Guest Author - Kelli Deister
Physical abuse is the first thing most people think of, when abuse is the topic being discussed. While there are several forms of abuse, once someone hears of child abuse, they automatically think of physical abuse.
Perhaps you suspect that a child is being abused, but you arenít sure of it. You might be wondering at what point it is appropriate to call and report the suspicion. Many of us think that physical abuse is what happens when a child has been struck or hit severely. Yet, there are a variety of ways in which the abusers physically abuse a child.
For instance, when someone is slapping, punching, kicking, pinching, or hitting a child, that is physical abuse. Some wonder about spanking and whether or not it is child abuse. In my opinion, it is abuse. For example, a young boy forgets to clean up his room, when asked. When the abusive parent sees that the child didnít clean up their room, they might initially resort to spanking and justify their doing so, since the child seemingly ignored the parent.
There are other types of physical abuse that the angry parent might inflict upon their child. If a parent and child go for a walk to the store and, as is expected of a young child, the little one wanders too far away, how does a parent then discipline their youngster? While the child needs to have some sort of consequence to their behavior, spanking should never be considered as a form of appropriate punishment. Another inappropriate method of discipline, in this scenario, is when the parent begins grabbing the child by their arm and jerking them towards them. Other types of physical abuse are slapping, yanking, or pushing the child. Lastly, some parents discipline their children by burning them with lit cigarettes or hot curling irons. Shaking a baby because they cry a lot, is also considered abuse.
Physical abuse means any form of physical punishment. There are, as is highlighted above, a vast array of abusive behaviors. I donít believe that any one type of physical abuse is worse than the other. All abuse against a child is obviously inappropriate. Any time a parent decides to physically punish their child, they should leave the room for a brief period of time, until they can calm down and not injure their child. It doesnít matter if a parent decides to hit, slap, jerk, yank, or burn their child with lit cigarettes, it is all wrong. As a parent, it is up to us to calm ourselves down before striking our child and then labeling it spanking. Here in Hawaii, the term for spanking is lickings. Regardless of the term or the method of physical punishment, it is not okay to do.
It is my wish that all parents would take the time to seriously think of the impact that physical abuse has on their child. Anger management courses can help to divert from abuse. There are also a number of parenting classes. Please consider attending one of these classes, if you feel as though it is difficult for you to cease with the physical punishment. Children deserve to live a life free from abuse.