Is it discipline?

There are many studies done on child abuse specifically in physical abuse. Many believe that child abuse in most instances is a learned behavior; it is a type of child rearing that can be predicted, treated, and prevented if society is committed to doing something about the problem. Many of the researchers that have studied this particular type of abuse mainly focus on the fact that when a child has been physically abused, he or she might raise their offspring in that same particular manner with the impression that this is the proper way to raise a child. Whereas for other children it might be the opposite where they see physical abuse as harm and would not want to inflict pain on their offspring.

All children need discipline and that means finding a way to help children learn important limits, as well as participating in problem solving skills they will need in the future. This takes more time and effort than hitting or yelling but will leave both parent and child happier and may even stop a problem before it starts. Discipline is the process of teaching a young child the difference between right and wrong. The goal of discipline is to help the child to change his/her random behavior into controlled and persistent behaviors. Discipline should also be reinforced with positive role modeling. Discipline does not always have to be physical.

On the Contrary, abuse is any non-accidental physical injury inflicted on a child by a parent or caretaker deliberately or in anger. The type of abuse includes physical abuse, physical neglect, emotional abuse and sexual abuse of a child under the age of 18 years. The definition of child abuse varies among cultures, this creates a problem. We need to have one common definition among all cultures. What is child abuse? How do we differentiate between reasonable discipline and child abuse?

The criteria for identifying physical abuse are much clearer than for any other type of abuse or neglect. The distinction between parent’s rights to discipline their children by spanking and beatings that become outright cruelty or life threatening should not be hard to make an assessment. The majority of child abusers are parents. Mothers are more likely to be implicated than fathers, largely because they spend more time with the children. Most ACS cases are open under the mother’s even if the father was accused as the abuser. Abusers are usually people who don’t feel good about themselves, are angry at the world and take it out on their children.

Contrary to what one may believes, severe punishment does not have a lasting effect on behavior. A severe punishment also increases the possibility of incidents of abuse, as it becomes more difficult for parent to judge the severity of the punishment. It is dangerous to use spanking as a method of discipline when your anger is out of control that can lead to child abuse.

Child abuse is a tough thing for a child to talk about. It is confusing, embarrassing and scary. If they have been abused over the years, they may view it as acceptable and never seek help. Parents need to be aware of their anger issues and be able to communicate with their children when disciplining without force. It also helps to take a few minutes away from the child before re-acting.

It is important to remember that there are many methods of disciplining your child and that punishment is only one. If in good faith, you suspect a child abuse in New York State, you can take action. Call 1-800-342-3720.

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