It’s Love Not Hate Hook states “no one can rightfully claim to be considered loving when behaving abusively. ” Before taking this statement any further a fair definition of what “abuse” and “love” are must be recognized. Each state has its own definition of abuse that can range anywhere from causing harm to another, spanking your child, or beating. The federal legislation states that abuse is “any recent act or failure to act on a part of a parent or guardian with results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, and/or exploitation” (Child welfare, 2010).
For example, if you are intentionally aiming to harm your child for no clear reason it is considered abuse. Love on the other end of the spectrum is strong positive emotion of regard and affection from one individual to another. Now the question emerges; can a parent be considered loving when behaving in what is defined as abusive behavior? There are six main types of abuse that can affect a child, physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, abandonment, and substance abuse (Child welfare, 2010).
Physical discipline of a child by a parent or caretaker is necessary in punishing children in order to teach them how to behave in public, rather than being erratic. Out of a survey of 1,939 adults both with and without children, majority said that they believe that smacking children is an acceptable means of discipline. Eighty percent of the people without children said they would support smacking a child if necessary, while only sixty-seven percent of adults with children agreed with smacking as a means of punishment (Telegraph-news, 2006).
Although there are people who may object to the idea of hitting a child as a means of punishments, others may say that physical punishment may cause a rise in future abuse to a children; either emotionally, mentally, or both. James Kimmel a psychological states “punishing children is a malevolent act that is harmful to children and ultimately to the community and society in which it takes place. ” (Hellwege,1999). James Kimmel is basically saying that in the long run the child can grow up to be disturbed, and therefore is causing him or her to act out violently towards one’s self later on in life or causing harm to a community as a whole.
Corporal punishment in the form of spanking is the most common way children are punished in America. NBC news reported that about ninety percent of the United States parents spank their children. In addition, a 1992 survey reported that fifty-nine percent of pediatricians support the practice of spanking a child. This is an interesting estimate, because it shows that even a child’s doctor agrees that sometimes children need to be spanked; although they recognize the fine line between discipline and abuse.
In today’s world there are many societies in which both parents and physicians support and agree upon the statement that physical abuse on a child is necessary for proper discipline. There are however, several countries on the opposing end of this statement and in turn outlaw physical punishment of children; Austria and Scandinavian countries completely ban the hitting of a child all together and have a zero tolerance policy for those kinds of actions.
Here in the United States, corporal punishment of a child by their parents is legal and widely practiced (Kimmel, 2010). With that said, corporal punishment is indeed legal in the United States and is practiced by many. It is in fact a learning tool parents claim to use. This learning tool seem to have the influence to pass the behavior down to their children and so forth, in order to teach and prepare their children how to behave appropriately in society as they get older
In the “Power of Love” by Bhikkhu Pesala, he states that “he who is skilled in welfare, who wishes to attain a calm state, should act thus; he should be able, upright, perfectly upright, obedient, gentle and humble,” meaning that one should not act out irrational, but rather be calm and kind to others even children; then they will act humble and obedient as well causing no disturbance and problems within the community. Bhikkhu Pesala states that “psychological punishments can do more harm to a child than physical punishments or abuse. Those punishments can begin anywhere from telling a child that they are stupid and worthless, to ignoring them and isolating them away from others. Between the years 1986 and 1993 the number of reported child abuse incidents doubled from about 1. 4 million to 2. 8 million in just seven years (Mill, 1994). In 1994, over three million children were reported for child abuse and neglect to child protective service agencies in the United States (AAPC).
According to a 1994 survey, physical abuse represented twenty-one percent of confirmed cases, sexual abuse eleven percent, neglect forty-nine percent and emotional maltreatment three percent (AAPC). Only half of these incidents are reported to law officials (International Child Abuse Network, 2005). Emotional Maltreatment is an abuse which could lead to cognitive or serious behavioral problems. In American society today we fail to address several horrific issues that plague our nation.
Child abuse being on e of the overlooked downfalls of society; we neglect to bring this topic into focus because of the many different views the society has on the pressing issue. This in turn leads to the ongoing debate about what is considered child abuse. Emotional abuse (also known as: Verbal abuse, mental abuse, and/or psychological maltreatment) includes acts or failures to act by parents or caretakers that have caused or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional or mental disorders.
This can include parent and caretakers using extreme or bizarre forms of punishments such as confinement in a closet or dark room, being tied to a chair for a long period of time, and/or threatening and terrorizing a child. Less severe acts, but no less damaging are belittling, rejecting treatment, using derogating terms to describe the child, habitual escape goading, and blaming the child (ICAN). Neglect is the failure to provide for the child’s basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional.
Physical neglect can include not providing adequate food or clothing, appropriate medical care, supervision, or proper weather protection (heating or coats), to the child. Educational neglect can include failure to provide appropriate schooling or special educational needs, allowing excessive truancies, to the child. Psychological neglect is the lack of any emotional support and love, never attending to the child. Physical child abuse is the inflicting of personal injury upon a child. This may include burning, hitting, punching, shaking, kicking, beating, or any ther means of physically harming a child. The parent or caretaker may not have intended to hurt the child and may therefore perceive the incident as an accident. On the other hand the incident may have been the result of over-disciplines or physical punishment that is inappropriate to the child’s ages (ICAN). John McCord from Temple University states that physical punishments tend to led to an increase in aggression and criminal behavior. This goes back to before when stated that an increase in child abuse can cause future problems for the individual within the community and/or society as a whole.
Sexual abuse of a child includes fondling a child’s genitals, making the child fondle the adult’s genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, and sexual exploitation. To be considered child abuse these acts must be committed by a person responsible for the care of the child. For example; a babysitter, a parent, or a day-care provider are all recognized as peoples responsible for the protection of a child. Federal and state laws on child abuse are directed more towards parents and other caretakers, rather than strangers on the streets.
If a stranger commits these acts, it would be considered sexual assault and handled solely by the police and criminal courts. Children’s lives are affected horribly by child abuse and this affect can ultimately ruin their lives. Child abuse is on a steady rise in the United States. This issue is very important to our society today. In a persons lifetime he or she will more than likely know someone who has been abused. Many child abuse incidents occur, but often times they are not reported by the child.
It is easy to assume that if a person were being abused in any way, shape, or form that they would immediately inform someone and report the abuse; but in fact in the case of child abuse, children have a subconscious loyalty to their parents and caretakers and more times than not the abuse incident will go unreported. If a child does come forward and decide to report their abuse, there is no guarantee that they will receive any punishment from the judicial system. Over ninety percent of child abuse cases presented to a prosecutor do not go to trial (Mill, 2006).
The ten percent that actually make it to trial, over half are not charged or they have eventually had the charges dropped. When charges are dismissed the child begins to feel that the abuse inflicted by their parent was not done to them out of hatred or anger, but out of love. This alone will leave a child to believe that the only way, shape, or form they can find love in life is through abuse. Plato stated in one of his famous quotes “we ought not to repay injustice with injustice, or to do harm to any man, no matter what we may have suffered from them. Plato was against any harm done to another human being whether young or old, he saw that doing harm to another person was morally and ethically unjust. Immanuel Kant a famous philosopher stated in his ethical theory of “respect for person’s” that “so act always as to treat humanity, whether in your own person or in that of any other. Always as an end and never as a mean’s” This can be interpreted as though Kant is speaking of being kind and respectful to everyone even your child. Which is saying that abuse and punishments of anyone even a child is morally and ethically wrong.
W. D. Ross describes an “actual duty” as what we ought to do in every situation. If there is a situation in which a child is acting up or behaving erratic, the parent then is left with a decision to either punish the child or to let the behavior go; which leaves the parent to decide what his or her duty actually consist of. Ross then talks about six naturally accruing duties that are based off of intuition. In one case there is a duty to upset or prevent a disturbance among everyone, meaning the community or society.
Ross includes this obligation to contrast with duties of beneficence to go against our own prior acts. For example, one of those acts would be the duty not to lie; if a child was to lie and get in trouble for doing so, in Ross’s case it would be wrong for that child to get punished. The duties of gratitude are those that rest on acts of other people towards the agent or person. The duties of justice are those that rest on the fact or possibility of a distribution of pleasure or happiness. So punishing your child to Ross is not an act of justice because you are not distributing leasure or happiness to the child but the complete opposite, pain and suffering. The duty of justice is not in accordance with the merits of the people’s concerns. The duties of beneficence are those that rely on the fact that there are other people in the world whose virtue, intelligence, or happiness we approve of. Ross’s most important aspect he discusses is the duty of nonmalefience which is the duty not to injure others. Whether you cause harm or injure an adult or a child in Ross’s view it is morally wrong.