What is child abuse?

Here is another hot topic of discussion.
Adrian Peterson was recently suspended indefinitely from the NFL for taking a switch and beating his child to the point where he had marks on his body.
He still stands by his decision that he did it out of love for his child and that he sees nothing wrong in giving his son a “good old fashioned whooping”.
He’s now being branded as a child abuser when all he was doing was teaching his son a lesson–a lesson he was often on the receiving end when he was younger.
Many feel he is wrong for putting his hands on his child. Many feel like he did nothing wrong.

What’s a switch?

Anyone it wants to.

Eedjit. :unamused:

In this case, AP used a branch from a tree.

I did a quick google, seems he striped leaves off a tree branch to whip his 4 year old son. As well as stuffing leaves in his mouth, To cut him on the legs, thighs, buttocks, and scrotum. To whip him between 10-15 times, leaving defensive wounds on the poor kid’s hands that were still readily apparent even a week later when photographs were taken.

Perhaps if its acceptable to Al Qaeda, or Pol Pot, but in 2014 a person shouldn’t need to ask if this is good parenting or child abuse.

I did a quick google, seems he striped leaves off a tree branch to whip his 4 year old son. As well as stuffing leaves in his mouth, To cut him on the legs, thighs, buttocks, and scrotum. To whip him between 10-15 times, leaving defensive wounds on the poor kid’s hands that were still readily apparent even a week later when photographs were taken.

Perhaps if its acceptable to Al Qaeda, or Pol Pot, but in 2014 a person shouldn’t need to ask if this is good parenting or child abuse.[/quote]

I believe most if not all will agree that the end result of the “good old fashioned whooping” was a bit extreme, after people were able to see the pictures.
However, the discussion is whether or not the act of whipping or spanking or any form of physical punishment to children is considered “child abuse”.

When this story broke out and I read that AP was getting suspended indefinitely for child abuse because he whipped his boy with a switch, the first thought that came to mind was WOW. Yea, the pictures show he went a little overboard on the punishment. But this brings up the debate as to whether a parent is even allowed to punish his or her child in today’s society. Is it only child abuse if the child ends up with marks all over his or her body? Is it child abuse to force your child to stick a bar of soap in his or her mouth?

However you view this stuff, it perpetuates a fearful, risk averse mentality in the child, as well as an unhealthy belief in hierarchy based on the ability to best others, either physically or mentally so pragmatically speaking, you’re hardly raising leaders of men by kicking the shit out of your sons, just a bunch of drones who always defer to the greater power.

I would roughly define child abuse as treatment that leaves lasting psychological and/or physical trauma. Woolly I know, but it covers mental and emotional abuse, which can be just as damaging or more damaging than physical abuse. While many of us survived physical punishments as children without it apparently causing us long-lasting harm, there are plenty of ways of disciplining children without raising your hands (or switches) to them, and there’s less risk of teaching children that violence is a normal and acceptable way of dealing with undesirable behaviour. The problem is that many parents were themselves abused as children and naturally copy their own parents’ behaviour. It’s a difficult cycle to break. Personally, there’s no doubt in my mind that what Adrian Peterson did to his son was abuse, but he probably received the same or worse as a child, so he thinks it’s normal and desirable if his son is to grow up well.

This is true. He has already stated that he was on the receiving end of the switch when he was younger as well.
That said, treatment that leaves a lasting psychological or physical trauma is relative because some children are weaker than others. both physically and mentally. Maybe just the act of screaming and yelling at a kid “NO” when he tries to touch fire will cause his fragile psyche to crack.

So the question I ask is if you’re not allowed to inflict physical pain in the form of spanking or beating with a stick or switch or whatever, how do you discipline your child?

The question is more ‘how do you discipline a child who is accustomed to physical pain?’ How do schoolteachers deal with those kids? Here’s the answer: they stop bothering with them.

A little overboard? :eh:

I’m just curious what the kid did. Set fire to the house?

No, it really doesn’t.

What petrichor said.

Punishment doesn’t even work properly. It doesn’t work on kids, adults, or animals. It certainly produces a desire to avoid punishment, but the association between punishment and the undesired behaviour is weak; it’s equally likely that the object of punishment will associate it with something completely unintended. This becomes more obvious when the severity of the punishment is out of all proportion to the “crime”: the lesson “taught” usually reduces to something very simple: dad (or mum) hurts me, therefore dad/mum should be avoided. This might become extended to: “dad/mum hates me”, or “dad/mum thinks I a worthless person”.

There is absolutely no need to beat seven shades of crap out of a small kid - yours or anyone else’s. Frankly, I don’t know how anyone could bring themselves to do such a thing.

True, schoolteachers can just stop bothering with them…
Unfortunately, parents do not have this luxury.

In my opinion, and this is ONLY my own personal opinion and not the gospel…

I feel like punishment, in my experience, down to its core is meant to instill fear.
Fear of committing the same action that resulted in the punishment.
The fear of getting punished is what prevents a child from repeating the same mistakes over and over.
Ultimately a parent is judged on whether or not he or she was a good parent by what kind of man or woman the child grows up to become. Agreed?
One can beat the shit out of his son like AP’s dad did to him when he was younger, but at the end of the day, AP credits his father for instilling a sense of discipline in him and for turning out to be the successful man that he is today. While not all forms of punishment bring the same results, it all depends on the child, right?

So the question is if you don’t inflict physical pain on the child as punishment, what can you do to punish the child?

He’s hardly a successful man if he beats the shit out of his kid. Pathetic, weak coward would be a better description.

[quote=“Leftywang81”]In my opinion, and this is ONLY my own personal opinion and not the gospel…

I feel like punishment, in my experience, down to its core is meant to instill fear.
Fear of committing the same action that resulted in the punishment.
The fear of getting punished is what prevents a child from repeating the same mistakes over and over.
Ultimately a parent is judged on whether or not he or she was a good parent by what kind of man or woman the child grows up to become. Agreed?
One can beat the shit out of his son like AP’s dad did to him when he was younger, but at the end of the day, AP credits his father for instilling a sense of discipline in him and for turning out to be the successful man that he is today. While not all forms of punishment bring the same results, it all depends on the child, right?

So the question is if you don’t inflict physical pain on the child as punishment, what can you do to punish the child?[/quote]

Punishment is bullshit.
99% of the time it’s only meted out to satisfy the emotional need of the parent.

Education is the actual goal, and a kid can just as easily, or even more easily, understand the error of their ways if they are made to understand the REAL consequences of their actions, rather than ameliorating their behaviour out of fear or dread.

Exactly. If an action does not already have clear consequences, there is no need for a parent to invent one. General socialisation is easily done with shaping - a consistent series of trivial rewards and punishments. A kid who eats his carrots gets praise and a hug. A kid who insists on running around screaming at restaurants gets taken home early and thereby misses dessert. Clear cause-and-effect that would apply equally to an adult (try doing the same thing and see if they let you order dessert).

If a kid simply fears some action, like a cowed animal, he will misbehave again as soon as the threat of punishment is removed. Teachers have to deal with that sort of shit every day: a kid who gets beaten into submission at home knows it’s OK to play havoc where the parents aren’t around.

But perhaps lefty is of the Viz school of parenting.

Top Tips
Parents. To pacify your screaming child in a supermarket be sure to smack them soundly across the legs while twisting their arm and dragging them around the aisles.

Quite. How exactly is someone “successful” if he’s a fuckup parent?

Exactly. If an action does not already have clear consequences, there is no need for a parent to invent one. General socialisation is easily done with shaping - a consistent series of trivial rewards and punishments. A kid who eats his carrots gets praise and a hug. A kid who insists on running around screaming at restaurants gets taken home early and thereby misses desert. Clear cause-and-effect that would apply equally to an adult (try doing the same thing and see if they let you order dessert).

If a kid simply fears some action, like a cowed animal, he will misbehave again as soon as the threat of punishment is removed. Teachers have to deal with that sort of shit every day: a kid who gets beaten into submission at home knows it’s OK to play havoc where the parents aren’t around.

But perhaps lefty is of the Viz school of parenting.

Top Tips
Parents. To pacify your screaming child in a supermarket be sure to smack them soundly across the legs while twisting their arm and dragging them around the aisles.[/quote]

Just so, sir. :thumbsup:

PLUS, the kid gets imprinted with the idea that in life, there are situations in which it’s acceptable to introduce violence in response to non-violent situations.

And you KNOW that ain’t right :no-no:

ETA: Oh yeah, and I frigging LOVE this one: Well I got smacked, and I turned out alright!
Really, Sport?
Here’s a hint: If you’re defending smacking your kid, then you most decidedly did NOT turn out alright!!!

[quote=“Leftywang81”]

So the question I ask is if you’re not allowed to inflict physical pain in the form of spanking or beating with a stick or switch or whatever, how do you discipline your child?[/quote]

It depends a lot on the child’s age, personality, likes and dislikes. The threat to withdraw a much-desired activity (always followed through) focuses many young minds. If you spend a lot of time building a loving, happy relationship with a child, disapproval and disappointment can be enough. Most children want to please and be loved by their parents, which is why so many children protect parents who abuse them. Young children can often be distracted and diverted. Appeasing bad behaviour leads to spoiled, badly behaved children in my experience, not failure to punish misdemeanors.

Right. It teaches the kid all sorts of bad ideas about violence, not least the idea that’s it’s OK to hit someone smaller and weaker than you if you think you’re right and they’re not.

Boys who are routinely beaten by their father often go through a very specific pattern. There is first a period of complete submission and sense of powerlessness, but when they get bigger, they thrash the father badly enough to make him stop. This is a huge ego-trip, and they come to the realisation that violence is a very effective way of getting what they want. They therefore go through life using violence as a first resort, even when it’s clearly not necessary, and often proceed to outrageous excesses (eg., murder) when they discover society really doesn’t sanction violence. Criminologist Lonnie Athens has done some interesting research on the subject.

Petrichor’s post above nails it. There’s really not much more to add.

When I was a little kid my dad used to do this eyebrow-raise thing; that was enough to make us stop whatever we were doing. I don’t think he’s ever hit anybody in his life.

No offense, but I sincerely hope you change your mind about this before you have kids of your own.

I can’t stand watching parents hit their children. I understand that some people do it in a constructive, responsible way, but that is not the case from the majority of incidents I’ve seen. It may make sense when the child is too young to understand and you’re dealing with a life-or-death situation (poking fingers in electrical sockets, for example), but hitting a child who is able to communicate and reason basically means you’ve decided he is too dumb to distinguish right from wrong and satisfactory from unsatisfactory without the threat of violence.

I’ve seen parents who hit their children get angry when the children hit others. But how exactly do you explain to a three year old: “It’s ok when adults hit you, but it’s not OK when you hit other people.” Not to mention, I’ve seen people hit their kids to teach them a lesson about not hitting kids. My parents taught me it is never acceptable to hit anybody unless my life is in danger. I’ve never hit anybody. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.

Now, to take a step back, I won’t automatically judge a parent who spanks/hits a child to teach a lesson, but it’s all based on context. Is that the only way a child will understand he or she was wrong? Is there a contingency plan for if the child isn’t afraid? What does the parent plan to do when the child is old enough to hit back? Is the parent in control of his or her own hitting? (I’ve seen a few people go rather overboard without even realizing it.) Is the parent offering enough positive reinforcement at other times to make up for the huge explosion of negative reinforcement that is hitting?

Unfortunately, few people think about these things before taking the hand to a child.