What *IS* child abuse??

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




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. :)

This conversation has been closed to further comments


View replies by

Krista - posted on 01/26/2010




Mmm...that's when we get into a fuzzier version of the gray area, Barbara. One person's "insane screaming banshee of a child" might be another person's "adorably exuberant little moppet". I do agree that parents do their child a disservice when they don't teach them basic social skills, but I also think that parents do their child a disservice if they don't bring them anywhere outside of their own community, don't teach them street smarts, and don't teach them money management skills. But abusive? No. That's taking it too far.

Kylie - posted on 01/26/2010




abuse is any action verbal or physical that is used to harm or break down a child.

You don't have to leave a mark to be abusive. Words can be just as abusive as a belt.

I personally think smacking a baby (1 yr and under) is abuse. Calling your child useless or pathetic is also an abuse of power.

If only humans had to pass a common sense exam to obtain a license to breed. *sigh* It's a sad topic:(

Barbara - posted on 01/26/2010




I agree with Krista, plus, I think its abusive to allow your children to run around, wrec havoc, intrude on other people's privacy, in other words its abusive not to teach your children how to behave respectfully and appropriately in public.

Tah - posted on 01/26/2010




i believe in spanking, not beating,,,spare the rod spoil the child, now am i using a rod no....am i going around punching burning and kicking no..but a butt swat earned is earned...now in va if you inflict bodily or mental injury that is abuse if not done by accidents. my parents spanked us and we are all productive well adjusted members of society..nurses, accountants, and a biology/premed major..so i don't think spanking causes children to be violent or not able to adjust..i do believe that abuse does these things...

Krista - posted on 01/26/2010




And like Sharon said, the intent behind it makes a difference. Kids are good at reading body language and tone. And they know when someone's teasing them vs. when someone is belittling them.

Abbie - posted on 01/26/2010




I do not think that name calling is appropriate, I think its a form of emotional abuse. Also with screaming consistantly. Physical abuse is a repeated thing over and over. I do believe that if my child acts out of line and will put themself in harms way, yes I will give them a swat. I think that sometimes phycial pain ( that is short lived) will go a long way. With that being said, the worst I have ever done is swat my sons hand, probably a total of 8 times. I also think that if someone intentionally with holds something that is considered a basic need, that is also considered abuse.

Yes I was accused about 15 months ago by some chick on here that I abused my son. She proceeded to tell me that people like me should never have kids. With that being said, no I don't abuse my child. Quite the opposite, I encourage exploration safely but also have guidelines on how to raise our child.

Kate CP - posted on 01/26/2010




Krista, I think I feel the same way as you do. Like, to me, using a tool of some sort (like a spoon or a belt) to swat a child is abusive. I also think any kind of name calling is abusive. Now, I admit, I'll holler at my daughter occasionally, but never enough to make her cower in fear. But you're right...there really is a gray area to this subject.

Sharon - posted on 01/26/2010




If you find yourself happy or satisfied that you've caused pain - you're abusing your child.

if you hit your child repeatedly without a goal or intention in mind and are just working out your anger - you're abusing your child,

Iridescent - posted on 01/26/2010




According to the state of Minnesota (it varies by state and country) it is abuse if you spank before the age of 3, after it's age appropriate (approx teens), more than 1 swat open-handed on the bottom per year of age. Anywhere else, closed hand, any more, is abuse.

Yelling is abuse in my opinion if the purpose is to demean the child rather than vent frustration, play, or teach. Calling names is abuse if they are demeaning or intended to cripple the child emotionally.

It's also abuse to segregate (stand in a corner, lock in a room) a child for more than 1 minute per year of age.

I was extremely abused as a child, and I can feel the anger that causes it when I'm frustrated, no doubt, but I am fully able to control it. There are certainly times I've asked for help or time away to calm down. Everyone has a breaking point.

I was accused of abuse and social services and a police officer came to my house when my oldest was almost 2 years old. They said I was starving him and neglecting him. When they came over, they saw I was certainly anything but. Yes, he was starving, but thankfully I had proof of his failure to thrive and many other issues that were later diagnosed as moderate/severe autism. Social services apologized and has treated me with much more respect since.

My step-children were also abused, as were 2 of their siblings. All 4 were neglected. One of their siblings was shaken so hard she's mentally retarded and needed multiple surgeries to survive, but she did survive. Unfortunately, this didn't occur at the same time, the state just continued allowing the mother to keep her children (mother is always best, huh?) and hurting them. So now the twins have damage, some permanent, from their neglect and starvation.

In another view, I have told doctors to simply leave my daughter alone and stop touching her, too, because I considered what they were doing to be abuse. After 30 pokes to attempt to draw blood at 6am, attempted replacement IV 30 more times by noon, another 30 in the evening for more blood, for a week, she was done. She was 8 months old! I told them they were not allowed to touch her again until she could handle it, and if they needed something urgently they could put her under sedation and place a PIC line. We ended up getting an IVAD as it was a continuing problem (vascular port). Doctors and nurses also need to be reminded that they are doing a job, but quality of life sometimes has more value than length.

Krista - posted on 01/26/2010




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.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms