There was a video clip on facebook that was being shared recently that showed a parent chasing down her child, hitting her with a belt in order to teach her a lesson. You could hear the child’s screams, not just from pain but from the terror of facing their parent. The running commentary after the clip were all comments supporting the parent’s actions because they were trying to teach her a lesson after she did something potentially dangerous (without realizing she was doing something dangerous) that she found on the internet. The video was posted asking the question, “do you realize that this is not okay?” This of course, evolved into a “spanking versus no spanking” series of comments and that never really ends well.
I think one of the challenges that faces these types of scenarios is that there is no clear-cut definition of when something is considered “discipline” and when something is considered abusive. There is no magic line that is agreed upon. Some countries and cultures have laws that say “no spanking” since any form of corporal punishment is considered abuse. Some countries allow parental judgement to rule and parents are seen as justified in their quest to force their children to behave or be good kids by utilizing physical aggression or physical re-direction.
Inherent within this problem is the fact that child abuse is considered in a very singular fashion. If you hit your child and leave bruises or if you hit your child repeatedly or if you injure your child – that might be abuse. But similar to domestic violence and elder abuse, taking such a narrow viewpoint does not adequately explain the dynamics involved in an abusive relationship. In fact, any abusive relationship is much more than just a physical event. These relationships involve a series of behaviours and attitudes and actions that when put together as a whole are abusive.
Child abuse is very similar to domestic violence in many ways. Domestic violence is any form of physical or sexual force (whether it be actual or threatened or implied) in an intimate relationship. Child abuse can be any form of physical or sexual force (whether it be actual or threatened or implied) in an intimate relationship. A parent child relationship is very emotionally intimate but because we equate intimacy with sex, we have a tendency to not view it in that manner.
Domestic violence is often a series of behaviours that are demonstrated through a pattern of controlling and / or assaultive behaviour. Child abuse is often a series of behaviours that are demonstrated through a pattern of controlling and / or assaultive behaviours. Yes we need to control our children to some extent but the actual point of discipline is “to teach”, not to control. By teaching them how to control themselves, we ensure they have the skills and knowledge necessary to reach their goals and aspirations as they grow.
Domestic violence can include physical assault, emotional and psychological abuse and sexual assault. Child abuse can include physical assault, emotional and psychological abuse and / or sexual abuse / assault. Just because a child is not considered to have the same rights as an adult (seriously, they’re owned by their parents in most countries), does not mean we should be using assaultive means to teach them how to be good adults. Assaultive and abusive behaviour is damaging to others – we know that. We know it hurts vulnerable people especially. Children are a vulnerable population.
Domestic violence can included threats to harm family or loved ones, (including pets), to destroy belongings or cherished items and / or valued property. Child abuse can include threats to harm family or loved ones, (including pets), to destroy belongings or cherished items and / or valued property. This is not the same as taking a toy away from a child that is being disobedient or aggressive. But breaking little Susie’s doll because you’re mad at her so that you can punish her for how you feel is not any different from an abusive partner who breaks their significant other’s cherished family heirloom in order to punish and control their partner.
Domestic violence can include attempts to make another person feel humiliated, intimidated, frightened and / or make powerless. Child abuse can include attempts to make another person feel humiliated, intimidated, frightened and / or make powerless.
Domestic violence may include a single act of abuse or it may be a series of actions that appear trivial when looked at independent of the other behaviours but collectively, form a pattern of abuse. Child abuse may include a single act of abuse or it may be a series of behaviours that appear trivial or minor when looked at independent of other behaviours but collectively, form a pattern of abuse. When we continue to view the actions from parents and caregivers independent of each other we continue to allow and miss the numerous vulnerable children that may need our help.
For more information, please visit; http://www.victiminfo.com/#!child-abuse/c1ihl