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Old 06-24-2014, 12:45 PM   #1
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Default Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

What is your opinion of where you should draw the line between disciplining a child and what constitutes child abuse?

Last night we witnessed a child (around 5 years old) being disciplined in public and it was excessive and the child was humiliated.
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Old 06-24-2014, 12:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

Was the child damaged (ie, bruised/bloody/etc)? Was the worst the kid got was humiliation?

I ask because I was never 'spared the rod' (or the belt!) growing up. Of all the whippings I got I earned 98% of them, and I learned the lesson that was taught. I was never "damaged" physically or emotionally by these. That being said, I stopped spanking my son after 4 years old but when I did it was to get his attention ONLY.

I believe that if anyone saw my father and mother spank me or my siblings today, they would call DSS! I'm not saying what you witnessed wasn't abuse because I wasn't there. I just know everyone has a different threshold to meet the standard of abuse.
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

if you use the definition of abuse, as used in the workplace and apply it to kids, then simply words can be considered abuse and any form of physical hitting could constitute abuse.

But is it discipline, or abuse? I wouldn't hit or strike my kids with a belt, but I have disciplined them many times. I would consider hitting a child as abuse as I think there are better ways to teach a child a lesson other than striking them. But that's just me.
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

What was done that you considered excessive?

Surely not being humiliated. Many kids these days could learn a few lessons from some humility.

If anything, parental discipline has dropped off BIG TIME versus when I was a kid. I can't remember the last time I saw a kid get his ass worn out with a spanking/switch/belt. Now it is all verbal and time-out oriented. I feared the belt or a whipping when I was younger and it made me question behavior I was contemplating acting on. Takeaways/timeouts/grounded always made me view my parents as weak when they tried that...I didn't take it seriously. I imagine many kids think the same way, even if it is subconscious. Humans need to fear punishment and people to correct behaviors I think. It's why jail/prison time is highly ineffective at correcting behaviors.

It's funny because I think physical punishment for dogs is ridiculous and many people pop their dogs, shove their face in poop or damaged items, etc to correct them...and I know it doesn't work and they don't respond to it. But human beings...kids...yeah, they get it.

I have multiple sets of nieces and nephews. Only 1 set has a mom/dad that believes in spankings for punishment. When we get together for events or are in public, his kids are always the best behaved. The others are running around testing their parents and constantly a battle "stop it!" and meaningless demands from the parents for the kids to stop. It only takes an eye from the other dad to let them know what happens if they follow the lead of their cousins who are acting up.
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

I was never spanked as a child and don't really believe it is necessary. I think me and my sister were probably better behaved than the average kid was to start with, and we are both very intelligent, so maybe it just wasn't necessary for us because we didn't need a lesson beaten into us to "get it."
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

As a father of four I know how easy it is to lose your temper (13, 10, 7, 3). The primary differences between abuse and discipline are:

1. Is the parent in control of themselves when engaging the child for the offence?
2. Is the point of the discipline to restore the relationship with the child after an actual offense or is it just "pay-back" for making me look bad in public, etc.?
3. Discipline itself is humiliating but it does not HAVE to be humiliation. Abuse is always and only humiliation. This is not the same as yelling at a child who is about to run in front of a moving bus or stick a fork in a light socket. Discipline is done privately so as to avoid taking the dignity of the child.

As a Christian I am commanded to discipline myself and my children. That discipline takes many forms but the key to it IMHO is the heart of the parent. Acting out in rage is not restorative. It actually divides the parent/child relationship. I have had to apologize to my kids many times before because I did not have the right frame of mind when engaging them after they had actually done something wrong or when they have offended me personally and not a moral or ethical or behavioral "rule of the house".

As far as drawing a line goes, I would say that they moment you are angry with your child you are unable to spank, admonish, or administer correction. While any actual offense must be addressed, it does not need to be addressed in the middle or Wal-Mart parking lot. Cooling down gives you time to address the offense in an adult manner and determine if the offense is actually that or if it was just your kid being a kid.

That's my two cents.
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Last edited by rdwylie; 06-24-2014 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

They gave the kid hard, repeated spanks over about 30 seconds and did not let up while forcibly holding him down, and it was in a restaurant in the eating area.

I thought that was excessive
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

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Originally Posted by spareparts View Post
They gave the kid hard, repeated spanks over about 30 seconds and did not let up while forcibly holding him down, and it was in a restaurant in the eating area.

I thought that was excessive

I agree. That sounds like there is very little parenting being done at home.
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

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Originally Posted by ColaCock View Post
The others are running around testing their parents and constantly a battle "stop it!" and meaningless demands from the parents for the kids to stop.
I can't stand that

It shows nothing has worked, or nothing is being done in the first place
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwylie View Post
As a father of four I know how easy it is to lose your temper (13, 10, 7, 3). The primary differences between abuse and discipline are:

1. Is the parent in control of themselves when engaging the child for the offence?
2. Is the point of the discipline to restore the relationship with the child after an actual offense or is it just "pay-back" for making me look bad in public, etc.?
3. Discipline itself is humiliating but it does not HAVE to be humiliation. Abuse is always and only humiliation. This is not the same as yelling at a child who is about to run in front of a moving bus or stick a fork in a light socket. Discipline is done privately so as to avoid taking the dignity of the child.

As a Christian I am commanded to discipline myself and my children. That discipline takes many forms but the key to it IMHO is the heart of the parent. Acting out in rage is not restorative. It actually divides the parent/child relationship. I have had to apologize to my kids many times before because I did not have the right frame of mind when engaging them after they had actually done something wrong or when they have offended me personally and not a moral or ethical or behavioral "rule of the house".

As far as drawing a line goes, I would say that they moment you are angry with your child you are unable to spank, admonish, or administer correction. While any actual offense must be addressed, it does not need to be addressed in the middle or Wal-Mart parking lot. Cooling down give you time to address the offense in an adult manner and determine if the offense is actually that or if it was just your kid being a kid.

That's my two cents.

Agreed. Do it out of love, not hate. Sparing the rod spoils the child.
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:32 PM   #11
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwylie View Post
As a father of four I know how easy it is to lose your temper (13, 10, 7, 3). The primary differences between abuse and discipline are:

1. Is the parent in control of themselves when engaging the child for the offence?
2. Is the point of the discipline to restore the relationship with the child after an actual offense or is it just "pay-back" for making me look bad in public, etc.?
3. Discipline itself is humiliating but it does not HAVE to be humiliation. Abuse is always and only humiliation. This is not the same as yelling at a child who is about to run in front of a moving bus or stick a fork in a light socket. Discipline is done privately so as to avoid taking the dignity of the child.

As a Christian I am commanded to discipline myself and my children. That discipline takes many forms but the key to it IMHO is the heart of the parent. Acting out in rage is not restorative. It actually divides the parent/child relationship. I have had to apologize to my kids many times before because I did not have the right frame of mind when engaging them after they had actually done something wrong or when they have offended me personally and not a moral or ethical or behavioral "rule of the house".

As far as drawing a line goes, I would say that they moment you are angry with your child you are unable to spank, admonish, or administer correction. While any actual offense must be addressed, it does not need to be addressed in the middle or Wal-Mart parking lot. Cooling down give you time to address the offense in an adult manner and determine if the offense is actually that or if it was just your kid being a kid.

That's my two cents.
Well said. I have two (6 and 3) girls and when I find myself losing my temper I tell myself to stop before I say/do something that will probably not have the desired effect I wish.

Goes for adults and kids alike. We are all more receptive when not all amped up emotionally. So occurrences can be addressed, but in the heat of the moment is not always the best time.
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

I didn't get spanked too much as a child but there were definitely a few times. Usually after an episode when I was up in my room my Dad would come by and talk to me and let me know why he thought what I was doing was out of place or wrong. I learned well from that.
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:39 PM   #13
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

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I can't stand that

It shows nothing has worked, or nothing is being done in the first place
That is the part that shows where most parents truly are as far as the consistency of their discipline is concerned. Most parents, myself included at times, parent by volume: no, No, NO! It is such a hassle to discipline the kid after the first "no". But the child realizes that until we have lost our cool we are not serious about what they are doing or not doing. If every actual offense is met by immediate consequences the child is trained over time to think better of their actions before they do them. Isn't this the goal of discipline? If offenses are met with three or four warnings of increasing volume they know they have a chance to get away with stuff.

It is all about the heart of the parent FOR the child. Do I love my child enough to address what they are doing or do I just want to stay on the couch. I have had many a meal get cold sitting on my kitchen table because I was talking with my kid about their rebellion and walking my kid through the disciplinary process. I do not have it licked by any means. But the younger they are when you start and the firmer you are at being consistent does yield fruit of obedience.
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Old 06-24-2014, 01:54 PM   #14
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

If I may be so bold as to interject this into the conversation. I do not intend to bring religion into the discussion for those who do not believe in Christ but are still good parents are many. However, this book has given me more than any other book I have ever read on a Biblical perspective on raising children. The goal is to raise kids who love and live under the authority of God. Discipline is a part of that as it is a part of life itself. For those of you who are believers, pick up a copy and read it with your spouse and if it is not worth the time and effort you put in I will apologize to you personally on a thread named in your honor. I warn you though, be ready to be thumped.

http://www.amazon.com/Shepherding-Ch.../dp/0966378601

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Old 06-24-2014, 02:26 PM   #15
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

Quote:
Originally Posted by spareparts View Post
What is your opinion of where you should draw the line between disciplining a child and what constitutes child abuse?

Last night we witnessed a child (around 5 years old) being disciplined in public and it was excessive and the child was humiliated.
I'm an Old School dude with old fashioned values, but they do have limits.
I was disciplined by spanking / whippings from my parents and at the time
I thought it was abuse. As soon as I got old enough to realize what the REAL
WORLD was, and that it didn't revolve around what I wanted and what I
thought, the lights came on and I also realized my parents loved me enough
to TEACH through the discipline. I can tell you now, that I didn't get my ass
spanked or switched a single time that I didn't deserve it, and I dearly love
my mom and dad both for having foresight to use their discipline wisely
and keep me grounded through my childhood. Through them I learned how
and how not to discipline my kids and I hope they view me with the same
regards now that they are on their own.

I spanked and whipped my kids when I felt the deserved it, and when they
"cried it out" I made it a point to go back to them after a time of reflection,
and explain to them why the got the punishment, and to let them know I
hated having to do what I did BUT............... it always ended in a hug and
me telling them I loved them. When I had to discipline my kids in a public
place, they were taken to the restroom or to the car. I never spanked my
children in the public eye, and if there were occasions when I couldn't avoid
spanking them without having people see it, It waited until we got home or
the hotel room etc.... NEVER IN PUBLIC VIEW !

Even at that, I don't "necessarily" disagree with a parent spanking a child in
public, but a lot of what I see today is downright disgusting for me to observe.
Cussing a child in public, pulling a child forcibly by the arm, or slapping them
in the face is NOT Discipline !!! That comes after having listened to the child
cry and scream at a parent (using the term lightly here) has allowed the
child to annoy the hell out of everyone around them as well as the parent, and
the "parent" finally let's it get to them to the point that they "go off" on the
kid unmercifully, not only embarrassing and humiliating the child, but themselves as
well. At that point, the "parent" is already mad at the world, and doesn't care
how it looks to those around them.

It's a phrase thrown out a lot as sarcasm in those times, but it's really true.
People should have to pass some kind of examination before being allowed
to reproduce.
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Old 06-24-2014, 02:46 PM   #16
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwylie View Post
As a father of four I know how easy it is to lose your temper (13, 10, 7, 3). The primary differences between abuse and discipline are:

1. Is the parent in control of themselves when engaging the child for the offence?
2. Is the point of the discipline to restore the relationship with the child after an actual offense or is it just "pay-back" for making me look bad in public, etc.?
3. Discipline itself is humiliating but it does not HAVE to be humiliation. Abuse is always and only humiliation. This is not the same as yelling at a child who is about to run in front of a moving bus or stick a fork in a light socket. Discipline is done privately so as to avoid taking the dignity of the child.

As a Christian I am commanded to discipline myself and my children. That discipline takes many forms but the key to it IMHO is the heart of the parent. Acting out in rage is not restorative. It actually divides the parent/child relationship. I have had to apologize to my kids many times before because I did not have the right frame of mind when engaging them after they had actually done something wrong or when they have offended me personally and not a moral or ethical or behavioral "rule of the house".

As far as drawing a line goes, I would say that they moment you are angry with your child you are unable to spank, admonish, or administer correction. While any actual offense must be addressed, it does not need to be addressed in the middle or Wal-Mart parking lot. Cooling down give you time to address the offense in an adult manner and determine if the offense is actually that or if it was just your kid being a kid.

That's my two cents.
Well said.
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Old 06-24-2014, 02:55 PM   #17
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

I have 2 girls ( 22 and 9) that have been disciplined according to who they are. My oldest I could just give her "the look" and she knew to straighten up immediately, while the 9 year old is the type that pushes you to "that point". It is so hard not to go ape shit on her a$$ but I never disciple out of anger. Sometimes I have to walk away to cool down first and get a hold of my anger before I can speak to her.

When I disciple my child in a restaurant I will take her outside and get down on one knee and look at her in the eye and explain why she is outside. I then ask if she will be able to behave when we go back in, because if we have come back outside again she will receive a spanking. Very rarely do we ever have to return outside but on the occasion that we do I will get down on her level again and look her in the eyes and ask her why we are there. I also explain to her that we had a deal when we walk in last time and she didn't do what she was suppose to so know I have to spank her which I didn't want to do. After her spanking we wait until she has finished crying and grad her composure before we go back in.

I have been complimented many times from strangers and other adults about how I talk to my children and how I get on their level to talk to them and to discipline them. My wife and I never threaten our children or tell them the traditional "What til your father gets home."

My wife and daughters are my everything!!
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Old 06-24-2014, 03:46 PM   #18
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

I have only "popped" my son one time. He was doing something that could get him seriously hurt. (Jumping off of the couch when he was 1 years old.) Ever since that time, all I have ever had to do was kneel down to get eye-level with him, and tell him to stop in a very stern voice, and he complies instantly.

Of course he's only 3 years old, so I'm sure there will be some testing of the waters in my future.
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Old 06-24-2014, 03:58 PM   #19
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

My wife and I are different she counts to three then spanks I warn once and then spank. My daughter tests my wife and she doesn't test me because she knows daddy will spank me the next time I do that. After I spank her I usually look her in her eyes and I ask her why I spanked her. She will tell me why and I will correct it if needed. I will then hug her and let her go. That has worked for me so far.
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Old 06-24-2014, 04:30 PM   #20
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Default Re: Where do you draw the line between parental discipline and child abuse

If my son does something that warrants a spanking while we are in a public setting, i take him somewhere and spank him. We use varied forms of discipline but the main thing is that the punishment must fit the offense.
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