Guest Author - Kelli Deister
I was surprised when I read about a ruling that the Hawaii Supreme Court made recently. It was in regards to exactly what is considered to be abuse here in Hawaii. Apparently, a mother used particular items to hit her teenage daughter with, while disciplining her. I have placed a link below to direct my readers to the article. Be prepared because some cases that should have been upheld as abuse were reversed and considered to not be abusive. This angers me!
I do not believe in hitting a child. I know this is probably going to stir the pots of debate; yet, I am firm on that. First of all, I am against physical use of force while disciplining a child. I believe that hitting only results in more hitting. Why do some parents feel as though they can pick up any household item and strike their child with it? I then wonder what the parents motive is, in hitting their child. Is it to attempt to teach their child a lesson or is it a means of getting fast results to bad behavior?
Raising a child can certainly be draining, tiring, daunting, and challenging, especially as the child grows older. However, will striking the child bring about positive results? Or will it only create an attitude that brings about more hitting in the name of discipline? Each parent is left to make the decision themselves, when in regards to their own children. I am aware that the pendulum swings far in both directions. As I said before, this is a highly debatable topic for many.
For those parents that decide to discipline their children through the use of an item they select, I wonder how they make the decision as to what is best to use? What is considered to be appropriate? Will something be appropriate for one parent, but not for another? Certainly! As I said, each parent makes that choice themselves. Does it make a difference if the parent chooses a belt or the handle of a screwdriver? Does the use of smaller items, such as a hairbrush or wire hanger make it appropriate? No one can really answer that, since all parents make that decision personally. What is considered to be appropriate to one parent might be considered to be harsh by another.
I think this really isnít about the item used to discipline, but more about whether or not it is appropriate to hit a child. Why is it okay, for some parents, to hit their child? Granted, many children will stop the bad behavior when hit; however, will they stop because they know it is wrong, or will they stop out of fear of being hit again? Will the parent teach their child, through hitting, to stop misbehaving? Or will they teach their child that in order to solve problems one must hit the person angering them?
I believe that hitting a child is wrong. I also believe it is abusive. Each time a parent strikes their child with an object, I believe it becomes easier to hit in the future. Add to that the most recent ruling of the Hawaii Supreme Court and what will happen is that more parents will hear of this ruling and decide to use the same disciplinary methods.
We have many resources in our communities to help us, as we raise our children, even as they get older. Hitting should not be allowed. At what point will the parent stop striking their child with an object? How many welts and bruises must be left on the children, in order for each state to be clear about what is abusive and what is not. Hitting, in my opinion, is abusive. No child should be hit while being disciplined.