When Does Discipline Become Child Abuse?


Child abuse is the physical or mental maltreatment of a child. However, people try to question if disciplining your child is a form of child abuse. I disagree with that because all disciplinary methods are not categorized as being child abuse. I think that parents should know or understand that there is a limit to how they should discipline their children and not punish them.

Discipline is one of the defining elements of parenting. Through correct discipline, children are taught to become responsible, honest, kind, and sharing people. I agree with this because if the child follows their parent’s guidance, teachings and be respectful to all rules, they usually tend to grow up to be well behaved and very well mannered. However, if you punish your child instead of disciplining them you will most likely not have the same outcome of what you expected. Punishing your child can result in hurting your child physically and also mentally. Parents who discipline their child instead of punishing them are trying to show their child right from wrong and also helping them learn life skills.

I honestly can’t see myself punishing my children. Punishment is an act of anger and impulse. This happens when a parent takes their personal problems/ issues out on the child. The challenge parent’s face is to remove themselves from the situation and control their anger before reacting to the child. My mother disciplined me and taught me life lessons to prepare me for what the future holds. I understand that children are going to make mistakes but as a parent you have to know how to handle the situation to make them learn and also make them better as they grow up.

I realize that some parents have different types of methods when it comes to disciplining their child or children. Some parents beat their children with a belt, smack them on the hand and take away items or personal belongings which can all be classified as parenting styles. Parents shouldn’t discipline their child to the point where it’s going to leave marks on them of any kind. That’s child abuse and that’s not healthy for either the parent or the child. I think that parents should just discipline and not punish the child because the outcome can be catastrophic.

Most states do not prohibit parents from spanking their children in any circumstances and many don’t have a law that prohibits spanking but instead they do rely on their child abuse statutes to determine if a parent has crossed the line between discipline and child abuse.  Many families strongly believe in spanking as a form of discipline but really that’s a form of punishment.

If parents are going to discipline a child they shouldn’t go overboard with it. All discipline doesn’t have to require striking which inevitably hurts a child.  Parents shouldn’t use different items such as belts, switches and shoes to discipline their child because that is a form of child abuse. I think that parents should understand that and be careful when it comes to handling situations with children.