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Author Topic: child abuse?
T. Analog Kid
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Having counseling sessions with my wife, started yesterday. The couselor was going over things that she would have to report to authorities despite client privilege.

"Any corporal punishment other than an empty, open hand to the buttocks."

When did this happen and why wasn't I notified?

We don't spank the kids often, and when we do it's just that, but holy cats! Growing up my *standard* punishment for messing up was "the belt". I was *twice* paddled by school administrators without even parental notification, much less approval... and I'm not that old (35).

The thing that horrifies me is that, had I merely followed in my parents' footsteps, not knowing or hearing any different, I might be losing my kids right now because my counselor would be required by law to report me to CPS!!!

I'm still just in shock over this. Does anyone have any thoughts?

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Ela
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Using the belt or the paddle to discipline a child is child abuse, IMHO.

And, yes, my father used "the belt" on me when I was a kid. All it did was make me fear my father.

Kids were paddled as punishment at my high school in Miami. Having come from a school district in NY where a teacher would have been fired for putting a hand to a kid, I have to say I was appalled. I personally was never paddled, but I knew kids who were.

**Ela**

[ August 08, 2003, 10:59 AM: Message edited by: Ela ]

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Sweet William
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Yes. Never, ever under any circumstances get any government agency involved with your children.

They suck.

They don't help.

They are completely worthless.

They take away your children for no good reason. They put them in foster care where they are beaten, abused, molested and then lost.

Haven't you been watching the news?

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asQmh
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There are parents who use a belt, and then there are bullies who abuse with belts. There's a difference.

Q.

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katharina
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Hmm... no belts. Nothing. It only increases the power and distances the enforcer. There's nothing good that can be accomplished by changing the mode of punishment from a swat on the bottom to a belt.

With your hand, you know how much force. When holding an inanimate object, you can (and often do) hit much harder than you can with just your hand.

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Olivet
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I was also spanked with "the belt", usually on a bare behind, and I agree that it probably IS child abuse. There is no need for punishment to be humilliating, I think.

We also do the open-handed smack on the bottom, usually only in cases where the child has disobeyed us and put himself in physical danger (running away from mmmy acros a crowded parking lot would do it).

As you may have guessed, we were in the anti-spank camp until Liam came along. Mild physical discomfort was the only thing that had any impact on his actions at all. Now, though, time outs seem to be the best choice for most stuff that requires discipline, because through maturity, he has begun to CARE when we disapprove of his actions. Before, he just didn't. It took a whack to the bottom to get it through his littel head that what he'd done was dangerous.

It made me uncomfortable, though, and I'm glad the need for it seems to have passed.

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T. Analog Kid
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I guess what I'm really questioning is... why wasn't some kind of publicity made of this. As I stated, we try to avoid spankings altogther, but why was what was standard for me up through high school (and many of my friends are just now having their first children, so, again, it's not like there's been some huge generational shift) suddenly criminal activity? I want to know how I was supposed to know!
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KarlEd
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Well, I certainly believe that if there is a behavior that a councelor is now required to report to "the authorities", expecially if that behavior has been acceptable in the lifetimes of people now living, the requirement should be preceeded by a massive public education campaign, complete with an explanation of the consequences.

And I think the determination of when a parent has stepped out of line in caring for a kid should never be left in subjective hands.

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Olivet
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See, that's the bad thing. There really wasn't any 'announcement'. I actually reported a mom who twisted her son's ankle and kicked him (this happened in my office in Chicago). The kid was unusually thin, and had a black eye, as well. The person I talked to said they couldn't do anything unless I saw her hit him with a closed fist. [Dont Know]

There really isn't a universal standard, and whatever standards there are are haphazardly enforced, at best.

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Fitz
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I dunno, my mom is European, and she used a thin branch to whip our asses when we were bad. Damn, just thinking about it makes me cringe, but it was an effective deterrent for misbehavior. At least for a couple of hours.

I never hated my parents for more than an hour because of it, and I certainly never thought about reporting them. I think you'd have to have a pretty messed up parent-child relationship before you involved the authorities. Certainly not after a spanking.

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zgator
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quote:
Man acquitted in spanking

NAPLES -- A 43-year-old man has been acquitted of child abuse for spanking his teenage daughter with a belt.

A jury took less than an hour to find William O'Brien of Naples innocent of felony child abuse.

"I'm happy with the outcome," O'Brien said after hugging his wife and 14-year-old daughter.

O'Brien said he swatted his daughter, who was 13 at the time, once with a belt in May 2002 after she cursed at her mother.

O'Brien said he ordered his daughter to her room and warned her not to come out or he would spank her. After she stormed out of her room and slammed the door, he said, he hit her once with a belt.

School friends talked the teen into reporting what happened the next day. She told a school nurse, who reported the incident to case workers with the state Department of Children & Families, O'Brien said.

O'Brien, a financial consultant, was arrested six months later.

Although prosecutors offered to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor, O'Brien said he felt compelled to fight the felony charge that carries a maximum five-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.

I donít personally plan on using corporal punishment, but Iím not ruling it out. Iím sure I wonít be using a belt or anything else, but I donít believe that the use of one automatically makes you guilty of child abuse.

If my kid called the authorities on me after being spanked, I might be very tempted to use a belt.

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Maethoriell
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The belt..*shudders* [Angst] [Angst]

I hated it so much and was so scared of my parents. I dislike it when parents have to use violence to get to their children. They only grow hatred and fright inside the child.

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Belle
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I was never whipped with belt, though I got swatted with a switch a time or two. Nothing that ever left marks.

I'm with Olivet, as usual. [Big Grin] We rarely spank. I think the times the twins have received a swat on the bottom (always open handed, and on a diapered behind) can be counted on one hand. It's only done for blatant disobedience or something life-threatening like Olivet said. Daniel got it a few weeks ago for spitting at me when I told him NO about something. He got a swat, and a talking to about what happened, and he hasn't spit again.

Spanking should never be used as a primary mode of punishment, and it shouldn't be used beyond age five or six or so. It should only be used to "get the kid's attention" and let them know you're serious, rather than to harm or intimidate.

That's my opinion, on the matter anyway.

Edit: A funny story I should add. I'm having trouble lately with the twins staying in their car seats. That's obviously in "life threatening" category. I've had to pull over on the side of the interstate before to put them back in their seats, and I've told them that the car doesn't move if they aren't strapped in properly.

The other day Daniel refused to get into his seat. He just stood there and said "No" when I told him to. I said, "Daniel, you have to ride in your seat. Now get in now, before I take you back inside and spank you."

Abigail then looked at me and yelled "No! Mama! No bankin my Naniel!"

So I said "Abigail, Daniel has to ride in his seat or he's going to be in trouble."

She turned around and said "Naniel! Get you seat, Mama goin' bankin you!"

He got in. [ROFL]

[ August 08, 2003, 04:00 PM: Message edited by: Belle ]

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Ryuko
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Rarely got spanked, but it wasn't the spanking that really taught me. My mom has this strange power over me, and I can't stand to see her get hurt, or be mad at me. The only thing that a spanking would teach me is how badly I deserved it. I believe I was spanked perhaps once, and learned my lesson.

My mom really knows how to raise kids, IMHO... [Big Grin]

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TwosonPaula
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What is the purpose of spanking? I think spanking (used rarely) is supposed to link "doing something wrong" with "ouch". Otherwise a spanking is useless, unless you just want your kids to think you're kidding.
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TwosonPaula
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Belle: related funny...

My bro and sis-in-law are 5 and 7. Once my SIL (Joelle) was running on the furniture when her G'ma told her to sit down. She didn't listen. 2 times later, the G'ma threatened a spanking. Soon she saw Joelle running on the couch again and started in there. Joelle's brother, Jonas, is yelling "Sit down! Grandma's coming!" in a freaked out voice. G'ma came in and spanked Joelle. Jonas cried.

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T. Analog Kid
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I've had that happen, too... where one kid is in trouble and the other kids cry for them... very weird, but I think it means they care about each other more than my siblings and I did [Smile]
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EllenM
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I've had 5 children and they are all different. Just giving my youngest the evil eye in church will mellow them out for about 20 minutes. But I have used spanking(opened hand, once across the bottom) to get their attention, when their ears seem to be clogged.

My oldest daughter, the bi-polar one, boy was she a challenge and a ring leader. I've used jumping jacks, one day she had to do 500, she just wouldn't stop smarting off. I figured she was depressed and had just enough energy to argue, but not enough to exercise and get some feel good endorphines going.

I've use a sapling,when the 3 oldest were teen and preteen, for outright "rebellion". I learned to look them in the eye, tell them what was expected, have them repeat it back and then say "Yes, mom." This way they couldn't tell me they didn't understand, or hear.

Then if they got caught disobeying, I would send them out to cut a twig as big as there little finger. Then I'd probably wack them twice. My 20 year old marine has since told me, the worst part of that was going out to find the sapling and anticipating the spanking. He said it would have been easier just to get it over with. It always did take him about half an hour to come back with a suitable twig.

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mackillian
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I got smacked by the belt a lot. Also got smacked around by the belt buckle. Dad used to get his leather belt out and crack it when he wanted to intimidate me. Sometimes he'd do it just for kicks. Apparently I made a pretty good "deer caught in headlights" look. Getting beaten with the belt usually accompanied being thrown across the room or against the wall.

My father brags about this memory (meaning he'll tell the story to whomever he can):

I was four and apparently whining about something. Dad couldn't get me to shut up, so he kept shouting at me, which in turn made me louder. Dad finally lost his temper, picked me up, and threw me across the room.

His take on it, "I got her to stop whining, didn't I?"

[Roll Eyes]

The instances that Olivet and Belle talked about with only spanking their kids when it's to get their attention (ie, not painful, just some mild discomfort) or when they've done something physically dangerous, that's fine. However, I work with kids in my job. The kids I work with have serious mental illnesses and behavioral problems. I can't lay a hand on these kids. I never would, either, but spanking is never an option. As for when they attempt to put themselves in physical danger, I DO have to physically manage them, but I've been trained in proper restraint methods that don't cause injury.

Anyway.

If I ever saw a parent hitting a kid with a closed fist, I'd report them. I'm a mandated reporter. And a closed fist is NEVER a way to raise your child. Despite their own behavioral issues, kids really do want the love of their parents.

And Sweet William, the state isn't ALWAYS bad. [Grumble]

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Sweet William
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And Sweet William, the state isn't ALWAYS bad.

Okay, sorry. The state sucks at childcare 99% of the time. Try to never let any child you care about EVER go in to foster care. [Frown]

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mackillian
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Look.

Sweet William, I've worked for the state. The percentage of good foster homes is higher than you seem to think. If a child is being abused, I'd much rather send them to a foster home than to keep them in an abusive and/or dangerous situation.

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Sweet William
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Look Mackillian:

I personally know friends and family who have been good parents that have been threatened by self-righteous state "childcare" workers.

I have personally reported incidents of abuse, and nothing has been done (I no longer report anything to the government).

I have seen children ripped away from good grandparents and fathers only to go back to a crackhead mother for the 95th time.

Frankly, my experience is that for the most part, government child care is an oxymoron.

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TheTick
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SW, the state is usually trying to make the best of a bad situation. Any time kids are taken away it's messy and sad and will hurt someone. But it's often better than the alternative.
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TheTick
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Further, for every failure, there are probably 10 success stories out there. It doesn't help that the job these folks (like mack) have to do is often sad and thankless, so they are understaffed. Also, for every good report there are untrue reports (my wife's cousin was upset that her mom forbid her from seeing her boyfriend, so faked a bruise with make up and had a friend call CPS) that clutter the system.
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mackillian
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I've seen horrible abuse and the lasting and continuing effects on these kids. Often, these abused children want nothing more than to go back home, even though it means more abuse.

One kid at the home I worked for last year, he was adopted by a single woman, the principal of his school. She's doing a wonderful job, five hundred times better than the bio mother who abandoned him at a psychiatric hospital six month before he came to us.

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Sweet William
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Further, for every failure, there are probably 10 success stories out there.

Please don't invent statistics. I mean, I know of at least 10 failures personally. I know of exactly one that can be called a moderate success.

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Bob the Lawyer
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SW, are you in the field? I think Mack, who is, would have a better idea of these things than you.
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Elizabeth
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"Please don't invent statistics"

You shouldn't base statistics on your own personal experience, either.

Like Mack, I have worked with severly abused children, both physically and sexually abused children. Believe me, they needed to leave their homes.

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Sopwith
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Okay, out of left field here, but:

Have you ever been in WalMart and seen a passel of kids running amok and just wanted to take a belt to their parents?

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Sweet William
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Bob, please.

We really need to keep a closer eye on these people. For every one of their horror stories that finally hits the papers (you know, dead kids in foster care, lost children in foster care, molested children in foster care), there are probably 10 that get swept under the carpet (how's that for inventing statistics?).

No, I am not "in the field." I'm just spouting anecdotal evidence from my personal experience.

I am sure there are many people who could do the same.

All I'm really saying is:
1. Don't assume that DCFS knows best, because they sure as hell don't.

2. Do anything you can to make sure that no child you care about gets put in the "care" of the government foster care system.

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Bob the Lawyer
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SW The plural of anecdote is not data.

However, we agree that no child we care about should be put in foster care. Ideally it would not be necessary. But sometimes it is.

Do you really believe that people *like* breaking apart families? "Hot dog! I'm going to go up and take away a kid from their evil evil families!"
I guess I just have more faith in people than you do.

I'm sure they make mistakes, and I'm sure some foster homes *are terrible* but they do the best job they can do, and that job is better than doing nothing.

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Sweet William
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Bob, pithy retort. [Wink]

However, I clearly stated that my evidence was purely anecdotal. It has relevance for only me, but my mind will never change on this matter.

I am going to shut up now, because I have thoroughly pissed off the government functionaries, and I'm just paranoid enough to think that they might actually get off their butts and try to track me down and take my babies away.

Joke's on them: I don't have any babies. [Razz]

And yeah, I do think that some of them really try to do the right thing, but a lot of them don't.

[ August 08, 2003, 06:13 PM: Message edited by: Sweet William ]

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Elizabeth
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"If my kid called the authorities on me after being spanked, I might be very tempted to use a belt."

OK, but what if a child is being severely abused? In Massachusetts, a child does not have the right to call DSS, and have them investigate, until they are 14.(this via my therapist friend today)

Is this right?

Mack, correct me on this, but isn't there more of a push now towards group homes, rather than foster homes? There are always at least two people on at a time, and the site is kept under better scrutiny than some foster homes.

Liz

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mackillian
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Nope. It depends on a kid's need for level of care, from least restrictive to most restrictive, all with a child's safety in mind.

A kid who has minimal emotional/behavioral problems can go to a foster home. These are the most recommended placements and best for the kid. They get more individual attention, etc.

Next step up is specialized foster care, with a foster parent (or parents) that have training in helping out kids with emotional/behavioral problems running from mild to medium levels.

After that, a kid goes to a group home, usually for an assessment and/or treatment of the emotional/behavioral problems. I worked in one of these homes as a case manager, did assessments and recommended the child's next level of placement.

If a kid is psychotic, suicidal or homicidal, they end up in a psychiatric hospital until they can be stabilized and made safe. From there, they either go to a group home to transition out or...

Residential placement. This is the last resort. In these places, the kids live, go to school, and receieve therapy. It's the most restrictive but also the best therapeutic milieu. For the kids with very traumatic backgrounds and/or severe mental illnesses, this is often the best place for them.

As for state workers, no one WANTS to remove a kid from their home. However, no one WANTS a child to be abused. Every claim must be investigated.

In Massachusetts, a report of abuse results in a paper called a 51A being filed. Once the 51A is filed, it's investigated before any action is taken (unless a mandated reporter saw something that puts the child in immediate and grave danger). The report is then made either supported--evidence proved abuse did happen--or unsupported--meaning insufficient evidence or what was reported wasn't really abuse.

That help?

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fugu13
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SW: what you just said was, even if it turns out I am completely wrong, and by a huge percentage most foster situations are beneficial, I don't care because I've made up my mind.
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Book
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My parents used a flyswatter on me, but, in retrospect, I can tell that my father really wasn't into it and was probably more terrified than I was. It was barely a tap. But I got the point.

Also, I can recall a lawsuit in South Carolina (the land of the bland) where a woman in a parking lot swatted her kid on the bottom because she wouldn't get in the car. A nearby woman was "outraged" and tried to take the child away from the mother. Needless to say, the mother beat the hell out of her, because she had no clue what was going on. Then the woman sued her for "mental anguish."

I am uncertain as to the outcome of the trial.

[ August 08, 2003, 07:42 PM: Message edited by: Book ]

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Elizabeth
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Thanks, Mack.
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Maccabeus
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My parents fought for years over which one of them was abusing me. The constant arguing and legal battles were worse abuse from my perspective than any instance of being spanked, whether with a hand, a switch, or a belt.

I can't say that I ever learned to care what my parents thought. Quite often physical punishment was the only thing that would keep me under control. Of course, that might have something to do with the above situation.

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tonguetied&twisted
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When we were really naughty as kids, Mum would tell us to go get "the strap". "The strap" was really whichever of Dad's belts we could find at the time. Mum would whack us across the backside (pants UP). IMO, it was good for us. I didn't like it at the time, of course, but I'd've forgotten about an hour later. I was never scared of my parents - I think they did a great job of bringing us up (there's five of us, and one foster kid, so six altogether). I'd like to see someone do such a good job of bringing up six kids as my parents did! Of course, I might be somewhat biased... [Big Grin]

BUT. I think that a lot of parents go too far. I was once staying at my cousins house, where my cousin and I were moderately naughty - we got whipped with the jug cord, breaking the skin and leaving bruises. It wasn't so much punishment for what we'd done, as taking out anger on us. I can't remember if my parents found out or not, but if they had, they'd've been FURIOUS!

Unfortunately, as we all know, much worse things happen.

There's punishment, and there's abuse. And it's a fine line between them. [Frown]

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Ryuko
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LOL, I just remembered something. One time my mom threatened to spank me, and I told her that if she did, I'd call 911 and report her for child abuse. She got really indignant and said, "I'd like to see you make it to the phone alive!"

Hehehee... Of course she never meant to hurt me.

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TwosonPaula
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My mom used to tell me if I ever called CPS on her, she'd kill me and bury me in the backyard. I never found out if she was kidding or not. I forgot to say...she is psycho! [Angst]

[ August 08, 2003, 09:33 PM: Message edited by: TwosonPaula ]

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T. Analog Kid
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TT&T,

I'm gonna go ahead and state that getting whipped with a cord till your skin breaks is child abuse... hell, it breaks the Geneva convention for treatment of POWs!

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mackillian
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Yup. Abuse.
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tonguetied&twisted
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I agree. I never said otherwise. What I said wasn't child abuse, was the strap in the way that my parents used it. ok? [Smile]
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EllenM
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My oldest daughter was asked on a Saturday to shovel the walk. Leave it to her to get belligerent, but to make a long story short; I ended up putting her out the door. She hadn't put her coat or shoes on yet, so I toss them out the door to her. She screamed she was going to call CPS and report me. I went back inside, got a quarter, went back to the door and toss her the coin. Pointing at the phone visible from a block away, I told her to go call, because I call her threat, she proceeded to shovel the walk.
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TwosonPaula
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I used to be really afraid of CPS until I realized, most of the time they're out to HELP you. It's a pain in the butt and a lot more expensive to get foster parents for a child when they can invest that time in helping the parents. I've heard stories of known drug addicts who said they almost lost their children until CPS helped them get clean. Pretty useful I'd say. Not that I'd ever let them catch me spanking one of my children. You never know.

I'd like to play my own devil's advocate by pointing out that I never actually met any of the people I illustrated. Maybe just hearsay, but I don't think so.

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m. bowles
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"most of the time they're out to HELP you. "

I can't agree with this statement after what my ex-wife and CPS made me go through.

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TwosonPaula
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I'm sorry you had a tough time. Like I said, I've never really had any personal experience with them, but I'm interested about what I should look out for and ways that I can protect the fam. Suggestions? I'm not an abuser or anything, but I'm always afraid that something I do might be misinterpreted.
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m. bowles
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Be wary of dealing with your children in front of people who do not have kids of thier own. Sometimes it just helps if you have some body who can vouch for you. At the time I had no support and I was made to leap through hoops just to see my boys. My problems did'nt even stem from disapline, it started with an argument with my ex-wife that went wrong. No one wanted to hear my side, it was a nightmare.
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mackillian
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[Wall Bash]

I do know CPS workers who are responsible and have some common sense.

Paula, they wouldn't have supported a claim for what you did with your daughter. She should've just shoveled the damn walk. [Big Grin]

and matt, man, I'm sorry you went through crap. [Frown]

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