- Family and Parenting»
Ways You Are Supporting Child Abuse And Don't Even Realize It
Our Culture Supports Child Abuse
Just like our culture makes excuses for rapists and allows a lot of rapists to roam free, our culture often supports child abusers. Rarely do they see jail time (unless the child dies), even when children have bruises or are asking adults for help.
It's so ingrained into our culture that you may not even realize how certain things you say or do encourages child abuse.
1. Stop Telling People To "Control" Their Kids
You can't control another human being. That's just life.
If someone tried to control their elderly mother. That would make them psycho.
If they tried to control their girlfriend. Again, they would be psycho.
But we use this word "control" your kids like it's something every parent needs to do.
Child abusers are obsessed with the word control. They are fixated on whether or not their kids are doing exactly what they ask of them. When you use this word, you are justifying their fixation on power.
I like the word guide better. A parent's job is to teach a child to become a better person and lead them towards good things.
You can't make decisions for them. You can't force them to obey you. Every parent needs to accept to some degree their child will always have something they disagree with their parents about and argue with their parents over.
But they'll probably listen to you about a lot of other things and even imitate your behaviors and attitudes. Because you are their guide.
This is normal.
What's not normal is controlling children. To actually control a child, you would have to beat them until they were too terrified to argue with you or misbehave (in front of your face) anymore. This is what physically abusive parents do.
This doesn't actually work. Most physically abused kids act out more than other kids. They immitate what they see and at home they see violence, anger, and instability.
2. Stop Judging Parents
Of course, the exception to this rule is if you see someone abusing their child.
You're in public and you just want another person's child to stop being loud or whatever. You came out to enjoy yourself and now you're miserable because a toddler is throwing a tantrum. So you go out of your way to try to shame the parents of the toddler who is crying.
This behavior is selfish.
Lots of people act annoying in public. There have been times when I've met adults who talked too loudly or talked to me when I wanted to be left alone.
But when you go out in public, that's just how it works. Other people are there. They might disrupt what you are doing or sit in the seat you wanted to sit in first. You don't get your way all the time with other people around. It's not going to be peaceful like it is when you are home alone.
That parent with the screaming kid is flustered. Even if they don't appear to be visibly so on the outside, I don't know any parent who truly doesn't care if their children is screaming on the inside. They are just talking and gritting their teeth and being patient like they always have to be to get through it.
Humiliating them, taking their picture, yelling at them, it all just adds to the problem.
How could this possibly contribute to child abuse? Because a lot of abusive or borderline abusive adults care a lot about how the public perceives them. They work really hard every day to hide the anger and need for control they hold inside of them. When you mock them, they take out their humiliation on the kid later when they're alone with them and they're usually overly harsh about it.
Maybe most days their abuse is just a light slap on the hand, but today, it might be a smack on the face. Because abusive people hate being perceived as little or inferior and you made them feel this way. So they take the little, inferior person in their life, blame them for the feeling, and take it out on them. It's a quick, easy way for them to get rid of the frustration they feel.
It can take just one time of doing this to someone's parent for them to go home and abuse their kids for the first time.
If you really must step in when a child is crying or being loud, then why not try to help? Why not ask what you can do to make things easier for everyone?
People just want the kid to shut up and they don't care if it's sick or hungry or is crying for any legitimate reason. They just care about their slight irritation.
But if you want to go out in public then you need to accept that there are other people out in public besides just you.
3. Stop Talking About Beating Kids Casually
People say this all the time. "If I had done what you did when I was young, my mother would have beaten me."
Most people who say this weren't actually beaten growing up. They just mean they would have gotten into big trouble with their mother and possibly lightly spanked.
When child abusers hear what you say, though, they agree that children should be beaten, quite literally. They use it to justify, in their own head, why beating children is okay. Everyone says they were beaten in some way growing up, so we all become desensitized to the word and then don't realize when we're encouraging someone to actually beat their kids.
You may think a couple of smacks on the butt is a "beating" and tell someone that they need to beat their kids in order for the kid to behave. But they might go home, listen to your advice, and wind up bashing their kid in the ribs with a baseball bat.
Even when you tell someone to spank their kids more, you need to be careful. They might already spank their kids and by telling them to spank them more, they might start hitting them so hard that they break spoons and paddles.
4. Stop Blaming The Victims
I don't care what a child did. They never deserve to be beaten by an adult.
It's unacceptable to tell someone who was raped that they were asking for it for any reason. It doesn't matter if they were dressed in a skimpy outfit, if they said "yes" and then changed their mind, or if they were walking in the dark alone.
In the same way, a child was not asking to be hit. It doesn't matter if they cussed at you, threw a tantrum, or did something that you specifically asked them not to. All of that is an excuse that child abusers use all the time.
I'm not saying not to punish children, I'm just saying to stop using "bad behavior" as the reason that a child supposedly deserved to be abused.
The truth is, lots of people have kids that refuse to eat their broccoli, but they don't leave bruises on them.
Lots of people have kids who talk back to them, but they don't put them in the hospital as a result.
No adult was ever backed into a corner. The adult has a temper and zero self-control if they physically attack a child. Instead of trying to be patient and teach a child to make better decisions, they lose their mind and smack them for awhile until they feel better.
The crime the child committed is never as bad as the abuse they suffered.
Would we find it acceptable if a police officer beat someone for arguing with them? Then why do people sometimes act like a child needs to be beaten so they'll stop talking back?
You may think this practice is uncommon, but I've seen people on facebook sharing videos and pictures of adults losing it and beating their kids. No one pointed out how horrible this was. It was a lot of people saying,"Maybe he shouldn't have talked back."
Angry mother beats son for participating in Baltimore riots
A lot of people cheered this woman on all over the internet for beating her son for participating in the Baltimore riots. It disturbed me. Where do you think he learned how to be this violent in the first place?
5. Realize That Children Are Not Tiny Adults
How many adults do you meet who throw menus or their food at restaurants? How many of them cry loudly?
How many kids?
A lot. You were one of them once, even if you don't remember it.
Because when people grow older, they automatically stop behaving in certain ways.
People always jump to the conclusion when people write about things like this that they support kids never being punished ever. That's not the case. I support people not overreacting to things that normal children do at certain ages.
Toddlers are going to cry, scream, and throw things. You know why? They have little, underdeveloped brains. It's the only way they know how to express themselves. A parents job is to slowly, over time, teach them new and more productive ways to deal with their feelings.
So when you expect parents to force their kids to act much older than they are mentally capable of being and these parents give in to your pressure, they might grow so frustrated that they turn to physical abuse. It's a quick and easy way to make it stop and all people seem to worry about are quick results, rather than long term solutions to children's problems that might take more time and patience.
Everyone's Responsible For Their Own Actions
It's not your fault, even if you do all these things, that child abuse exists in our society. But by eliminating these things, we can get to the heart of the problem more and prevent child abuse from happening.