Child abuse vs. Parental abuse

The other day at a store I saw a mother and child at a checkout. The situation was tense and the rising tone of their voices began to elicit attention from other shoppers. Suddenly, the woman reached out and slapped the other spitting "you B**** " into her face.

If you have not already guessed, this is not the story of a woman and toddler but of a woman and her 12 year old daughter.

I have heard many arguments for and against corporal punishment. Many people equate the act of spanking with child abuse no matter the incident in question. They argue that to raise a hand to a child who is smaller and weaker is always abuse. On the other hand I neither see nor hear this response regarding children in terms to their parents . Abuse of a parent should be no more acceptable than abuse of a child. Children of any age should be taught early it is unacceptable to strike, slap or call a parent names,

There are scores of article and forums on the net that discuss the dangers of child abuse. Many feel that to ever raise a hand to a child is abusive while others contend that it is an appropriate time honored method of parenting that yields results. It is not my purpose to defend spanking as a routine form of discipline. However, I see older children and teens regularly whose behavior would be considered abusive except for their size or age. I've seen children slap, hit.or punch an adult publicly with no repercussions. I have heard children call their mother's names that would shame a sailor and yet there are no lengthy articles or debates concerning this behavior. Furthermore, I have never seen DSS called in because a tween or teen has struck a parent. What I do see is parents that are literally afraid to discipline their child and instead resort to begging or bribery in public places for fear of DSS. I have heard of children as young as 6 threaten their parents they will call DSS and file an abuse report in order to blackmail a parent into submission. This type of behavior should illicit the same type of public response as child abuse reports. Parents need to establish authority early and quickly if it is going to be memorable. Now, I would never abuse a child, however, I refuse to allow them to be abusive to me either. I also realize the importance of establishing myself as an authority figure to my child.

I feel not setting clear and irrevocable boundaries is irresponsible parenting. After all as parents we are charged with the responsibility of teaching our children acceptable behavior and respect for authority. When a child is 16 and refuses to acknowledge authority routinely skipping school or staying out after curfew many places now have laws holding the parent responsible and who then may be fined or sent to jail for the deeds of their progeny. If a child is allowed to be abusive or disrespectful at five I can guarantee this behavior will continue in life. We must teach them there are consequences to their actions and the earlier the better. The fact is that certain behaviors are not tolerated in society towards authority figures. When a child becomes older if they were to strike a police officer there would be serious consequences and in the same manner as a parent you are the authority figure to your child extreme aggressive or disrespectful behavior to a parent cannot be tolerated. When it does happen it is the parents responsibility to bring it to a quick and final end and ensure that we do so in a manner that will remembered. If a parent has no authority over a 6 year old, I can guarantee they will have no control over that child when they are 16. On that note I do want to point out that I do not promote the use of force in all situations especially very young children. Two-year olds throw tantrums and in the midst of a full blown tantrum they may accidentally strike a parent, this is not an incident for strong measures. The situations I am discussing are instances in which a child purposely strikes a parent or resorts to name calling.

There will be those of you who disagree with me, and those of you who agree. From the beginning of time parenting styles have been as varied as parents themselves. I read articles all the time in which parents waif between promoting their parenting methods and attacking others for theirs. This is simply sad, as parents we need to help each other by supporting more and criticizing less. My purpose in this is to simply say that there are no absolutes in life or parenting and to present the other side of this argument. I do not promote corporal punishment to be used routinely, however I do feel there are those rare occasions it is appropriate and even warranted. There may be many out there who have parented without ever being forced to this extreme measure. Personally, I am the parent of six children, most of which are adults now. Of my six only a few were ever disciplined in this way while there are also a couple of the children who never were. Situations vary as do children's temperament. What I did do though is to establish in no uncertain terms that there were acceptable ways in which to treat me and unacceptable ways to treat me. I would not tolerate being treated in an abusive or extremely disrespectful manner by my child.Breaking of that one explicit mandate would result in a quick and immediate response.

My motto with the kids was

"There are few rules here but .. those are non-negotiable!"

What is your opinion of the use of corporal punishment?

  • Yes- I think it is a useful method of discipline.
  • No- I feel corporal punishment in any form is abuse
  • Maybe - There are rare occasions in which the use of force is appropriate.
See results without voting

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Comments 9 comments

HattieMattieMae profile image

HattieMattieMae 5 years ago from Limburg, Netherlands

Yes this is true the State only allows you to spank a child with your hand and no marks can be found on their bodies. Most of them are supposed to learn parental techniques to handle their children verbally. Yet that does work with positive families, where negative ones don't because they are just doing to their parents what their parents are doing to them. They are usually abused verbally, emotionally, physically, or sexually, and not getting therapy, or help they need. Otherwise they are being neglected. Fortunately the example of parents creates the behaviors in children how they handle the situations. Most parents only raise their children the way their parents taught them. It's not always good and keeps going down the line generations. The laws are just made because someone went and lobbied for it, and it was passed. Fortunately it has gone out of hand, and parents can not discipline all the time because they will go to jail. Some states are even putting parents in jail for kids not going to school. Part of this is teachers are getting a lot of heat, so they are going to town on parents. Yet it is the whole system that needs to be changed whether it is the state, parents, or teachers. It's to easy to blame just one part. It's the whole of the community that raises our children.


wendi_w profile image

wendi_w 5 years ago from Midwest Author

Exactly, I do not condone abuse, but I made it very clear to my children early on I would not tolerated it either. I considered behavior like that to be adult-like, therefore I would react as I would to anyone who would treat me in that manner. The consequences would be quick and final. I understand the courts position, however there are times when a parent may need to choose a more extreme form of discipline. The state should not get involved in these cases unless they then plan to punish the child in the same manner


phoenixarizona profile image

phoenixarizona 5 years ago from Australia

There's a saying here in Australia "one bad egg rots the whole barrel." I think it applies in most countries with the abuse claims. Sure those laws are placed to protect children from would-be abusers, but the people who pay attention to these laws often end up powerless with their children. Those who don't follow the law are still abusing children. So those who parent well are being punished because of those who would rather give a smack down rather than be a teacher.

You're right, we hear all too much about child abuse, but not enough about the delinquints out there who are abusive toward their parents.

The question is though, when a child as young as 6 starts swearing and name calling, it makes one wonder where the child learnt it from.

I try desperately not to judge other parents because as you said every parent is different and their style of parenting varies, but the 'system" is realy making it difficult on those parents. Parents are not allowed to discipline for fear of being called abusive, yet these parents then have stones thrown at them for not being able to control (for lack of a better word) their irate teens.

This is a great hub wendi-w. Thankyou for bringing this topic out in the open. It is definitely one that requires discussion.

Have a great day!

Phoenix


wendi_w profile image

wendi_w 5 years ago from Midwest Author

Thank you it was my purpose to show another side of the issue.


Ebey Soman profile image

Ebey Soman 5 years ago from USA

I agree with the poll, there are cases where the use of force is appropriate to discipline a child but in most cases, loving care and calm approach can solve 99.9% of the problems.


wendi_w profile image

wendi_w 5 years ago from Midwest Author

That was the point of the hub. If used frequently corporal punishment loses it's effect but if used only in extreme cases it remains a method in which to effectively stop a behavior before it becomes ingrained


BrodyGram 5 years ago

This was an extremely well written and thoughtful article Wendi! You definitely have a talent for writing. I work with special ed/ more severely behaviorally damaged children and specifically in an "in school/out of school" classroom that serves "typical" kiddos throughout the entire school district. I serve K-12. The children I am seeing in both our school (alternative school) and in my ISS program is children who are out of control both in the classroom as well as in their homes and /or neglected as well. The kids that are trying to "run" their classrooms are also the very ones who "run" their homes. The parents are either busy/passive/self -absorbed or too tired to parent. It is easier to let the kid do what they want and so these children have trouble with authority figures in other settings such as school. I also realize that it is difficult and unfair to judge parenting styles and yet I can't help but turn my focus every single time to the parent as the major problem with the child's presenting problem. Some times I wonder whether it would be more fruitful to re-train a parent before even trying to "fix" the kid. I am sorry but when I see a five/six year old cusssing at an adult and giving them the finger I blame the parent that allowed either allowed that child to be in SOME environment whereby they were exposed to this behavior or is allowed to behave that way at home with no consequences. Parenting takes A LOT of time, patience an EFFORT and unfortunately I am just seeing too many parents who are just too tired/unmotivated/selfish to put in that time and then wonder why their child is so rude to adults. I, obviously am not saying that every child is an angel. I have yet to have seen a halo in my classroom. But I have seen the miraculous results of CONSISTENT, LOVING AND PATIENT discipline turn a child around and see the respect that they show from the teacher/adult/parent that BESTOWS that labor of love onto them. Well done mama.. you did a great job with your children but I am also here to tell you that it is NEVER too late AT ANY AGE to turn that unruly behavior around. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and allowing dialogue on this subject. :)


wendi_w profile image

wendi_w 5 years ago from Midwest Author

Thank you for your comments. I was a day care provider for a number of years and saw behavior toward parents from small children that shocked me speechless. These same parents would comment on how on earth as a single mother with so many children I was able to keep order. People would comment on how well behaved my own children were. My children are anything but angels, especially to me ( read some of my entries) however none of my children would dare be disrespectful to me in public or call me a name in public or private. Of the six, I believe only a couple ever even pushed the idea. Not surprisingly many of these parents so concerned about the disrespectful manner in which their children acted were the same parents absolutely opposed to spanking or physical punishment of any kind. Most of these parents took no initiative and resorted to bribing, and pleading with their children to behave . They did not set themselves up as an authority figure and made it clear to me and obviously to their children that they had none


Roseann 3 years ago

I'm a parent that gets hit and threaten by my 4 yr old.My daughter use to be well mannered,well bahaved and I have tooken care of many children.I never had any problems with children I care for.In 2011 my daughter's father decided to go to court and get visitations with my daughter becuz of the girlfriend he was with.Ever since this my daughter's behavior became extreme,violent,aggressive, cussing and sexual behaviors. My daughter diclosed some sickening stuff that her father and his household did to her.I try to let the courts know but it turned ugly.In 2013 I finally put my daughter in therapy that specializes in sexual abuse.My daughter disclosed in Therapy, courts got the report but stated the Therapist is an Intern so her statement doesn't matter.Now my daughter threatens to cut me up and cut my neck and she hits hard.Everytime the father picks up my daughter she kicks, screams and verbalizes why she dont want to go.The courts have stated I have mental issues and I'm making false accusations. Than once the courts got Therapist its know my daughter is 4 and children at this age make up stuff.No I believe every word my daughter has stated plus the anger she has now is awful and disturbing.Her father was abusive towards me and her and that's why I left the especially him trying to kill me. I had some proof but not enough for courts.Things do have to change,I'm afraid my daughter is going to end up mental ill or hurt someone serious bad.

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