Child rearing/Abuse

Twink (
Fri, 2 Jan 1998 18:34:25 -0500 (EST)

Finally! Someone recognizes me in this thread!

At 01:50 PM 1/2/98 -0700, Mark D. Fulwiler <> wrote:
>> I hate to admit it, but I agree with Hara Ra.:) Being in child abuse
>> myself, it is my recollection that physical abuse only taught the child that
>> whoever is stronger makes the rules: the grand lesson of dictators!
>I think we disagree on what constitutes child abuse. I do not consider a
>few whacks on the butt after a kid has just about killed a cat (an
>action that I believe would be considered a crime in all states) to be
>abuse. Now if this father hits his kid 5 times a day for any old reason,
>well, then I might agree with you.

My point is that if things get that far, there is probably no hope for the child
anyway. Some corporal punishment might avoid him from doing it in front
of his parents again, but the child has already demonstrated he has little
value for life and is willing to lash out at innocents. My question: since most
kids don't do this sort of thing, why did he?

>I also believe that parents should have broad discretion regarding how
>they raise their kids, not because they are stronger , but because they
>are paying the bills! If that includes an occasional whack on the butt,
>I'm not going to interfere.

I never claimed I'd interfere. There is a difference between believing
something is wrong and believing it should be forcibly prohibited. I
often think wholesale slaughter of politicians is wrong, yet I doubt I
would lift a finger to stop it. (OK, I would cheer it on!:)

>> Also, when I was hit, I never thought I was wrong, I just thought I needed
>> to get even.
>Well, were you wrong? If so, I guess being hit was not effective. When I
>got belted, it was always for a good reason and it impressed on me (pun
>intended) the fact that if I misbehaved there would be unpleasant

At least your parents were consistent then. My own experience, and not
mine alone (I also mean seeing how other abusive parents behaved) was
that punishment was inflicted for any number of reasons and almost never
fit the crime in its intensity and duration.

>> In the example that Mark D. Fulwiler used, of a kid kicking a cat into
>> unconsciousness, we should ask Why did the kid think this would
>> "work" as a solution to not getting his way? I think it is because the
>> kid was spoiled already. I've noticed that parents who abuse tend
>> also to spoil. They go through cycles of heavy abuse and spoiling
>> permissiveness, often because they feel guilty about the abuse.
>> The child then grows up with unreal expectations -- he or she does
>> not know if any encounter will be injurious or indulgent.
>Well, maybe. However, there are excellent parents who sometimes have
>problem children despite their best efforts. I would be interested in
>why the kid kicked the cat, but wouldn't you agree that the kid should
>get some punishment (and a severe one at that) for this really vile act?

I agree here. Of course, something should befall the child. I just hate to
see these things brought up as isolated incidents. Sometimes, parents
do have a problem child and only massive intervention might ever change
that, but I feel in most cases this is not so. I think the family is the
ground for how the child deals with the rest of the world and life. Ergo,
that's why I ask why that child would do what he did.

>Shouldn't actions have consequences? If not, I'm afraid this awful
>little kid may be in Juvenile Hall at age 14 for murder.

Do you really think a few beatings from now 'til then will change his
path in life?

>> I believe a few books have been written on these phenomena.
>If you can cite one, I'd appreciate it.

The one that first comes to my mind is Mazlish and Faber's _How to Talk
so Kid's will Listen and How to Listen so Kid's will talk_ (or is it vice
versa?). It proved helpful in my life.

Anyway, would you be willing to admit there must be some limits on the
ways and intensities of force used by parents? I'd hate to see someone
say, "Hitting is okay, therefore the next time Junior steals a strawberry
from the fridge, I'm going to beat him into a coma."

Daniel Ust