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Reply #197: There are degrees of abuse. [View All]

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Exiled in America Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-10-07 03:13 PM
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197. There are degrees of abuse.
Edited on Fri Aug-10-07 03:25 PM by Exiled in America
Full disclosure: I grew up in a household that believed in spanking, and spanked fairly frequently, but never to the point of bruising, bleeding, etc.

All things being equal, I agree with all your arguments in this thread. However, there are certainly different degrees. For example, your experience of being spanked until bleeding (which is just a plain and simple beating) is clearly unacceptable.

Other people talking about swats on the behind are kind of on the other end of the spectrum. And we need to be careful while having this discussion not to paint everyone with the same brush. Someone giving their child a swat on the behind MAY be practicing disciplinary approaches that are less effective and even more problematic. Someone beating their children until they bleed deserves prison. There is a difference.

One important point I want to make comes from my own personal experience. It isn't always just about whether a parent "spanks" or not. It is also about why the parent spanks, when they spank and how they spank.

Why: If a parent spanks a kid for simply being a kid, that is one of the most scaring things a parent can do. Much of the spanking that happens to kids comes from parents who expect their kids to behave above their development level. Spanking a young child for being forgetful or messy is expecting a young child to act above his or her development level. It is incredibly harmful to discipline children for being guilty of nothing other than acting their appropriate developmental age. It is unfair and can make a child feel like their are impossible expectations that he or she can never meet. It can create feelings of failure in the child or make the child incapable of believing that his parents ever really love him - because he/she is constantly "messing up" at things that he/she can't control.

Don't be confused - I'm not saying a young child could articulate feeling this way until later. But the feelings can still be there.

When: too many parents spank immediately while they are still angry. They often don't take enough time to cool down and make careful decisions about what kind of response is appropriate. Children, especially young children, are particularly sensitive to this. They know very clearly when their parents are angry. And parents have a more difficult time carefully sensing the needs of their children when they are angry. This is a bad time to get physical.

How: swatting a child on the backside is not necessarily life-scaring behavior. It may not be "best." But it also probably isn't grounds for taking children away. However, "tools" used to inflict extra pain, causing brusing, bleeding or intense trauma - that classifies as a beating. Period. And it doesn't matter if "your dad" did that to you as a child and you "turned out just fine." I always laugh at the people who say they "turned out just fine" - that's a pretty subjective judgement and one with which I would frequently disagree. :) Either way, its a beating just the same. And its constitutes abuse warranting intervention.

Moreover, there are lots of ways in which spanking can be misused - spanking too frequently over every little thing, spanking far beyond what is age appropriate - these are all things that can do great developmental harm to a child and have lasting emotional affects.

In other words - there are hundreds of hundreds of reasons not to spank and very, very few reasons to do so.

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