# Is hitting your kids child abuse?

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Doesn't look like we have a logic/morality forum, but I wanted to bring this up. What do you think of it?

Some countries have completely banned corporal punishment of kids by their parents, such as Norway. And, some other countries like Kenya and the Dominican Republic think is it a perfectly acceptable practice which fosters good well disciplined/well behaved children. While some agree that there is a certain degree that you shouldn't hurt your kids too (such as giving them bruises and broken bones) some believe that any form of hitting your kids is total child abuse.

I was in one class where a girl was talking about how in the Dominican Republic they lack emergency phone numbers, and your parents can hit you even if you are adult. She cited one example of how a small child in the united states where she was living with his mother from the Dominican Republic stole a piece of candy and was hit by his mother over 50 times, and that they tried to call the police, but for some reason (I don't quite remember) she wasn't arrested. I don't care if he literally burned the house down, any woman who does that should receive a 10 year sentence if you ask me.

What about studies done it? While a lot of parents agree that beating your kids would cause them to be abusive later in life, they say some physical discipline is ok. Ever hear of Richard Kuklinski, the mafia hit man? He received regular beatings when he was a kid, and actually his father he beat one of his siblings so badly he died and told the police that he fell down the stairs. Richard died a few years ago, but he was in jail for multiple life sentences and freely admits to have killed over 100 people. While I agree what his father did was total child abuse, what about hitting them at all?

Is there any reason at all to hit your kids? Why can't you just take away their privileges/give them timeout/ground them. In worse case scenario's call the police, unless of course they try to stab you or something, in which case defend yourself, but that is unlikely when they are 4 to 16 years old.

And, if you catch your child smoking pot in his room when he is 16-18 and he tells you to screw, you've already failed as a parent and didn't raise them

correctly.

With these studies, how do they rule out that the reason the child is abuse is because he was hit earlier in his life? What if say he gets into an argument and beats someone brutually, how do they know that being hit as a child was the cause? What if he had a fight with his girlfriend, or someone he loved died, or he got fired from work, or is it debt to the bank, his car got repossessed or he got kicked out of his apartment, how can they narrow it down to just getting as a kid that was caused him/her to be violent?

Edited by layman77

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What about studies done it? While a lot of parents agree that beating your kids would cause them to be abusive later in life, they say some physical discipline is ok. Ever hear of Richard Kuklinski, the mafia hit man?

I don't think that there is any question about this subject. It is wrong to beat a kid no matter what. That doesn't mean that its wrong to hit a kid though. Hitting and beating are very different things. By "hitting" I'm talking about a cuff upside the head or a smack on the rump with a belt, not so hard as to leave a bruise though. The mere comment "Wait until your father gets home" was enough to set me straight in a hearbeat because I knew he had no reservation about hitting me with the belt. It is the fear of the belt that does the work. But if you never use it then its a paper tiger. I also remember comming home at 4:00am one morning. My mom gave me a good cuff upside the head. I never did that again!

As far as beating your kids would cause them to be abusive later in life - Please note the difference between beating and corporal punishment. They are not the same thing. My parents never beat me, never! But I was scared to death whey my grandmother took out the fly swatter. She used that to give be a smack on the butt. Ouch! I don't consider that a beating though. I did learn how to hide those fly swatters pretty good though.

Is there any reason at all to hit your kids? Why can't you just take away their privileges/give them timeout/ground them.

If that was sufficient then there'd be no need for hitting a kid. More often than not I'm sure that works. But there are kids for which nothing like that will work. Suppose you give a kid a "time out". That only means that they're supposed to sit still and be quite for a certain period of time. That doesn't mean that they will. It may be next to impossible to get them to do that. Depending on the child, grounding them only means that they will sneak out. In many cases all this does it to make the kid more cautious, i.e. Next time I won't get caught!

And, if you catch your child smoking pot in his room when he is 16-18 and he tells you to screw, you've already failed as a parent and didn't raise them

correctly.

A parent can do everything exactly right and yet their one kid may still be disrespectful. It can simply be genetic, a part of his personal make up. It doesn't always mean that they were raised wrong. Ever hear of the proverbial black sheep of the family? This usually refers to one child for which the parenting, which worked fine on all the other kids, didn't work on that one kid. This isn't always the parents fault. Some people are just born that way. I recall a friends kid who wouldn't listen to anything their parents said. They would always say Don't make me come over there! or I'm warning you one last time! but then they'd never follow up. I'm sure that a lot of the time they kid may be bipolar or have ADHD or ADD. When I was a kid they didn't know anything about that kind of stuff.

Pete

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i think its fine if its just a smack but full on beatings, especially if dealt with a weapon like a belt, should be considered abuse.

i was smacked as a kid, pretty often if i'm honest, for stuff like going outside certain limits (like the end of my street or the neighbourhood) without telling my parents where i was going or when i first discovered the joys of swearing. pretty trivial things really and i quickly learnt to judge what was acceptable behaviour(basically, if i would get smacked for it).

it was always a much bigger punishment than, say, being grounded. i mean, i always had comic books to fall back on there. or lego.

as we would need a clear definition i'd propose openhanded smacks(but not to the head) are fine, closed fist or any implement is not.

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I'd have to dig up some research, but I've heard that hitting your kids is more likely just to make them abusive later in life.

Now, don't get me wrong the kid can turn out good if he gets hit when he's a child. I got hit until I was around 13. But, you can also be a lifelong cigarette smoker and die at ripe old age. It's definitely not guaranteed you will die early but it definitely increases the chance of you getting lung/throat/mouth cancer/ephysema, etc. You can also run across the highway at rush hour and not get by a car, but that doesn't mean it's perfectly safe, it's just means you were lucky.

What about the same principle we apply to crimes, the punishment should fit the crime, I know someone who only hits his kids if they hit someone else.

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To be honest, I have trouble accepting the fact that this issue needs to be debated at all. Hitting a child, in any way, shape or form, is assault. Try any of those “educational assaults” on anyone other than your own child, and you might find yourself in jail. And rightfully so. A child should be given the same protection from physical assault.

Many, many children are raised without being hit, and no, they are not all running around like wild animals. People need to figure out how that's accomplished. It should be considered a basic and fundamental parenting skill.

Is it really necessary to have scientific studies to determine that assaulting children is wrong and harmful? Isn't it screamingly obvious?

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To be honest, I have trouble accepting the fact that this issue needs to be debated at all. Hitting a child, in any way, shape or form, is assault. Try any of those “educational assaults” on anyone other than your own child, and you might find yourself in jail. And rightfully so. A child should be given the same protection from physical assault.

I agree, but why do so many parents not get it?

Well, technically, by american law, assault is the threat or implication of physical harm, battery is actual doing of it.

Many, many children are raised without being hit, and no, they are not all running around like wild animals. People need to figure out how that's accomplished. It should be considered a basic and fundamental parenting skill.

It's going to keep happening until it's outlawed, which it isn't yet.

Is it really necessary to have scientific studies to determine that assaulting children is wrong and harmful? Isn't it screamingly obvious?

Apparently not to the lots of parents who do it, and approve of it. That say "It made me a better person and my kids need it to." As far as I know there are no laws that say you can't hit your child in my country, there are certain things you can't do. You can spank them with your hand. You can't pull them by the hair, or hit them with an object such as a frying pan, but you be able to with a belt, switch or fly swatter. Is hasn't been completely banned in the US in other countries, and many parents are of the opinion that it fosters good children.

This also brings up another issue. Do you think it's sexual abuse to insist your child kisses or hugs you or his grandma or anyone else? I definitely think so, and growing up I told my father not to and he still would.

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I think its strange that that sort of behavior would be illegal if done to an adult and yet some see it as perfectly ok to do to a child?

seems a bit Backwards to me, I think its some Adults that deserve a good slap!

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To be honest, I have trouble accepting the fact that this issue needs to be debated at all. Hitting a child, in any way, shape or form, is assault.

What effects do you think yelling has on a kid? Do you believe that there are no occasions in which it could cause psychological damage? Parents yelling at each other can certainly cause psychological damage to their children but we can't exactly arrest parents for it, nor should we.

Try any of those “educational assaults” on anyone other than your own child, and you might find yourself in jail.

If you tried to ground an adult you'd go to jail for false imprisonment. Sending a child to be without supper cold be viewed by some as child abuse too.

Is it really necessary to have scientific studies to determine that assaulting children is wrong and harmful? Isn't it screamingly obvious?

No. It is not screamingly obvious at all. How could one universally judge parents when children's behaviour is so radically different between individuals? And its not as if a parent who would spank their child would ever need to do so, or need to do so more than a few times, after which the fear of it would make them think twice. If it is a matter of choosing between smacking them on the behind or knowing they're heading to being drug addicts then I'd take the belt out myself it I needed to. But I'd sure hate to do it. If I ever had to spank my kid (if I had one) then I'd wager that a little piece of me would die. But if I believed with all my soul that my kid's life would be better for it then I'd pay that price. I sincerely doubt it would ever be a problem though. And I doubt that spanking a child would be neccesary in the long run since a kid would get the point across fairly quick. If it didn't work then I myself would cease doing it. Thank God I don't have kids!

But I know that I'd never like a law banning parents from "spanking" their kid.

Pete

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What effects do you think yelling has on a kid? Do you believe that there are no occasions in which it could cause psychological damage? Parents yelling at each other can certainly cause psychological damage to their children but we can't exactly arrest parents for it, nor should we.

Since when does yelling cause physical pain?

No. It is not screamingly obvious at all. How could one universally judge parents when children's behaviour is so radically different between individuals? And its not as if a parent who would spank their child would ever need to do so, or need to do so more than a few times, after which the fear of it would make them think twice. If it is a matter of choosing between smacking them on the behind or knowing they're heading to being drug addicts then I'd take

Do you have evidence not hitting your kids would make them drug addicts? Kids usually try drugs because of peer pressure.

But I'd sure hate to do it. If I ever had to spank my kid (if I had one) then I'd wager that a little piece of me would die. But if I believed with all my soul that my kid's life would be better for it then I'd pay that price.

I don't care what your soul says, provide some evidence it fosters good children, studies show it's more likely to make them abusive, whether it's beating or hitting. See this:

http://www.stophitting.com/disathome/effectsOfCP.php

But I know that I'd never like a law banning parents from "spanking" their kid.

There are already some in some countries.

It would be helpful to examine the prison population. In the 70's and generally before that parents were big on corporal punishment, how many kids who grew up then are in jail right now? Did hitting them make them better people? If so, why are they in prison? See this also

http://www.naturalchild.org/research/corporal_punishment.html

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Is there any reason at all to hit your kids?

A lot of the reasons people do this is usually not very direct. Most of the time it may be stress, failure, ect. Also, some parents are just not rational because of illness, or speical needs.

Like people said above; there's a big difference between a smack and 40 lashes.

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There is no doubt that violent and abusive parenting correlates strongly with children becoming violent adults. However, we are left with a nature versus nurture query. Do the children become violent because they learn to be violent, or do they become violent because they inherit genes for violence?

I suspect it is a bit of both. I also doubt that non-violent parents who administer physical punishment of a more moderate nature will cause their children to become violent.

I tend to look at these things from a biologist's viewpoint. If we look at other mammals, we find that mild physical admonishment is very common - indeed quite normal. A cuff with a paw, or even a bite, is used to provide negative reinforcement for undesirable behaviour, and especially behaviour that leads to the offspring entering a dangerous situation.

That leads me to think that for a human to administer mild physical punishment, such as a smack, is not going to cause harm. After all, we are 'natural' animals too. It is more excessive physical punishment, leading to actual physical trauma, that is so bad.

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What effects do you think yelling has on a kid? Do you believe that there are no occasions in which it could cause psychological damage? Parents yelling at each other can certainly cause psychological damage to their children but we can't exactly arrest parents for it, nor should we.

I agree. Yelling can cause psychological problems. So can critisizing, belitttling, demeaning, etc. etc. None of which would put anyone in the adult world behind bars. But assault is not tolerated. That protection should be extended to children.

And its not as if a parent who would spank their child would ever need to do so, or need to do so more than a few times, after which the fear of it would make them think twice.

My personal experience, and what I have observed in families that utilize assault, is that it becomes a handy tool that is wielded regularly. My father started with the spanking, then smacking, and then as we got older, full blown beatings. The beatings involved being pinned to the ground and punched with a closed fist, full force, repeatedly, on the shoulder and the thigh. My mother used slaps, belts and wooden spoons.

When considering assault as a child rearing technique, you should know that there is one guaranteed result. As the child becomes an adult, beneath the facade will be a seething rage. And beneath the rage will be a deep sorrow. I know. I went through a few years of very intense therapy where these emotions just exploded and poured out. Not just once, but over and over until it just stopped.

If it is a matter of choosing between smacking them on the behind or knowing they're heading to being drug addicts then I'd take the belt out myself it I needed to.

What if you were to discover that raising a child in an assaultive environment actually contributed to a propensity towards drug abuse?

If I ever had to spank my kid (if I had one) then I'd wager that a little piece of me would die.

That's the little voice to which I would pay very close attention.

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I tend to look at these things from a biologist's viewpoint. If we look at other mammals, we find that mild physical admonishment is very common - indeed quite normal. A cuff with a paw, or even a bite, is used to provide negative reinforcement for undesirable behaviour, and especially behaviour that leads to the offspring entering a dangerous situation.

We aren't animals. Animals also regularly kill and rape each other, should we permit that too? Just because it happens in nature doesn't mean humans should practice it. Mammals also, without training, regularly dump their bodily wastes anywhere it's convenient. We should use our highly evolved brains to think of better solutions, rather than going on instinct.

Edited by layman77
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We aren't animals.

We are too animals. What would EVER make you think otherwise?

Animals also regularly kill and rape each other, should we permit that too?

Well, leaving aside for the moment that we kill more animals as a species than any other animal on the planet, can you please name one example in the animal kingdom BESIDES humans where rape happens?

Just because it happens in nature doesn't mean humans should practice it.

Humans are not separate from nature, so again, I'm not sure of your point.

We should use our highly evolved brains to think of better solutions, rather than going on instinct.

I don't know what you mean by instinct, but I agree that we should always be looking for better solutions. Regardless, there are times when hitting is not abuse. It's simple really. A calm assertive leader who leverages their physical dominance to take charge is not the same as an incompetent parent who takes out their frustrations on the child.

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To layman

Instinct is not right or wrong. Instinct is just a behavioural trait we need to take into account when making decisions. If we can work with instinct to achieve a better outcome, that is all to the good.

As far as physical chastising goes, millions of years of evolution would not have placed this behaviour in mammals if it were harmful.

One of the problems with many studies into the effects of physical punishment is that they tend to look at extremes. I am not aware of any rigorous scientific study into the effects of mild physical punishment on children. I seriously doubt that it would show any harm.

The experience stevo reported is another matter entirely, and stevo has my total sympathy.

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Since when does yelling cause physical pain?

Since when did I said it did? You seem to think that parents that would spank a kid always hit them for punishment. If so then I don't see anyone here making that assumption.

There is no doubt that violent and abusive parenting correlates strongly with children becoming violent adults.

What does that have to do with spanking a child??? There is a huge difference between violence/abuse and spanking.

My personal experience' date=' and what I have observed in families that utilize assault, is that it becomes a handy tool that is wielded regularly. My father started with the spanking, then smacking, and then as we got older, full blown beatings. The beatings involved being pinned to the ground and punched with a closed fist, full force, repeatedly, on the shoulder and the thigh. My mother used slaps, belts and wooden spoons.

[/quote']

Did that lead you to being a person who abuses children?

What if you were to discover that raising a child in an assaultive environment actually contributed to a propensity towards drug abuse?

What if the speed of light really did depend on the observer's frame of reference. If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we'd all have a wonderful Christmas. Let me know when someone proves it then we'll talk.

Until then let me ask you this - What if you were to discover that raising a child who was never spanked led' date=' in general, to adults who are not decent people, crime prone and more susceptable to drug addiction? What if you learned that children who weren't spanked after they struck their parents more often than not ended up in jail in the adult life?

As I said, we can speculate all we want. My father never beat me and I actually have no memory of him ever hitting me. I behaved because I knew he wouldn't take crap from me. When he raised his voice I listened! If I knew that he was actually a paper tiger then I'd have probably paid less attention to him. My grandmother did smack me quite often with that damn fly swatter though. But I never grew up to be violent by any means whatsoever. In fact I'm quite a pacifist. I even doubt that I'd even spank my own child. But I'll be damned that I'd want the government tell me if it was right or wrong to do so. After all I'm not parent and I'd have to actually be a parent and have a kid before I'd see if it was neccesary. And even then I might never have a kid who would need it either. I now understand my grandmother using that fly swatter though. I hear I was a bit of a helion when I was a tike.

When considering assault as a child rearing technique, you should know that there is one guaranteed result. As the child becomes an adult, beneath the facade will be a seething rage.

There is a lot of exageration in this thread. There seems to be no distinguishing between beating a child and merely spanking them. I was spanked. I had friends that were spanked. None of us grew up to be violent or had any seething rage. But if I were beaten that would be a very different story.

That's the little voice to which I would pay very close attention.

That's not a voice. That's a guess made before I ever knew what its like to have kids, never mind having a kid who was a real trouble maker.

Come on people! Let us be more clear on the difference between merely spanking a child versus beating the crap out them huh? Sheesh!

Pete

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As far as physical chastising goes, millions of years of evolution would not have placed this behaviour in mammals if it were harmful.

This is a good point, and what I believe is that the success of traumatic parenting techniques is entirely environment/time dependent. If we wanted to raise boys that successfully defend their tribe from the tribe over the hill, we would probably use quite traumatic methods of parenting to “toughen them up for reality”. In another more peaceful environment, if these same boys where expected to become more academic and diplomatic, then they would more likely be prone to failure than boys whom are raised to be of more physically dangerous character. So, in short, the right degree of traumatic learning is fine if it is successful within the intended environment and period of time. A measured smack on the bottom to stop a small child from running in front of a car might be more effective than a calm lecture. A calm lecture might be a more successful method with a child you are minding.

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This is a good point, and what I believe is that the success of traumatic parenting techniques is entirely environment/time dependent.

The term trauma suggests that there is an injury involed, either physical or psychological. I don't see the need for anything which could cause trauma.

A measured smack on the bottom to stop a small child from running in front of a car might be more effective than a calm lecture. A calm lecture might be a more successful method with a child you are minding.

Very well put!

Pete

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The term trauma suggests that there is an injury involed, either physical or psychological. I don't see the need for anything which could cause trauma.

When I use trauma, I mean anything that makes a child feel a little upset to feeling downright angry and sad. It can be traumatic falling off a bicycle, but it can also teach you to be more careful while riding a bike. If we didn't suffer some trauma, we would be too reckless in life. Like Evil Knievel... If we suffer too much trauma, we'd end up like shell shocked soldiers. The point being, finding the right amount (as always) of trauma for an individual is the key.

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I don't think you folks are giving kids enough credit. Children are pretty resiliant little buggers. They get bumped and bruised all the time on the playground. Eventually most kids will run into a bully or get into a fight and get smacked around somewhat. Getting the rare spanking at home isn't much compared to the crap kids have to take from their piers. I recall getting dropkicked in the eye by a kid who was wearing steel toed boots which followed getting the wind knocked out of me when he socked me in the stomach first. I remember those times infinitely more than the occasional smack on the rump with Grandmother's fly swatter.

My point? The appropriate use of spanking won't hurt a kid psychologically. Sending him to the school playground will do much more damage from the school yard bully.

So what is it that you pacifist "Don't lay a finger on the precious children!" parents do in order to prevent those bullies from ever letting them lay their filthy hand on your kid? Suppose your kid comes home and tells you that the school bully is out to get him and he's scared? What do you plan on doing when that happens? Keep in mind that the school bully is going to cause much worse emotional scars then a mere spanking could ever do. Those scars can last a lifetime.

Pete

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Since when does yelling cause physical pain?

Mild Physical Pain will be gone in a couple of minutes. Psycological pain from mental abuse can last for years/ever.

Like people said above; there's a big difference between a smack and 40 lashes.

Quite.

Come on people! Let us be more clear on the difference between merely spanking a child versus beating the crap out them huh? Sheesh!

Pete

Quite - no-one agrees with child abuse or hurting them, but a small physical shock will work when a child wont listen to reason is perfectly acceptable.

.....................................................................................................

Example - a toddler wants to shove a metal fork into the electric socket.

Do you:

1) Sit him/her down and explain to him about electricity and how you will get killed if you stick metal into the electrical socket and that you wouldn't want that to happen because you love them.

2) Administer a gental but strong enough to shock tap on the wrist before the fork gets to the socket accomponied with a sharp "NO" for emphasis.

3)Both of these starting with answer two and then proceeding to answer one.

?

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only number 2, theres no need whatsoever to "Tap" your child.

I have 3 year old daughter and have never lifted a finger against her ever, in fact I rarely tell her off.

my Wife will tell her off regularly and also give her a smack.

the result is that when its just her and I shes as good as gold and doesnt play up at all, when my wife is around she does play up, and whats more she doesnt listen to her either.

but when I say something to her she does it immediately and happily without a problem, and on the rare occasion that I do have to be firm with her (such as in your example), a single word and a look from me and shes in tears!

no need at all for physical force to be used.

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....my Wife will tell her off regularly and also give her a smack.....

....a single word and a look from me and shes in tears!....

She sounds like a really nice child.

....no need at all for physical force to be used....

Your wife seems to disagree with you slightly as she administers physical punishment. ?

I think it is probably case dependent. When I was younger, I would rarely get hit at all, a coupe of times when I did I still know I didn't deserve it. Howvever , sometimes I did deserve it or I got away with things through being cleaver that I shouldn't have done. My Brother on the other hand got hit lots. He was more mischeivious and didn't seem to think about getting caught for things, so he got caught more. Sometimes he deserved his punishments, although I think that sometimes Dad went over the top with him. My parents soon worked out that with me, the threat of physlical punishment was a good deterent (I am a bit of a coward), but with my brother, he didn't care so much and would rather get smacked than be sent to his room (he hated being sent to his room as he always wanted to got out to play with his freinds). For me, being sent to my room alone was NO pushiment at all as I spent alot of my time there through choise anyway.

Just my personal opinion, but It should be a parental descision, not the government's, as to how ones child is chastised. Obviously there should be (and are) organisations in place to protect victims of abusive behaviour and bad parenting.

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only number 2, theres no need whatsoever to "Tap" your child.

I have 3 year old daughter and have never lifted a finger against her ever, in fact I rarely tell her off.

my Wife will tell her off regularly and also give her a smack.

the result is that when its just her and I shes as good as gold and doesnt play up at all, when my wife is around she does play up, and whats more she doesnt listen to her either.

but when I say something to her she does it immediately and happily without a problem, and on the rare occasion that I do have to be firm with her (such as in your example), a single word and a look from me and she`s in tears!

no need at all for physical force to be used.

Are you assuming that since it works with your daughter then that implies it would work with all children? Is there a need to put your child to tears?
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Is there a need to put your child to tears?

I think you may be mis-understanding him a little being fair here - He isn't making his daughter cry out of spite or malous - she see's he is disapointed in her and she cry's - that's what children (the best ones) do. There is no need for further punishment because she is a good kid who does what she is told by her father and obeys and tries hard to be in his favour.

Not all children are like this though.

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