pretends to ignores her pleas. Its so uncomfortable to watch this interaction. I don't know if she follows through or not, but I think it gives mixed signals to the little girl and teaches her to create drama. I see the 6 year old starting to act out at school, lying, and throwing fits out of frustration.

Trina - posted on 02/09/2010

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..Ok the problem I see with spanking is that people do it "because they were spanked and they turned out just fine." My husband used to use that same argument, before we changed our parenting techniques. Now granted I have been raising a physically handicapped and developmentally delayed child all these years, but the defining moment for me was realizing that there are other ways to parent than spanking. Would you believe how many people think that is all you have to do to get a child to behave?



I have had so many years to think about this. I studied it, I read everything I could get my hands on, and my husband and I discussed every facet of it. In the end we decided that we don't think spanking teaches a lesson any better than not spanking. In fact, we looked back to when we were young and we realized that we focused on being angry when we were spanked. We learned how to fear our parents. I don't want for my kids to fear me. I would like to have loving and open relationships with them as they grow up.



I am not saying that people should let their kids run wild. Kids need firm boundaries and directions. We give those without spankings, because that is what works in our house. It isn't always easy. Most of the time it takes a lot of repetition, effort, and getting down on their level. It is so worth it though, because I can honestly say I have one of the most compassionate children ever. He understands that people have feelings, he verbalizes how he feels, and he is able to explain why things bother him. He is open and caring. He is very well behaved. So we try to never spank. I wont' say we have never done it, but we certainly don't think it is the only way to parent our kids.

All parents make mistakes & edited to add that spanking was ours :(

Jennifer - posted on 02/09/2010

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Spanking seems to be a touchy subject in this discussion. From my experience, spanking, when used properly, can be effective. My mother only had to spank my brothers and I for something we did wrong, once. My father was different. He would spank us for things that didn't necessarily warrant a spanking. I have spanked my daughter but I only pop her behind once and it is a light "pop". I never do it out of anger. It is always out of fear that she is about to hurt herself or do something that she shouldn't do. She also gets time outs. Like others have said, the idea is to show the child that bad behavior has certain consequences. The goal is to help the child learn to not repeat the bad behavior. It is also important to reward good behavior. I don't think that you should have to give the child material things as a reward all the time. With my daughter, I tell her what a good, smart girl she is when she does something good and that has a positive effect on her.

Amber - posted on 02/09/2010

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Thank you Brenda for your comments ( you to Gaone!) My lawyer has already prepared me for the possibility that the trial will go into the whole discipline thing since I do believe in spanking and have told my clients in the past that I do spank my kids. However I spank MY kids and do not feel it my job (or smart!) to do so to other kids who aren't mine and told the parents that the only discipline would be "timeout" or a call to the parents to handle the matter. I was trying to avoid the exact situation that I am in right now! The parents of the child I am on trial for right now, are claiming that I slapped her on the face (the mark is on her right cheek/side of face). Which, since the way I was brought up and believe in spanking, does not include slapping or hitting a child on the face with my hand! In fact the detective investigating it all only talked to me for about 10 minutes and never spoke to me again. He had already made his conclusion based on what the parents told him, and that is what I was indicted on, no evidence what-so-ever. Thanks for the prayers, God has told me to wait on Him and I am doing that although it's pretty hard! I come from a very good ver up-standing church-based faith and family with no history of abuse at all, this has all been a great shock to me and my family! They and my husband are all supporting me though, that judge will be surprised at how many people are planning on attending that trial!!! LOL Love and prayers, Amber

Gaone - posted on 02/09/2010

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that`s so touchy but why wudn`t anyone believe you, i maen the concerned parents? do you have any history of some sort related to abuse? if not then i wonder if his parenrts do not have anything against you, well just a thought. it is a tight situation my friend, i wish you could say there are surveillence footage to prove your innocense. so we jus keep praying that God will pull you through. let us have faith in him. Good luck my dear!

Brenda - posted on 02/09/2010

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Amber, I didn't read your comments until I had posted my info. I am so sorry for your experience. Many parent are afraid to get into trouble for disciplining their children in public for fear of someone reporting them as an abusive parent for spanking. I can see why you are in this situation. Our society has gone to the extreme in some cases of removing children from the homes for parents merely disciplining their children while spanking appropriately. Our country is quite inappropriate now in recognizing what good discipline is. Discipline is correction, not abusive punishment. Discipline is for the good of the child. Good discipline shows good love. I'm sorry for your trouble in this area. Is there someone who is versed in good discipline that can help you? Seek out such a person either in your local church or school. Brenda

Brenda - posted on 02/09/2010

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That is a very good question. Child abuse is not discipline. A lack of discipline could even be abusive as in neglect. I am a counselor and know the difference in discipline and abuse. Abusive parents do not care about disciplining their children, they hurt them because of their own issues as a person. Disciplining in a harsh manner without an intention to correct wrong doing on the part of the child, or disciplining while the parent is angry can turn into abuse. Spanking is spoken of in the Bible for the use of correcting behavior problems in children, but is never to be done while a parent is angry. Spanking is to be done in a controlled manner. Abuse is done with an intent to harm a child, not correct behavior. There are many forms of abuse, emotional, physical, sexual, and even neglect is as form of abuse. Neglect takes the form of physical, not feeding a child, emotional not connecting with the child's emotional needs, even intellectual, training and teaching a child. There is much to say about this very important topic, but this is enough for now. Brenda

Amber - posted on 02/09/2010

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As a mother of 2 kids (ages 6 and 3) I babysat in my home for alomst a year to supplement our income. I ran across a variety of kids and parents and honestly the ones that I had the harder time watching were the ones whose parents did not belive in discipline of any kind! They didn't know the meaning of the word "no" and knew they could do whatever they wanted to without repercussion. Those kids were also the ones who were physical with the other children, yelled at me and everyone else, threw horrible temper tantrums (even breaking things and kicking holes in doors and walls!), and were very hard to control at all. After all of that I have now found myself on trial for child abuse after a child fell in my home (while learning to walk at age 15 mths) and scratched her face up. I face up to 7 years in prison if convicted as well as 2 felonies. The plea that I was offered by the state included probation and up to 30 days in prison as well as anger management and parenting classes. This doesn't seem fair at all! I really believe that "child abuse" is too general a term and want the authorities to start to take a look at what that really means. I did not even touch that child (in fact was fixing lunch for all the kids in the other room at the time) and yet I now find myself on trial! It has been very traumatic for my own 2 kids not to mention my family! My 6 year old just came to me recently, crying, because she didn't want me to go to jail! God is getting us through this process, but this topic is now, a very personal one to me!

Gaone - posted on 02/09/2010

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that is is child abuse lindsey, even the blind can see that! how does a mum spend time at the bar than with her kids? so she and her boyfriend are addicts and the kids suffer both physical, emotinal,psycological abuse. the cuort shud just grant the relatives the chance to save the kids from all this. this is a sad situation........

Jessie - posted on 02/09/2010

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I think that a spanking isn't abusive as long as you are doing it for the right reasons and are trying to keep them safe. Yelling, and name calling is verbal abuse and I don't htink there is any way around it. You should never yell at you child, rasing your voice and maybe getting a little frustrated and upset, but not irate and yelling. As far as hitting, if a person hits a child for no reason, out of anger, or to hurt them, it's abuse.

Lindsey - posted on 02/09/2010

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Please let me know if you think this is abuse. A 5 yr old child gets wacked with the hard part of a belt by her moms boyfriend. Drug parafanalia was found in the home. She does not work but has to hire a manny to care for her kids because she is always at the bar and not with her child. Refuses to let her children see their dads. She has had them removed from her care at least 3 times and also signed them away for almost a year. So far in court we are not getting anywhere and it makes me sick. Because kindergarten is not required in NH, the 20+ days that she has been absent should at least show instability;( Any reccomendations. There are three of the five families (of her kids) that are fighting for these kids to be removed from this womans care...

Angela - posted on 02/07/2010

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It is sad that you and your friends family had to go threw that. I know that I would not be understanding about that. I beleve your children shouldn't be able to be taken away from you without just cause. Social Services should come to your house and investigate first. If they think there is abuse take them to the doc to confirm.



I do believe in spankings if needed. Not to be used all the time. Kids need to be taught right and wrong. That's what the parents are there for. They also need love and understanding. Different age groups get different punishments, depending on what was done wrong. I dont beleive name calling is called for. If they need to be spanked then it should be on the bottom or a swat on the hand for little ones who are getting into stuff that could be harmful to them. They should not be hit anywhere else. If you are upset or angery then you should cool off before you give the punishment or let you spouse be the one to give the spanking so it's given when needed.



I am not an expert by no means. I believe it is up to each set of parents to decide how to raise the children they brought into this world. And let me just say that if some stranger came up to me and tried to tell me how I should be treating my children I wouldn't like it one bit! That stranger does not know what has been going on that day with your child for him/her to be getting into trouble. Now with that being said: if you see a child being abused and you know for sure without a shadow of a doubt that it is abuse then you need to contact the appropreate people.

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