Parents hitting children

Discussion in 'General Education' started by vita_bella, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. vita_bella

    vita_bella Rookie

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    Dec 10, 2014

    I volunteer in a charity where we help children do their homework, and today a kid (12 years old) misbehaved and I said I would call his parents. A few minutes later he came to me and said he wanted to talk to me in private. He asked me not to call his parents, because they recently told him that if someone complains about him again he would "pay for it". I asked him what did they mean by that and he said he didn´t know, but he looked kind of scared and shy, so I asked him if he thought they would hit him or something. He said yes and started crying. When I kept asking him about that, he said they had done it before although according to him they don´t beat him up too bad like other parents do to children, but they hit him from time to time when he misbehaves. He said he has never told anyone about it and he doesn´t want me to tell his parents.

    This caught me completely off guard and I wasn´t sure how to react. I first told him I hoped this wasn´t a lie to get away with what he had done because it was something very serious to accuse his parents of hitting him. I also explained that I can´t stop talking to his parents about his behaviour, but next time he misbehaves, we both could reach an agreement for a punishment (banning tv, not going out to play with his friends...) and I could then inform his parents about it and suggest that option as a punishment, so that they don´t hit him. He agreed. I´m not actually sure this is a good idea, but I couldn´t think of anything else at that moment.

    What should I have done/say? For what he explained, it´s seems to be the kind of hitting that some people would approve to discipline children, but he must have felt scared to have told me.
     
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  3. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Dec 10, 2014

    I see you are from Spain. I don't know what your regulations are, but in America, there are some limits to the kind of punishments parents can use with their children. If I were in your shoes, I would have called the state child abuse hotline to make a report. Many children are afraid to report abuse, and the social worker/police are there to help families resolve their issues and protect the children. There may be more happening at home that he is not telling you about.

    You handled the situation well. If you are not able to contact an authority or agency to help, you can try to have a conversation with his parents about his behavior, and discuss discipline techniques with them that may be helpful.
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Teachers calling home over behavior problems is a spanking offense in a lot of my friends' homes. At age 12, not so much, but for younger ages, yes.

    I say if you think that abuse is taking place at home you should call your version of child protective services. I will also say that if a teacher butted into my family's business by calling CPS because my kid got a spanking, I'd send her butt up the river as far as I could. She would never know a moment's peace while my child was in her room. Maybe afterwards.

    If you think the child was talking about discipline, not abuse, then you need to step back and let the parent be the parent.

    I do not suggest you try and tell the parent how to discipline the child at home (suggesting alternate punishments).
     
  5. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    In the state of North Carolina, according to my counselor, parents are allowed to corporally punish their children--that means spanking them. Many kids go to her telling her that their parents physically punish them, but as long as there is no bruising, bleeding, or a hospital visit associated with it, parents are allowed to spank them.

    In fact, several counties in NC still have corporal punishment AT SCHOOL. Parents sign a form indicating whether they want their children spanked at school. My district is not one of those counties.

    We have friends in Newton Co. Texas, they also have corporal punishment at the schools there.
     
  6. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Where I teach, I would be required to call Child Protective Services and the police. If I didn't, I could lose my job. In some areas of the country, a teacher might not need to do anything as Corporal punishment might be allowed. In your country, I have no idea. I would suggest finding out what are your school's policies as far as corporal punishment goes.
     
  7. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    The idea that you would make a teacher's life miserable for a well-intentioned but misplaced belief that abuse had occurred is disturbing to me. Especially when it could only come to light from the child speaking about it to another trusted authority figure.
     
  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Never promise a child that you "won't tell", since you may be obligated to do precisely that if the the information leads you down that path. This is never easy, and without more experience with this family, you don't know where you stand. If in doubt, get an experienced teacher to help you with this problem.
     
  9. WarriorPrncss

    WarriorPrncss Companion

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    I don't know where you teach, but in California teachers are mandated reporters-- if a child tells us about abuse (in ANY form) many of us are contractually obligated to file a report. We, as reporters, do not judge whether or not it's true, that's up to those who took the information. It may or may not have been the first report made and, as a reporter we could be saving a child's life. If the child is lying or blowing the story out of proportion, that's a whole other issue.

    HOWEVER, what disturbs me is that you'd go to such great lengths to make a teacher miserable for DOING HER JOB-- and reporting something a child made sound like abuse. In your home it may be "just a spanking", (which can be controversial and is a whole other mess I won't get into), but in another home it could be a serious, abusive lashing. You should be glad that a teacher is paying attention to his/her students and making an effort to listen and be a mentor. If it really was JUST a spanking you have nothing to worry about.
     
  10. vita_bella

    vita_bella Rookie

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    Dec 11, 2014

    Thank you for your responses.

    In Spain the law prohibits any type of physical violence towards children. But even though I don´t like it and I don´t think it does any good in the long term, I can understand how some parents may think that it´s ok and it doesn´t mean they are being abusive on purpose or that they don´t care about their children.

    If I reported it to authorities, I think it would probably bring more problems than benefits. I need to be very well informed first before taking any decision so I´ll ask about this.

    And about suggesting alternate punishments to parents, I think if I did the parents might suspect something, or they might feel that I´m no one to tell them how to discipline their child. I´m considering organizing a little session for all the parents where we include the subject of punishments. That way I could reach them without being too evident (and maybe also some others that we´re not aware of).
     
  11. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    I once called had a similar (but more severe with child sobbing and trying to run off campus). I called cps and they did nothing. I was told parents are allowed to hit their children on the trunk of their bodies. I was told that punishment, by definition, should be painful. Parent knew I had called cps somehow, though, and was good natured about it. If I ever called home with an issue for years afterwards, he would say, I don't know what to do, last time I punished him for you, you called cps!!! Our dean did advise him on alternate punishments as he was new to parenting (child came to live with him in ms years). We had many positive exchanges over the years.


    Another time I had a student who was crying almost every day. One day, she told me her mother withheld food from her and her mother let her brother punch her in the face. She was suicidal. Cps took this seriously because she was being hit in the face. The mother came after me like you wouldn't believe, calling me racist and demanding I was fired. She kept making a scene like another poster said she would do and eventually the child was removed from my class. I later learned this wasn't the first time the family was investigated by cps.

    I don't understand the destroy the teacher mentality the other poster on here demonstrates. My cps report was 5 sentences...4 quotes from the child. I am a mandated reporter and the parent found out I was the one who called from her kid. Meaning the kid must have admitted telling me what she did, yet still it is my fault???
     
  12. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Dec 11, 2014

    Dad spanked (a belt)me and it worked. I am a high functioning adult who pays taxes and contributes to society. And I love my dad to this day and help him all I can (he is 84). If you have a child that continually endangers himself and a spanking stops it what is worse? Death or a little pain on the behind/
     
  13. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    On the other hand, I was spanked and feel it had negative ramifications on me emotionally and mentally, some lasting to this day. Considering they were for small offenses, like leaving wet towels on the floor, it probably would have been better for me if I were not spanked but had a punishment related to the negative behavior. I assume you are from the southeast, Stephen, as am I. I do think spanking works in limited contexts (child hits others because he doesnt realize hitting hurts, for example). However, parents need more tools in their belt than, you know, their belt.
     
  14. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Spanking is such a thorny issue. I don't spank my three kids--even though there are times when I think they need it, I just won't do it because it runs contrary to my ethics.

    Now my sister, on the other hand, smacks my nephews around all the time, over both major and minor misbehavior. I feel bad for those boys.
     
  15. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I wasn't spanked and still turned out to be a good contributing member of society. I understand why some people spank, but I hate when people say a kid is going to turn out to be a criminal unless they're spanked or that someone on the news for a crime wouldn't have committed that crime if he'd been spanked (I've seen both on Facebook).
     
  16. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Dec 11, 2014

    I would be mortified if a CPS report was filed about me, whether as a parent or as a teacher. There are true and false accusations out there and the investigation will determine what kind of report this is. I agree that it would be hard to deal with the person who did the reporting. Ultimately they are following the law, whether I like it or not.

    You must be aware that the teacher might not be the one who wrote/called in the report. I have been accused by parents of reporting them to CPS. Sometimes it was me, other times it was not. It really doesn't matter. Regardless, the report was made because of a concern by the principal, staff, or someone else. Don't just blame the teacher or seek revenge in this type of situation. Really, what would be the point in that? They won't do it again? No chance there. They already are following the law and unfortunately it was due to a report of spanking (means different things in different families). Hopefully if you are a mandated reporter you would not be intimidated by the potential for angered parents. That's what concerns me about this thread. We must report and unfortunately the parents sometimes have to deal with unpleasantness of a "false" accusation. It should not intimidate us from following the law or supporting those who did.
     
  17. WarriorPrncss

    WarriorPrncss Companion

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    I think I was spanked maybe once or twice, but I grew up with respect engrained in my head.

    However, as a Psychology and Social and Behavioral Science major I focused a lot of the brain and child psychology. Research has shown that children who are spanked even once a month from a young age tend to be more aggressive than those who aren't. Obviously there are A LOT of other factors in place, but I think it's still an important study. I want my kids to be respectful because they know it's right and there are consequences, but I don't want them to think that they do something bad, get spanked and that's it.

    I previously worked at the Boys and Girls Club and one time in particular a little girl came in and told me about her new step dad beating on her brother and her being very scared. When the brother came in he was busted up pretty bad but said they were "just wrestling" --- the kid had a black eye and broken arm. I reported in and my mom came in mad because she knew someone reported it at our club, she vented to me, luckily thinking it was another staff member. I'd hate for her to have known it was me, she was pi$$ed. Sadly... all 3 siblings except the little girl came back to the club day after day... she returned after 2 or 3 months. I'm scared to think of why she was kept away.

    Parental backlash always worries me when a report has to be made (I've only made a couple but they were for very explosive parents.) If they're willing to make a teacher/reporter's life hell I seriously wonder what they're willing to do in the privacy of their own home.
     
  18. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Dec 11, 2014

    Well put. It might just be words but then again you never know.
     
  19. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    There is a huge difference between abuse and a spanking. The OP stated that it did not seem like abuse to her. If someone reported me for spanking, even though she felt as though it wasn't truly abuse, you better believe the gloves would come off. It is one thing to make one's professional life miserable, another to try to destroy a family.

    If one is stupid enough to believe that a simple spanking is abuse, he/she really shouldn't be working with impressionable children to start.
     
  20. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I am very glad that I am not your child's teacher. The idea of making somebody miserable because they were following the law is just awful. I would expect a mandated reporter to know better. While I hope my child's teacher never reports me to CPS, should it happen, I will do so with the knowledge that my child said something to make the teacher believe a CPS referral was necessary, and also with the knowledge that the teacher was following the law.

    Just for one easy example here... a spanking at home can easily turn into "My daddy hit me, and it hurt me." Or a child can exaggerate. Or hell, the child could come in and have a coincidental bruise on their arm, and talk about daddy (or mommy) hitting them.
     
  21. WarriorPrncss

    WarriorPrncss Companion

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    The OP, seemed to me that she wasn't sure whether or not it was abuse and what to do which is why she was asking here.

    The POINT is that you're going to report if you think it IS abuse. NO one is going to report a parent for spanking unless the child makes it out to be a bigger deal. A simple spanking could me re-told as "Mom/Dad hurt me by hitting me" or any number of interpretations. Reporting what you think might be abuse won't destroy anyone if it's not true. You seem to be fiercely aganist someone being able to report. As in ANY case, madated reporting, police, probation, etc, if you get stopped and talked to and you haven't done anything wrong-- comly with the procedures and you have nothing to worry about.
     
  22. bekkilyn

    bekkilyn Rookie

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    Dec 11, 2014

    Even if someone did make a false report, it would still be unacceptable to make someone else's life miserable out of revenge. Two wrongs don't make a right. There are surely more mature ways of resolving the issue.
     
  23. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Dec 12, 2014

    In some cases you're right, and in other cases the difference isn't huge at all. A kid who gets a swat on the butt--okay, that's certainly not abuse. Now what about a kid who gets a more prolonged spanking? What if the spankings occur three times a day? Ten times a day? What about a kid who gets hit with a belt? What if there are bruises? What if they bleed?

    Spanking can easily become abuse.
     
  24. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Dec 12, 2014

    That's where the states come in and make that decision.

    NC doesn't see it the way you do, which is why there are clear definitions of what is abuse and what is discipline, and why some districts in the state still employ corporal punishment themselves.
     

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