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Is this Child Abuse or Discipline?

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You are walking down the produce aisle of your local supermarket, when you see an eight-year-old girl reach up and grab an orange. Subsequently thirty seven oranges cascade onto the floor, and the girl's mother smacks her. What should you do? Do you advise the mother not to strike her child? If she rejects your advice do you restrain her? Call the police? Or do you instead ignore it as a family squabble and as none of your business?

Now let me change one detail. The girl was not that woman's daughter. Does your answer change? Do parents have the right to abuse their children because they own them? In the past, husbands had the right to marital chastisement. This immunity has been removed in every state and husbands no longer have the right to beat their wives. Why then do we still allow parental chastisement?

Comments

ldvander 4 years, 3 months ago

You parents are so strange. sfjayhawk, you threaten violence with violence. You compare your wife to rambo. This does not seem rational. Does a rational person go rambo in our safety-net society? Do you want someone to strike your child so you can finally defend your family from physical harm showing the pack who the dominant male really is? Keep your kids sheltered, home school and save the rest of us from your incredible rage in the event some unknown unseen bad guy walks up out of nowhere and slaps your kid on the face. I mean, I don't have kids but is this abuse you talk of soo rampant? Maybe I don't pay attention when i'm at Wal-Mart but I don't remember seeing abuse taking place in the aisles there. Seems the question posed in the blog is stirring up violent emotions in what we may deem "Good" parents.

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ldvander 4 years, 3 months ago

Marion and Consumer1, you guys are so tough. Make sure you post when you put someone down or leg sweep someone for spanking their kid. The problem underneath it all is over-population, uncontrolled breeding habits. Idiots get pregnant/get someone pregnant and think they can raise the little "Miracle" that will become a burden and commit crime. Have an abortion, vasectomy, planB, the pill. Women want to conceive because it is a primal urge. Men want to put their seed into as many women as possible, primal urge. Does not mean this is right or good for our society or planet.

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blackfox 4 years, 3 months ago

When you say "smack" Is it on the butt or where exactly? This makes a difference to the first part. If its not your kid, then I have to say it was wrong for someone else to take action. Go find the parents and yell at them for poor parenting.

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Amfortas 4 years, 3 months ago

Just a note: I tire of people who say anyone with "a lick of sense" should believe the way they do. You have to justify your argument with evidence or valid reasoning. That is the only "obvious" thing.

I assume the question is 'why is corporal punishment ever right?' Using violence to teach a child responsibility is a contradiction. Striking a child in any way/place is a tacit admission of parental incompetence, above all when the child's act is an accident. Spanking the bottom is also mindless and cruel because it humiliates the child and shows her you don't believe she has the capacity to understand reason, which insults and teaches her only that her parent is stupid. Part of a parent's job is to monitor the influences on the child, whether TV or friends, so slapping to counter that is hypocritical and mindless. I was belted for bed-wetting, itself stemming from the misery my divorcing parents were putting me through. I haven't seen them since '84 and don't care whether they are alive or dead. Abuse your children at your peril!

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autie 4 years, 3 months ago

i don thank is rite neither cuz childs is inosent an if them parents droved off,drunk,hi en theescort but we cant talkboutit hear.

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oneforall 4 years, 3 months ago

I TURN MY SON EX IN TO SRS IN LAWRENCE,TOPEKA,LIBERTY MO.ABOUT THE EX LOCKING MY GRANDDAUGHTER IN THE BEDROOM,MOM ON DRUG,DRINK.THE EX LIVE WITH HER PARENTS THEY FIGHT IN FRONT OF THE LITTLE GIRL.THAT ABUSE!YOU DO NOT ABUSE A CHILDREN!&KNOWONE WILL HELP HER.

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M. Lindeman 4 years, 3 months ago

whatthehell (Anonymous) says…

Am I the only one that thinks a slap in the face crosses the line from punishement to abuse and is not at all the same as a spanking?

rdragon write:

I agree with you on face slap, that is what the back side is for.

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M. Lindeman 4 years, 3 months ago

justbegintowrite (Ronda Miller) says…

There is never a time when stiking a child, yours or anyone eles's is appropriate - regardless if how many times the child repeated an undesirable action. Perhaps that child has ADD, or autism, or poor impulse control (rather like the parent who hits). There are ALWAYS other options to striking.

How about having the child assist in picking up the spill with the comment, “this is why we don't touch”

A reward directed to the child to behave is nice, telling them you'll leave the store and then following through is another effective method. Humor works well too. If I were a bystander witnessing such an event, I would assist in clean up, catch the child's gaze and smile at both parent and child making a comment about how knocking things over happens to me sometimes too and boy don't our children grow up too quickly.

That same person may just be treated negatively by that child fifty years down the road.

rdragon writes:

Do you even have any children? I am just asking because people who don't have children, generally make those comments.

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Marion Lynn 4 years, 3 months ago

YOUNGCSI:

"disipline" does not mean beating children.

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Monica Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

I actually think the answer to this question would be more clearly defined by asking another question. What was the child's reaction when the mother raised her hand to strike her? The child's reaction, becuase it's instinct and reflex, is impossible to filter. How the child "flinched" or didn't flench, cried or didn't, covered her face or didn't, ducked or didn't. . .get my point? Abuse is not generally something that happens just once. I grew up in an abusive home, and trust and believe, it was almost a daily occurence. Not something that was occassional. Discipline is not something chlidren are scared of or walk on egg shells because of. . .So, without knowing what the child's first reaction was to this, I can't answer this question accurately.

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Marion Lynn 4 years, 3 months ago

In my book, you strike a child, unless that child is trying to put a finger in a flame, you go down.

Period.

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Bob Kraxner 4 years, 3 months ago

I cannot believe what I'm reading here! Anyone with a lick of sense knows that the reason for the high juvenile crime rate in this nation is due to the fact that the youth of today and the last 20 years are seriously lacking respect for their parents and elders. It isn't quite so obvious in a small town like Lawrence, as it is in bigger towns. This is mainly due to the fact that many more children have been raised in single-parent households in recent decades. Combine that with all the ridiculous programming that is shown on TV these days... it shouldn't be surprising to anyone that respect for authority is long gone. One fine example is the way that so many proffesional athletes behave while on the field/court. Taunting of the opponent, and arguing with the officials has absolutely NO PLACE in sports, at any level, and should be met head on with very serious retributions. Children learn far more from watching the behavior of the people they look up to, and how it is dealt with... than they will ever learn from their educators. Take away discipline, or the fear of it, from youth and you get exactly what we are living with today... a world that's headed down the tubes faster than ever before.

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porch_person 4 years, 3 months ago

I don't believe you can strike a child, period.

What is illegal to do to adults (battery) is certainly illegal to do to children.

And artichokeheart, I feel for you if what you've posted here is true.

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Jersey_Girl 4 years, 3 months ago

Gardenmomma - not an oxymoron. Perhaps ironic. An oxymoron is a rhetorical device in which two seemingly contradictory words are used together for effect: “She is just a poor little rich girl.”

I don't have children so my opinion probably isn't valid to some of you, however I was once a child, so I do feel my opinion is valid. I don't think spanking is child abuse and in the example given here where the child is "struck" for grabbing an orange all depends on the definition of "struck". If her mother lightly hit her hand or her bottom, then no. If she hit her elsewhere with any force, than probably it borders on abuse. If the intention of the "strike" is to inflict pain, then yes. If the intention is to get the child's attention, then no. My mother spanked me on the bottom with an open hand as a child and I never felt abused. However, when I became too big for spanking, she took to slapping me across the face and that was going to far, especially when I hit her back and she threatened to call the police and file assault charges against me.

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jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

LadyJ,

Self-defense is of course a different story.

People have the right to defend themselves if attacked, imho.

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sfjayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

Anyone that strikes my child risks serious bodily harm. My wife would go rambo on anyone that thought that they could get away with that.

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GardenMomma 4 years, 3 months ago

I'll never forget my aunt disciplining her son for hitting his sister by smacking him on the wrist saying "Don't hit!"

I always thought that was a total oxymoron. Clearly, she was trying to teach him not to hit his sister just because he was upset at her, but the method of the lesson was a bit counter-intuitive.

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Mel Briscoe 4 years, 3 months ago

liberty, well that is exactly my reaction to the exercise... i have more questions in order to formulate a conclusion. i wouldn't be able to make that call based upon the sparing info your exercise provided.

good thought provoker though. :)

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beawolf 4 years, 3 months ago

My mother never slapped me in the face, but, hanging in the porch entry way was a 3 inch wide, black leather belt that was occasionally used on my bottom. Considering my rather rebellious youth, it was most likely deserved. As a single mother working 2 jobs and raising 5 boys, the belt was the most effective tool for the job. When I outgrew the belt, my older brothers took it upon themselves to mete out an appropriate punishment. I preferred the belt. That said, I never raised a hand to any of my children. Times change.

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LadyJ 4 years, 3 months ago

And I told my boys to stop obeying the "no hitting back" rule at school when I got tired of them getting the crap beat out of them because they didn't want to break the rules.

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LadyJ 4 years, 3 months ago

"No hitting is appropriate" Well now I did tell my daughter that she was allowed to slap the boy in her class when he wouldn't stop pinching her bottom and the teacher would not make him stop or punish him. I don't think you can make a general statement like that.

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jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

My parents each hit me once, if I remember correctly and didn't believe in it as a "disciplinary" method.

I vividly remember the fear and upset I felt as a result, and have no memory AT ALL of what caused the hitting.

So it clearly didn't work to "teach me" anything at all other than that my parents were larger and stronger and could hurt me if they got upset with me.

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LadyJ 4 years, 3 months ago

An occasional spanking, very occasional, is not harmful. What is more harmful is parents who do not discipline their kids at all. You will see them tell or yell at their kids to stop doing something, but do nothing when they keep doing it. These are the kids who grow up with no self control and also possibly hitting and bullying other kids. I would rather see, within reason, a parent use an occasional swat than no discipline at all. We've all seen those kids, the ones that are running around the store playing tag and throwing beach balls at each other and running into you practically knocking you and every thing around them over. When you think of it, isn't not disciplining your kids also a form of abuse? They grow up with their own set emotional issues. Again, spanking should only be occasional. But you are not a bad parent if once in a while you forget and swat the kid. An occasional swat will not teach them to go around hitting other kids.

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jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

How can you teach children to respect others' boundaries, both physical and non-physical if you violate theirs by hitting them?

Use of the term "spank" rather than "hit" is a nice way to minimize the action.

You certainly can gain a measure of control over children by hitting them (and threatening to do so), but there are rather large costs to that approach.

whatthehell,

Let's wait a little bit and see how your child turns out later on in life before deciding that your hitting them had no ill effects.

It's still amazing to me that an activity which is illegal to perform on another adult (who is much more well-matched for any physical contest and has many more resources) is held to be ok with children (your own).

Slapping another adult in the face is assault.

The distinctions people would like to make between "appropriate" hitting and "inappropriate" hitting are lost on me. No hitting is appropriate, and especially not that of a child by a (much larger and stronger) adult.

If your child's friend gets frustrated because your child isn't doing what they want, and they hit them, what do you do/say?

If it's not ok for the friend, why is it ok for a parent?

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Satirical 4 years, 3 months ago

Jimmyjms…

Yep, you are just being obtuse, or you didn’t read AND comprehended what I wrote, because I addressed almost every concern you listed previously. But I guess I will do it again….

“But you predicated the entire post with that “rational” bit, and nothing you said afterward lent any credence to your position.” – jimmyjms

Did you seriously think my main argument was that “children aren’t rational, therefore it is okay to spank them?” It is true I probably should have stated “Children aren’t (always) rational.” Even so, it is clear that this sentence and the purpose of the entire 1st paragraph was simply to tell Liberty_One how I believed the same as he did, but then I had to re-evaluate my ideals when faced with reality. It would take a gigantic leap in logic (which I did not imply nor infer) that simply because something or someone is irrational means that thing can/should be spanked. Try re-reading my 1st paragraph

“Those would be rational reactions to the threat of violence”- jimmyjms

Most animals aren’t rational but they still know the difference between pleasure and pain. Children do as well. Being rational isn’t required to understand cause and effect. Furthermore, I never said the purpose of spanking was to teach rationality. Try re-reading my 2nd paragraph.

“What you're doing is teaching them that your only control over them lies in your physical power over them, which in turn teaches them that they can use their physical power to dominate/control/hurt people smaller than them.” – jimmyjms

Only? Only? This would be true if spanking was the ONLY method of discipline or control one exerted over a child. I don’t think they need a parent to learn that physical power can be used to dominate people smaller than them. And even if that were true, if my child was harming someone else, I would have no problem using my physical power to dominate or control him or her. Does it mean I would necessarily spank them? No, that is your inference. Try re-reading my 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th paragraph. (Especially the part that talks about spanking as being used seldom and only when necessary)

“It also completely undermines your authority over them once they get bigger.” – jimmyjms

Again, this is true ONLY IF spanking was the ONLY method of discipline used. Try re-reading my 3rd paragraph, especially: “Therefore, a parent needs to teach their children “no” at an early age and realize spanking is a short term solution to certain situation, and should not be the primary method of discipline.”

Since you are obviously only trying to pick a fight by being obtuse and putting words in my mouth, I think our discussion is over, as far as I am concerned.

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gogoplata 4 years, 3 months ago

I'm certainly not the only one who would not label a slap in the face as abuse.

I'm not advocating that type of correction. I'm not even saying that corporal punishment is the best way to discipline a child. I'm just saying slapping a child in the face is not something that we need the government involved in.

If someone is abusing a child I'll be right there with anyone else that has concern for the well being of a child to try and put an end to it. But if I see a mom or dad slap their kid in the face to discipline them I'll mind my own business.

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whatthehell 4 years, 3 months ago

I forgot... People with generally good parenting skills withh have power over them when the get bigger that will be much more valuable than any form of physical punishement: withholding allowance, removing electronic media access, driving priviliges, evenings out with friends...

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whatthehell 4 years, 3 months ago

Jimmy, Jafs and others similar: An old and somewhat wise thought... "all things in moderation". If a child is being ABUSED, ie severely beaten for any reason then they are likely to take on the attributes you suggest. I will say, in a different way than previously posted; those of us who "properly" use a spanking as a means of behavior modification are not raising the bullies you describe. We are also not raising kids with no respect for authority and no self control like SOME parents who refuse to use any means beyond "time-out". My youngest is 6 now and hasn't needed a spanking in months. He knows when he is getting close to deserving it and always "straightens up" and plays by the rules before it is necessary. He is good in school, thoughtful, well mannered and has never been accused of bullying behavior. So, I say to you that every kid, every parent and every situation is unique. Sometimes it is useful and beneficial to utilize that tool.

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Amy Heeter 4 years, 3 months ago

My dad beat us all the time and he used a squirt bottle to spray in our faces to punish us. The real joke here is he is giving parenting advice on this thread.

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jimmyjms 4 years, 3 months ago

Satirical, I read the whole post. I appreciate what you said. Some good points, certainly. But you predicated the entire post with that "rational" bit, and nothing you said afterward lent any credence to your position.

If children are not rational, then by definition hitting them won't teach them to be rational, make rational decisions, or even to "obey." Those would be rational reactions to the threat of violence (or punishment, or 'hurt', whatever you'd prefer to call it). What you're doing is teaching them that your only control over them lies in your physical power over them, which in turn teaches them that they can use their physical power to dominate/control/hurt people smaller than them. It also completely undermines your authority over them once they get bigger.

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jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

In my opinion, physical punishment is abusive.

Doesn't matter whether it's open-handed, etc. at all.

It teaches children that those who are bigger than they are and have more power have the right to hurt them. When they get older, they will probably think they have the same right regarding people who are smaller than they are.

I believe the statistics are clear - people who've been physically punished by their parents are much more likely to do so with their own children.

The difference between humans and other animals is that humans learn how to use language and may have some higher cognitive skills. I suggest we start using them. In the animal kingdom, males generally fight to the death to determine dominance and the right to have sex with the females - do we want to continue that practice as well?

To those who say "It's not your business" I say that children are small and weak while parents are large and strong. Parents generally have lots of rights and priveleges while children have few. If we all just ignore this sort of thing, who protects the children?

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WhiteDog 4 years, 3 months ago

gogoplata (Anonymous) says… I'm not advocating slapping a kid in the face for discipline. I'm just saying a slap in the face is not abuse.

It doesn't matter if you don't agree with corporal punishment. Stay out of other peoples business. Don't spank your own kids.

As long as a parent is not abusing his child there is no need for intervention by the government.


And why exactly do you, and only you it appears, get to decide what constitutes abuse?

I find a slap in the face to be pretty damned abusive.

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OonlyBonly 4 years, 3 months ago

You want to see what the lack of parental discipline does? Look around.......

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Cait McKnelly 4 years, 3 months ago

"Since someone brought up how some thing becomes assault and domestic violence when someone gets older. It is becasue those involved are now adults and should have learned how to follow the rules and not hit each other as adults. Why are two adults hitting each other in the first place instead of talking something out."

This would be a valid question if it weren't for the fact that the kid never did hit back. Not that I would blame her. It's what she's been taught to do. But the fact that she DIDN"T hit back is what caused it to be assault. So...same question. Why is it assault when it's an adult and "parental chastisement" when it's a child?

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Satirical 4 years, 3 months ago

jimmyjms... "So…hitting them is going to teach them…what?"

Either you somehow missed the 5 paragraphs after that quote, or you are being obtuse. I am guess the latter.

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jimmyjms 4 years, 3 months ago

"Then I learned that children aren’t rational."

So...hitting them is going to teach them...what?

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gogoplata 4 years, 3 months ago

I'm sure you are not the only one whatthehell.

I'm not saying that slapping your child in the face is the way to go, although I have seen some that I'd like to see slapped. I also agree that it seems to be more severe than spanking. But a simple slap in the face is not abuse.

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jimmyjms 4 years, 3 months ago

Haha. If a stranger were to strike my child, said stranger had better have a .357 or a boatload of bikers with them, 'cause my kid would be visiting me in Leavenworth, and the strangers kid would be buying flowers.

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whatthehell 4 years, 3 months ago

Am I the only one that thinks a slap in the face crosses the line from punishement to abuse and is not at all the same as a spanking?

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gogoplata 4 years, 3 months ago

I'm not advocating slapping a kid in the face for discipline. I'm just saying a slap in the face is not abuse.

It doesn't matter if you don't agree with corporal punishment. Stay out of other peoples business. Don't spank your own kids.

As long as a parent is not abusing his child there is no need for intervention by the government.

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workinghard 4 years, 3 months ago

Most parents that don't believe in spanking will occasionally slip up and swat a child, you don't know if this is one of those cases. I generally did not spank, but once or twice a year they pushed too far and got a spanking. Funny thing, after about the age of 5 they didn't push me that far and never got spankings anymore. Did they learn there was line as to just how far they could go? Kids need to learn that they can only go so far. Personally I experienced this scenario once only involving a big carton of yogurt. I made the child go to the service desk and tell them they had made a mess that needed to be cleaned up. Then they had to stand there while it was being cleaned and had to tell them they were sorry for making a mess for them. You could tell by the look on their face and tears, they probably would rather have had a swat, but the child learned. Never had a problem after that.

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SLOPOKE 4 years, 3 months ago

I was'nt present to see this act,but I do have 2 son's and I do believe in spanking.. I do not believe in slapping a child.. I came from a family with a Military father who was very abusive..I get so upset with how the system has worked it's way into our homes, and have dictated us on how to raise our children..Just look at ALL our children today,no resect, dropping school, gang activety,drug's, in your face rebellion.. My father beat the grap out of us children and we did'nt like it At all, but I do respect my elder's, and the people around me. I also learned how to say those forgotten word's , please and thank you, Yes Sir and no Sir, yes Mam and no Mam... My vote is on Don't Spare the Rod !!!

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Multidisciplinary 4 years, 3 months ago

For thought: Most all creatures in raising their young, first use vocal gestures of some sort to guide, gentle nudges, licks...to edge the young away from things, coax, encourage, reprimand. But when those all don't work, you watch..when it comes down to utter safety, or teaching something serious..mama lion, bear, bird, monkey...everything that nurtures their young...takes it to a higher level if needed and it may just hurt, or be very very loud and in today's ridiculously PC way of thinking, seem abusive.

Now..does that young one feel abused?

Or do they know they did something Momma didn't approve of and they better shape up? And others in the herd may do the same (In my day and before, we helped parent each others kids in the neighborhood,if those kids were out, we all kept close watch, and if some wrong was up, we corrected them, or contacted the mom to intervene. Do they just turn their heads now?)

Please do not think I'm condoning those that have true rage issues that beat their children without reason, or to vent their own problems, I'm talking a minor swap on the leg, a minor tap on the back of reaching hand, not enough to leave any sort of a mark or real pain..just more the fact that the kid is interlocked for that moment in knowing he's getting his just rewards.

And if someone tosses in that what is it, Denmark that it's illegal to hit children? May I point out how close it is to Norway and that new study Irish posted that they've found breastfeeding isn't important.. I'm just saying... ;p.

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WhiteDog 4 years, 3 months ago

ashamedofyou (Anonymous) says…

I forgot to add: Let's say I'm a customer at your work and I find your work lacking or you did something wrong…would it be acceptable for me to tell you to go clock out, you're fired.


No, of course not. Don't be ridiculous. Everybody knows the only appropriate course of action is to just smack 'em. The only debate is whether you should used a closed or open hand when you hit them in the face, right?

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Tongie_soccer 4 years, 3 months ago

I do not believe in spanking children - I feel it is teaching them to be bullies and that when we don't get what we want the best way to respond is hitting. My husband does spank (when I am not around to prevent it). Our children are respectful and responsive to me. They are angry and aloof towards their father. I would rather have my children respect me and my opinions (just as I do them and theirs) then be afraid of me. It seems to me most spanking occur because the parent is angry that they can't control the child and not because of the event itself. I mean really - does it matter in the world that some oranges fell on the floor. Pick them up - the world would be a much nicer place. :-)

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justanothertroll 4 years, 3 months ago

I spank my wife so why can't I spank my kid?

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Satirical 4 years, 3 months ago

Liberty_One…

While I didn’t think this blog would turn into a debate about spanking, it seems to have gone that way. Before I was a parent I thought I would never physically punish my child. I believed I could rationalize to him/her why some behavior lead to positive consequences and other behavior led to negative consequences. I thought if my child respected and loved me enough s/he would want to behave in a way that was respectful. Then I learned that children aren’t rational.

Sometimes spanking is the most effective way to discipline a child. As you pointed out with the example of your brother’s children, each child is unique. While I seldom use spanking as a method of getting my point across, the temperament of my first child made spanking the last option in some scenarios and necessary to protect him. For my other children, spanking is rarely utilized because other methods of discipline are effective.

However, a parent should always realize spanking only has an effectiveness for a finite period of time. Therefore, a parent needs to teach their children “no” at an early age and realize spanking is a short term solution to certain situation, and should not be the primary method of discipline. Otherwise a parent will not have developed, and a child will not have learned to respond to, other methods of discipline when they become a teenager.

Children are going to learn socially acceptable behavior one way or another - either by a loving parent who knows each child individually and what method is most effective and necessary in a given context; or by society whose lessons are often quick, brutal, and unforgiving. I would rather me spank my child for doing something which endangers himself and others than have a stranger correct my child’s behavior/actions.

However, I have noticed other parents who verbally abuse their child to discipline them. They scream at them whenever they do something wrong, or even worse resort to name calling. For those who claim they would never spank a child, I seriously doubt they would never raise their voice. I was raised by a parent who screamed as the primary method of discipline. I never want to be that type of parent.

There are many parents who have never spanked their children. Perhaps it is because they are better parents, or perhaps it is because their children responded to other methods of discipline. I cannot say. But I do not believe I can judge anyone else without walking in their shoes.

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somedude20 4 years, 3 months ago

Where was the mother before the kid knocked over the oranges? Why was she not there to prevent that incident?

I work in a building that has an American Flag as well as a few pictures on the wall. Twice, a young child (mom was 10 feet away reading) knocked over the flag (hitting the groud which is very disrespectful). The second time the child did this, he knocked a picture off the wall breaking the glass. Mom was lucky that kid did not cut himself on the broken glass and mom should be watching her small human to prevent such things

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whatthehell 4 years, 3 months ago

let me clarify... Cappy said, "you have failed at proper parenting and should reflect on your methods." "YOU" would suggest that the parent has failed. SOMETIMES this might be true, and sometimes it might be that the child has "failed" to respond to other methods, or "failed" to respect the authority of the parent. It is not fair to judge a parent to have "failed" at being a good parent just because they spank a child.

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ashamedofyou 4 years, 3 months ago

Roe - I agree, as I said, there is a distinct line that one can cross from discipline to abuse. I, myself, worked in a grocery store and called the police for someone that was hitting her child in the bathroom so hard that I could HEAR the slaps 15 feet away and through a closed door. I'm not saying a parent has the right to abuse their child (or a person has the right to abuse their spouse/significant other/roommate/whatever) physically, mentally, or verbally but I am saying that when used in the correct manner, spanking can have the right outcomes. My husband and I have chosen not to spank unless we've tried other options first and when my child does get a spanking (which has only happened twice) he is swatted on the butt with the same amount of force as he is when he's crying and upset or when I'm trying to put him to sleep, it's simply the tone of voice that makes it different.

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whatthehell 4 years, 3 months ago

Cappy, I disagree, as is obvious from my post. I know the behavior modification stuff VERY well. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

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Kirk Larson 4 years, 3 months ago

Corporal punishment is one of those things where it should be available to the parent, but if you have to resort to it, it means you have failed at proper parenting and should reflect on your methods.

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RoeDapple 4 years, 3 months ago

ashamedofyou, Totally understand where you are coming from. As for me, I have seen a child slapped hard enough to knock him to the floor, another child repeatedly rammed with a shopping cart for not keeping his hands off canned goods, and another child being cursed loudly and profanely for asking a second time if she could have ice cream. My wife stopped me from intervening when a man repeatedly hit his wife(?) with a bag of celery while telling her how stupid she was as they shopped in the old Food-4-Less. You can bet if I see someone give more than a correcting swat or nudge I will be in their face.

The old,"My daddy beat the hell outa me and I turned out okay" doesn't fly any better than "Oh, it's a phase, they'll grow out of it". Every situation is a judgment call, both as a parent disciplining their child and as a witness to the event. Hopefully we all react appropriately when time comes

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Liberty_One 4 years, 3 months ago

honeychild (Mel Briscoe) says…

"your question has too many gray areas."

Intentionally so. Part of the excerise is how people's biases make assumptions about the gray areas. People with children are going to view it in a different context than people without.

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whatthehell 4 years, 3 months ago

GOGO... NO!!!! The face is off limits. Way too personal, way too painful, way too dramatic. NEVER, EVER hit in the face. It is a gamechanger and is abusive. Period.

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Liberty_One 4 years, 3 months ago

Rhonda, I agree in principle, I personally wouldn't use physical means of punishment, but that's easy for me to say since I don't have kids. My brother felt the same way, and verbal discipline worked fine on his oldest and youngest children, but with the middle child he resorted to spanking because it was the only thing he found that worked. Maybe being the middle child is difficult because his role isn't clearly defined, he doesn't get as much attention or maybe he's just different. But not being the parent I don't think I can say that there's a right and wrong way to discipline him because I don't know the situation as well. Maybe there always is an alternative, but raising three kids is tough and sometimes taking the path that's most effective is the right thing to do.

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whatthehell 4 years, 3 months ago

Way too many variables to really answer the question, but I would not think this is even a spankable offense. In general, I have a right and duty to discipline my child the way I see fit. Traditional spanking to really make the point to my child that I mean what I say, is my choice, and I have several times utilized this tool in the parenting tool bag. My children KNOW that I mean business when I tell them that a behavior is not OK or dangerous AND they are vey well behaved, well adjusted, non-abusive to others. A "smack" would seem to indicate a slap to the face or similar and that is abusive. Strangers should stay out of it unless there is an obvious danger to the child.

To those totally opposed to spanking under any conditions, it can be effective and reasonable. It depends on BOTH the parent and the child and how it is done. You are entitiled to your parenting style and I to mine. Spend some time with my children before you condemn me or others who carefully and judiciously discipline our children. Sometimes, reasoning with a child does not work.

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Truther 4 years, 3 months ago

Spanking should be rare and for major offenses otherwise it becomes ineffective and you have no other options?

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Mel Briscoe 4 years, 3 months ago

... does a complete stranger have the right to put a child in time out or take his gameboy away from him as punishment? i mean, that part of your scenario really needs to be made clear.

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Mel Briscoe 4 years, 3 months ago

so your scenario involves a stranger striking a child or is that person the kids aunt, grandmother, or babysitter? your question has too many gray areas.

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gogoplata 4 years, 3 months ago

If she punched her in the face - Child abuse If she slapped her in the face - Discipline

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ashamedofyou 4 years, 3 months ago

I forgot to add: Let's say I'm a customer at your work and I find your work lacking or you did something wrong...would it be acceptable for me to tell you to go clock out, you're fired. No, it wouldn't because I'm a stranger. A stranger has no right to discipline someone else's child just as a customer has no right to fire you from your job

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ashamedofyou 4 years, 3 months ago

I am consistantly amazed at the absurdity of the posts on this website. One has the right as a parent to raise and discipline their children as they see fit. Of course a parent shouldn't be abusing their children but I hardly think a single "smack" is classified as abuse. It's likely that I would verbally discipline my child for the situation you described but I wouldn't hesitate to spank my child as a form of discipline either. There is a clear line when simple discipline shifts to something more. Just because you choose not to discipline your child the same way I choose to discipline mine does not mean it's abuse and worthy of a call to the police. Further, I've seen several of you comment on how its assult if you're an adult and it's not considered assault when it's a child. If you use that as an example, then you might as well say that when your kid doesn't want to do something or is throwing a fit and you pick them up and carry them from the store or pull them into the dentists office...that's kidnapping. That's what it would be if you were an adult. Or maybe if you threaten a spanking then that would be battery. That is a RIDICULOUS idea. I don't call the police when I see a family with 6 kids with dreadlocks and colored hair (the youngest child was about 2) with tattoos from markers and ink pens all over, including their faces. These kids were literally dirty but I didn't say a thing even though I consider that to be negligence---those parents have the right to parent their children as they wish.

I'm saying if I choose to spank my child, that's my concern, not yours. If you choose to not spank your child, that's your concern, not mine. Don't try to force your opinion down other people's throats, especially by calling the police on them. (PS, trying to restrain me would be a HUGE mistake and also would be assault which would make my actions VERY much in self defense)

MAN! you people are irritating

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RoeDapple 4 years, 3 months ago

Hey Liberty_One, good way to approach this issue, as the parent/non-parent of the child involved. The part about "owning" the child bothers me somewhat though. I feel we conceive, nurture, educate and send our children out into the world to repeat the process in their own way. Life is a concept we have no ownership of. Screw up, the state can take away our children. Screw up badly enough, the state can take away our life.

I have been in the situation you describe. I'm a big guy, I have found that I can move in close to the event, make my presence known without a word, and "mom" takes her child by the hand and scurries down the isle. Sometimes with a,"Mind your business, you S.O.B.!", but the situation is at least temporarily diffused. I don't kid myself thinking I have "changed the world", but hopefully that mom will give some thought to repeating that scene.

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jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

Anything that qualifies as assault when it occurs between adults should be illegal when it occurs between an adult and a child.

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Ronda Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

There is never a time when stiking a child, yours or anyone eles's is appropriate - regardless if how many times the child repeated an undesirable action. Perhaps that child has ADD, or autism, or poor impulse control (rather like the parent who hits). There are ALWAYS other options to striking.

How about having the child assist in picking up the spill with the comment, "this is why we don't touch"

A reward directed to the child to behave is nice, telling them you'll leave the store and then following through is another effective method. Humor works well too. If I were a bystander witnessing such an event, I would assist in clean up, catch the child's gaze and smile at both parent and child making a comment about how knocking things over happens to me sometimes too and boy don't our children grow up too quickly.

That same person may just be treated negatively by that child fifty years down the road.

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WhiteDog 4 years, 3 months ago

I've always thought it was interesting that the only time it's completely legal to smack another human being around is when it's a full-grown human hitting a minor - who doesn't have the right to vote and help determine the laws.

So imagine you're in the supermarket and a 100 lb woman reaches for an orange. 37 oranges fall to the floor and her 200 lb boyfriend smacks her.

At least in the scenario with two adults, there are resources to help the woman get out of her abusive situation. The kid is stuck with the abuse which is supported by our society and our laws.

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Satirical 4 years, 3 months ago

Valid questions.

Here is how Kansas defines child abuse: 21-3609. Abuse of a child. Abuse of a child is intentionally torturing, cruelly beating, shaking which results in great bodily harm or inflicting cruel and inhuman corporal punishment upon any child under the age of 18 years.

Details matter. I could think of many variations of facts that would make this acceptable or unacceptable. Everything from variations severity of punishment, disability of the child, or intent of the parent.

When a parent spanks a child vs. a stranger doing the same, the objectives or intent is different. I agree with Liberty_One that society expects, and parents have a duty (if not legal, then moral), to teach their children socially acceptable behavior. For these reasons, society gives more deference to parents.

To me, the aforementioned makes sense. It is not the duty of society to raise your child. There are more disadvantages than benefits if every adult decided it was their duty to second-guess your parenting style. However, there should be safeguards available when a discipline amounts to abuse.

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monkeywrench1969 4 years, 3 months ago

This is a snap shot question. You have to weigh the entirity of the child's CONSISTENT actions with the initial incident described above. Is the child good most of the time and it is a slip up/ accident or does it fall in line with the child's constant behavior of touching things that are not their's, one of a long line of things they had been told not to touch in the same store with the warning this was the potential outcome, were they doing it because they knew their parents would not do something harsh for fear they (the parents) would be chastised by those in the public who believe thaey should not physically touch the child for any reason but a hug or love.

Parents are not the child's friend they are parents which is a best friend who also has to make tough desicions concerning what they need to do to make their child a good person who is kind decent and respectful. Good friends are people who are their during the good, bad and tough times. People who I call "party friends" are there only when the times are good and are out the back door or look the other way when the bad times occur because they don't want to deal with it or it is killing the the good party buzz to be honest about something bad about that person.

Since someone brought up how some thing becomes assault and domestic violence when someone gets older. It is becasue those involved are now adults and should have learned how to follow the rules and not hit each other as adults. Why are two adults hitting each other in the first place instead of talking something out.

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asbury 4 years, 3 months ago

People are not for hitting......and children are people too.......Period. The only time I think even a swat on the butt might be used is if the child had put him/her self in danger....say if they ran into the street. Yanking on an arm doesn't seem like a good idea at any time.

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consumer1 4 years, 3 months ago

In my position, I see the effects of bad parenting every day. I also see the effects of good parenting that seem to have no positive effect on a child who is hell bent on going the wrong way. Mostly though, I see kids whose parents are abusive, neglectful / absentee, sometimes the parents are too busy trying to be the best friend of their kid, almost always a bad outlook on life is transfrerred to the child(ren). I see alot of disrespect for authority in both parents and children. I also see children of alcoholics who have given up their childhood to become surrogate parents to their alcoholic parent(s).
I see kids who are amazing, in spite of the enviornment they are being raised in, they have a light, driving them toward goodness and success. They seem to have an empowering drive to move beyond the problems of their families which they could so easily use and an excuse to live life as a victim. These kids give me hope for the future of human kind. We are a sad people when we allow our weakness's to dictate the direction of our future. Con1

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Liberty_One 4 years, 3 months ago

raerae, I suggest then to supply your own details and outline why your opinion hinges upon those details.

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Rae Hudspeth 4 years, 3 months ago

That would also depend on one's definition of "a smack".

Did the parent outright clobber the kid or was it a slap on the wrist, as in "don't touch!" Not enough details here for an opinion, sorry.

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Cait McKnelly 4 years, 3 months ago

Y'know it's funny. My daughter's step mother broke plastic hangers over her head, gave her a fat lip and a black eye and SRS refused to intervene. The police called it "parental chastisement" and also refused to intervene. The kid turned 18 and all of a sudden the same behavior is now called "assault" and "domestic violence". You go figure it out.

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consumer1 4 years, 3 months ago

Give the parent a quick leg sweep, knocking them to the ground. Then If they are not knocked out cold by their head hitting the tile covered concrete a quick grab of their hair one sharp blow of their head into the floor again. Finish off by a couple of good kicks to the rib area. Broken ribs heart worse than anything I know of. Then tell the little kid your name is Merril and you can be found blogging on the LJW.

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Truther 4 years, 3 months ago

Its usually not child abuse but it is also not good or effective parenting.

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jaywalker 4 years, 3 months ago

In public it's about excess, in my opinion. A quick smack to the fanny or a yank of an arm is nothin' but a thing. But I will get concerned if a parent prolongs the discipline in a public forum, or disciplines without a sense of self-awareness, i.e. loudly or demonstratively.

I'd be hard pressed to comment, however, unless the behavior was over-the-top.

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Liberty_One 4 years, 3 months ago

To be perfectly honest, my answer does change. However, that does pose the question of if it is wrong for a stranger to strike the child, why is it ok for the parent to do the exact same act? I think there is a deeply embedded social belief that parents have not only the right, but the duty to discipline their children, and the method by which they chose to do so is discretionary. The problem one runs into, though, is if this is how the mother behaves in public, it isn't unreasonable to assume that worse violence occurs in private. Since children are often powerless to help themselves, it is our duty as fellow humans to act if we judge it necessary. But I would just have a difficult time interfering in something that is such a personal and private matter as the method by which parents chose to discipline their children.

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