Sunday, January 17, 2010

What is the difference between a parent ';punishing'; or ';abusing'; you?

What's the limit? How can you tell if a parent is just punishing you like any other good parent or pushing the limit?What is the difference between a parent ';punishing'; or ';abusing'; you?
punishment is for a specific act, abusing is not. abuse can happen for any reason or absolutely no reason.

an effective parent that punishes lets the child know why he/she is being punished and the conditions of the punishment; punishment isn't always physical. efffective punishments are meant to stop the unwanted behavior and to make the child think. this parent is trying to guide and direct. these parents know what is reasonable although the kids will never think so.

abuse can be verbal and physical. punishing never needs to include verbally abusing the child. verbal abuse includes telling the child negative/hurtful things and/or cursing at him/her which are mentally and emotionally damaging. no guidelines here.

the physically abusive parent can fly off the handle for any reason or no reason, caused by the intended target or not. the abusive parent is not trying to guide and direct and the child never knows when to expect or what to expect. plus this child gets all kinds of nasty, abusive language hurled at him/her too. no guidelines here.What is the difference between a parent ';punishing'; or ';abusing'; you?
Good parents don't punish, they discipline. The word punish always gets misused and confused with the word discipline which means ';to teach.';

The difference is that punishment is controlling, shaming, constantly reprimanding for minor things, criticizing you rather than your behaviour, using physical harm and using verbally abusive comments. Punishment is negative and disrespectful. Parents who punish tend to react and expect kids to follow their rules because they are threatened or bribed. That is pushing the limit.

Discipline is teaching kids to internalize self-discipline, giving positive alternatives, rewarding and acknowledging good efforts and behavior, physically and verbally non-violent. It is positive and respectful teaching.

A good parent never hits or verbally abuses. It's always about verbal give and take communication so that you and your parent both come to an agreement and use mistakes as learning opportunities.

Good parents use discipline that is completely directed at the kid's behavior, never the kid.
Abuse is anything that can potentially damage a child, physically or emotionally.

Abuse actually CAN be for a reason, but this is in the instance of overly disciplining, when a parent just thinks they are disciplining instead of abusing.

Often it's for no reason at all, sometimes it happens in the case of a paranoid parent who thinks the child has done something very bad but is not really that wrong. Sometimes a mentally ill person abuses a child. Very often non-consistent discipline can turn into abuse.

Physical abuse is counted as abuse when it leaves a mark, or you are hitting with an object, because in many States it is only legal to smack a clothed bottom with an open hand. Physical abuse can, when very severe, include punching, kicking, burning, whipping, cutting, etc...Also, responding to a child in ANGER, when spanking, instead of to teach, and doing it over and over again to intentionally cause pain is mild abuse. Caning is mild abuse, but wasn't recognised as such in, say, the Victorian times. Paddling is mild abuse.

Verbal abuse is repeated insults, belittling, and emotional blackmail. E.g. ';You'll never ever amount to anything';, ';You've got no friends';, ';You're the fattest, stupidest, ugliest child ever';, and ';You're trash';, are all examples of verbal abuse.

Sexual abuse is rape or assault, and doesn't have to be by a family member.

Hope this helped. Bye! xxxxx
A good question.

Are you referring to parents hitting their children? If so, then there are places in Europe where this is deemed abuse, no matter what the reason the parent may give for striking the child.

According to Wikipedia, in the USA, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines child maltreatment as ';any act or series of acts or commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that results in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child. Examples of acts of commission include physical, sexual, and psychological abuse. Examples of acts of omission include failure to provide (physical, emotional, medical/dental, or educational neglect) or failure to supervise (inadequate supervision, or exposure to violent environments.)';

All that is quite vague, really, since ';harm'; can be defined in all sorts of ways. In some cultures, the ';harm'; of allowing a child to behave in an immoral way is considered much greater than the ';harm'; inflicted on the child by a severe beating. In the USA and some areas of Europe, things are a bit less clear: beating a child with an iron bar would always be unacceptable, but it's less clear if a parent spanking a young child because they jerked their hand from their mother's and tried to run out in the road would be considered abuse.

If you believe your parents are getting close to the line between discipline and abuse, I would suggest that you are not the best person to make a decision on whether they have crossed that fuzzy line. It's possible you could be seeing their actions as being far harsher than they are in reality, but also possible that you might have become so accustomed to unreasonable behavior on their part that you now fail to see just how bad it is.

I don't think anyone here is going to be able to give you a checklist or some sort of sliding scale which will indicate to you if your parents are abusive. It seems to me that the only way you are going to clear this up is by you talking to someone - a teacher, school counselor, a doctor or a minister you trust - explaining what's going on at home and asking their opinion on your parent's actions.

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