Neglect and physical child abuse are so common that they take the lives of five children every day in the United States. As horrible as that statistic is, I want to bring attention to the issues faced by those who survive and attempt to escape their pain by becoming co-dependent, mentally ill, suicidal, alcoholic, drug addicted, or become abusers themselves.
These are some questions I would like to raise:
- When you accept physical punishment of a child as a valid form of discipline, where do you place that intangible line that defines where punishment ends and abuse begins?
- How do you convey where that line is to the minds of the multitudes of parents, especially when in the throes of their most angry and frustrating moments?
- If I were to hit another adult, I would be arrested for assault. Why then does society sanction that same violence when it is used against a child?
- When the seeds of childhood maltreatment ferment in silence and the mental anguish become unbearable, of the 33,000 suicides in the U.S. each year – how many have roots in child abuse?
- When we witness a parent acting in an abusive manner towards a child, how can we respond in a way that is nonthreatening to the parent, while alleviating the threat of further punishment to the child?