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Mother strikes a small child
scholar - 26-5-2009 at 06:53

At a commercial camping facility, a lady in my group heard a mother strike her small child (perhaps age 3) and yell at him in anger for no apparent reason. This happened in the shower facility. (She was using vulgar language in scolding him for not dressing well and fast--even though he was trying.) The struck child was crying.

A friend of mine who saw this complained to the woman to stop, and telephoned for the police to come, hoping to save the child from being beaten. She also got some of the ladies with our camping group to be with her.

The mother, in turn, telephoned the police to come to her aid, claiming that she felt threatened.

I'll pause at this point in the events. What do you think happened? Do you think my friend should have spoken to the mother, or telephoned the police? What would you have done?


Nimuae - 26-5-2009 at 12:59

Good grief, Scholar, you do throw them at us !

OK - firstly there is vast difference between a quick slap and a beating!

Secondly - I would not expect a three year old to dress himself unaided, and the place for him to learn/try is in his own home - not a public shower facility.

While I do not, and would never, condone 'beating' a child, I have been known to slap a leg if all else has failed, but not often and never very hard.

In my book there is never any excuse for vulgar language, it is completely unnecessary and only serves to inflame in a volatile situation.

Would I have called the police? If I believed that the child was in serious danger - then Yes, obviously I would, but for a Mum at the end of her tether, administering a slap? Not sure.


John_Little - 26-5-2009 at 14:30

From the situation you described, Scholar, calling the police seems a bit over the top. I'd be very suprised if they responded to the call. But in your description of the event, you say your friend heard the woman "strike" the child, which suggests that it was just a quick slap rather than a "beating".


marymary100 - 26-5-2009 at 15:42

Heard but didn't see? Hmmm. Not much of an "eye-witness" account is it? The police wouldn't take my word for something I heard because I didn't "see it" so the vandal wasn't charged. Is the law different in the US?


Daz - 26-5-2009 at 15:48

Too many contradictions there for me to pass comment. Were the events seen, or heard, it's very unclear...?


Snowy - 26-5-2009 at 16:09

I think a child of 3 is too young to be slapped, in fact, I dont think it right to slap any child. There are other forms of punishment.
I dont agree with swearing in front of, or at, children. To me, it's the sign of a bad parent.
Although no one saw the slapping, someone heard the swearing and I would have told the Mother that this is not right. There seems little point in calling the police, they have better things to do.
:(


scholar - 26-5-2009 at 17:34

I was not in the shower with them (lips_sealed), so I got this second-hand. My impression is that my friend was present, heard the *SMACK!* and turned her head to see the woman and small child, with him bursting into tears and the mother's arm still out from the strike. My friend said the mother, in anger, was describing the small child with F words. He wasn't getting his shirt on properly, fast enough (like, not finding the arm holes on the first try).

I think that when my friend used the word "beating," she was not describing what she saw, but rather what she feared would have happened if she had not spoken up. I am of the opinion that, if the mother had shown a change of demeanor ("You're right, he's just a little kid! What am I doing? I need to take several breaths and calm down."), my friend would not have called the police. But, the woman was more defensive (more like, "Stay out of this. I can do what I want with my own kid.")

This was fairly late in the evening for a campground and a small child--perhaps around 10:00. The showers were probably cold, as there were hundreds of campers (our own group numbered perhaps 50, and we filled only part of the campground) and the water heater did not keep up. The woman may have been tired, and cranky from having to shower in cold water.


John_Little - 26-5-2009 at 17:35

Quote:
There are other forms of punishment.


Stocks? Thumbscrews? Water boarding?

Have you been taking good care of Swish over the last couple of weeks, Snowy? Shown here all the sight and things.


scholar - 26-5-2009 at 17:43

The outcome? The police did come, and listened to both accounts.

I don't know if the mother really felt intimidated from some friends coming to the side of my friend. I suspect she telephoned the police to make an accusation against my friends, so that the police would have a counter-complaint to consider, instead of having only the complaint from my friends. If the mother seemed not to want the police there, it might appear that she had something to hide.

After some conversation, the police said that there wasn't any crime, and that a general lack of corporal punishment is a greater problem.


Snowy - 26-5-2009 at 17:44

Quote:
Originally posted by John_Little
Quote:
There are other forms of punishment.


Stocks? Thumbscrews? Water boarding?

Have you been taking good care of Swish over the last couple of weeks, Snowy? Shown here all the sight and things.

That's thread drift John !!!...I keep looking out for her but have not seen her yet !
If the little boy was slow in getting dressed, I dont think that even deserves a punishment, much better to give him encouragement (a treat if he hurries up?).
When they are older and know better then you can use things like stopping spending money and going out with friends but never slapping and definately not beating !
:(


scholar - 26-5-2009 at 18:00

I, too, dislike vulgar language, and think angry, hurtful language at a child is damaging, especially from a mother or father.

I think a hand-spank or a swat on the butt right after a child has done something dangerous or near-dangerous can be good for their safety--playing with fire, wandering into the street traffic, etc.--when the child is too young to grasp a verbal explanation. But, clearly, the shower incident does not fall into this area.

I think yelling at and striking a child of three or four in anger for not putting his shirt on well enough is bad. I think my friend was well-intended in saying something. She may even have gotten the mother to direct her anger toward her, rather than to the small child. She certainly did not decide to strike the child again, with a concerned adult watching. I do think defenseless small children deserve some protection. I think my friend was brave to become involved. (For whatever it's worth, she identifies herself with Christians.)

Should children EVER be struck, in punishment? I agree with Dr. Dobson, that a child who deliberately disobeys when he has been explicitely warned in a way he understands (so, he must be old enough to understand) has earned a punishment. Dobson suggests that the punishment be included in the warning ("I am telling you not to play catch in the street. If you do, I will spank you."), and that the child be hugged and held afterwards.


John_Little - 26-5-2009 at 18:11

Actually, what you are doing by hitting and swearing, is to encourage the child to do the same, Its not a very good example of how to behave, is it?

But, as sholar says, a lot of people believe its the right thing to do - the smacking, not the bad language. Its so embeded in our culture that its viewed as being acceptable.

I have spanked my children but reluctantly and not in anger and only because they had done something dangerous for the second or third time. I regret it now but at the time, I considered it was the right thing to do and I did it quite coldly and in sorrow rather than anger.


marymary100 - 26-5-2009 at 18:11

Was it a "spare the rod and spoil the child" philosophy?
Was this an entirely Christian group?
Was the woman an outsider?
Was she intimidated by a "different" group telling her what to do?


I dislike half a story. I'd rather know it all, or nothing.


marymary100 - 26-5-2009 at 18:18

Quote:
Originally posted by John_Little
Actually, what you are doing by hitting and swearing, is to encourage the child to do the same, Its not a very good example of how to behave, is it?

But, as sholar says, a lot of people believe its the right thing to do - the smacking, not the bad language. Its so embeded in our culture that its viewed as being acceptable.

I have spanked my children but reluctantly and not in anger and only because they had done something dangerous for the second or third time. I regret it now but at the time, I considered it was the right thing to do and I did it quite coldly and in sorrow rather than anger.


I do not agree with spanking a child, unless it is a quick smack on the hand which stops them doing something dangerous when they are quite young. My own daughter has turned out alright without it. I suppose though that as a teacher I know a range of strategies which meant I didn't have to resort to waterboarding physical torture to get my point across.


Nimuae - 26-5-2009 at 20:49

What kind of a mother takes a three year old child for a cold shower at 10:00pm anyway ?


Daz - 26-5-2009 at 21:17

Quote:
Originally posted by Nimuae
What kind of a mother takes a three year old child for a cold shower at 10:00pm anyway ?


I'm not sure that is the case is it? It "might" not have been cold when/IF the child showered/washed.

Maybe, s/he were incredibly dirty, and couldn't go to bed in that state. Maybe they had soiled themselves. Maybe the child were merely getting getting changed while the Mum showered/etc... And so on...

This is the trouble with hearsay, and second hand information through third parties, IYKWIM...

Judge not, and all that...


marymary100 - 26-5-2009 at 21:21

Romans 2 is quite specific on it in fact - being gossipy etc.


Nimuae - 26-5-2009 at 21:24

Quote:
Originally posted by Daz
Quote:
Originally posted by Nimuae
What kind of a mother takes a three year old child for a cold shower at 10:00pm anyway ?


I'm not sure that is the case is it? It "might" not have been cold when/IF the child showered/washed.

Maybe, s/he were incredibly dirty, and couldn't go to bed in that state. Maybe they had soiled themselves. Maybe the child were merely getting getting changed while the Mum showered/etc... And so on...

This is the trouble with hearsay, and second hand information through third parties, IYKWIM...

Judge not, and all that...


Hmmm ... point taken, Daz. But to my mind the only place a three year should be at that time of night - is in bed !


scholar - 26-5-2009 at 21:30

Quote:
Originally posted by Nimuae
What kind of a mother takes a three year old child for a cold shower at 10:00pm anyway ?
I agree with Daz, that the uncommon circumstance of holiday camping leaves open many possible reasons that would not happen in one's own home. The mother did not have a choice about the temperature of the water (unless she brought the little guy in, in the middle of the night, when no one was depleting the hot water). He may have been getting dirty playing all day, or perhaps the lid had come off a soda cup and soaked his chest, or perhaps a treat from the ice cream truck had messed him up.

Nim, if you are indirectly suggesting that camping includes extra work, and even some hardships, for mothers with small children, I agree. I could easily imagine such a mother deciding, "This vacation trip is already planned, and we're stuck, so I'd better make the best of it. But, I really would do better to wait until the smallest child is some years older."


Daz - 26-5-2009 at 21:31

Quote:
Quote:
Originally posted by Daz

Judge not, and all that...


Hmmm ... point taken, Daz. But to my mind the only place a three year should be at that time of night - is in bed !


That's as maybe, but as we don't know the circumstances, there might be a perfectly good, and acceptable reason as to why s/he wasn't...

The point remains IMHO....


Daz - 26-5-2009 at 21:46

Quote:
Originally posted by marymary100
Romans 2 is quite specific on it in fact - being gossipy etc.


It is...? Been a very long time since my nose was in a bible, so I'll take your word for it... ;)

What interests me, and surprises me, is that it's often those who try, and like to follow biblical teachings, who are the quickest to jump to conclusions and pass comment without knowing the facts or thinking of the possible reasons which led to an event...

I would of thought it would be people like me, who have no hard and fast thinking toward a bible/religion who would be more likely to jump in with both feet...


Redwolf5150 - 26-5-2009 at 21:54

It's all you touchy, feely "time out" people who have made it so that parents can't hardly raise their voices to their children anymore for fear of someone "calling the police."

And then you bemoan the sorry state of the world due to juvenile delinquents, etc.

waggyfinger


Daz - 26-5-2009 at 22:04

Quote:
Originally posted by Redwolf5150
It's all you touchy, feely "time out" people who have made it so that parents can't hardly raise their voices to their children anymore for fear of someone "calling the police."

And then you bemoan the sorry state of the world due to juvenile delinquents, etc.

waggyfinger


There is some truth there TBH.


scholar - 26-5-2009 at 22:09

Quote:
Originally posted by Redwolf5150
It's all you touchy, feely "time out" people who have made it so that parents can't hardly raise their voices to their children anymore for fear of someone "calling the police."

And then you bemoan the sorry state of the world due to juvenile delinquents, etc.

waggyfinger
As reported to me, this was in line with what the police expressed.

Since the child was not being bodily harmed, they would like to be left out of it.


Redwolf5150 - 26-5-2009 at 22:30

[bad img]http://failblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/fail-owned-parenting-fail2.jpg[/bad img]


marymary100 - 26-5-2009 at 23:10

Quote:
Originally posted by Daz
Quote:
Originally posted by Redwolf5150
It's all you touchy, feely "time out" people who have made it so that parents can't hardly raise their voices to their children anymore for fear of someone "calling the police."

And then you bemoan the sorry state of the world due to juvenile delinquents, etc.

waggyfinger


There is some truth there TBH.
Well there is, and there isn't. My mother beat me fairly regularly. I didn't beat my daughter. We both turned out alright.

I wonder how many mass murderers were abused children and how many weren't. Anyone got any stats?


Daz - 27-5-2009 at 00:31

Quote:
Originally posted by marymary100
Well there is, and there isn't. My mother beat me fairly regularly. I didn't beat my daughter. We both turned out alright.

I wonder how many mass murderers were abused children and how many weren't. Anyone got any stats?


No stats here I'm afraid.

But you are of course right regarding your first paragraph. It all comes down to individuals, and their behaviour, and taking responsibility for their actions. You don't have to follow somebody else's footsteps....


Redwolf5150 - 27-5-2009 at 02:24

Quote:
Originally posted by marymary100
Quote:
Originally posted by Daz
Quote:
Originally posted by Redwolf5150
It's all you touchy, feely "time out" people who have made it so that parents can't hardly raise their voices to their children anymore for fear of someone "calling the police."

And then you bemoan the sorry state of the world due to juvenile delinquents, etc.

waggyfinger


There is some truth there TBH.
Well there is, and there isn't. My mother beat me fairly regularly. I didn't beat my daughter. We both turned out alright.

I wonder how many mass murderers were abused children and how many weren't. Anyone got any stats?


I'm not advocating beating until welts form.

But being made to go out and "pick the switch" was good enough a deterrent for us most of the time.

kewl_glasses


scholar - 27-5-2009 at 02:47

Some of us need no reminders, but others may not be in contact with such situations, so I'll make an explicit mention--

Some children, such as autistic children or ADD children, have biological differences that make physical punishment counter-productive. I literally could not tell you how many times I was punished for disobeying instructions for which there was no memory formation. Sometimes parents angrily demand, "What did I tell you NOT TO DO?" and the kid makes a guess, because the parent thinks he is willfully disobedient to instructions which left no record in the child's brain. My brother, who works with autistic clients, tells me I would have to study to understand how to prompt responses from children who are "wired" differently.

But, an ADD kid can learn to say he doesn't remember instructions that he really does remember, in hope that he won't be punished. It can be difficult to know one from the other.


Daz - 27-5-2009 at 10:07

Quote:
Quote:
Originally posted by Redwolf5150
"pick the switch"


That's not a term I've ever come across Red, what's its meaning...? I've been racking my brains, trying to think what it might mean, but I've drawn a blank....! lips_sealed

:D


Snowy - 27-5-2009 at 11:07

I think it means pick the cane Daz. I am not quite sure though!
:(


scholar - 27-5-2009 at 11:51

Yes, "pick the switch" refers to the practice of sending the child out to pick which flexible limb of a bush will be used to strike his bottom. It is usually cut off with a pocket knife, and brought back for use. This delay gives the child additional minutes in which to anticipate the punishment.

I had not thought about it before, but it also serves the purpose of giving the parent a few minutes to calm down, if the child has provoked him.


LSemmens - 27-5-2009 at 13:46

I'll not comment upon the OP, but will share from my own experiences. If, as a parent, you are going to threaten some form of punishment for disobedience then you had also best be prepared to carry it out or the child will soon learn that your word is not to be trusted. In future, that same child may be less likely to trust you with their concerns. Positive reinforcement meant that there were few times when it became necessary to resort to corporal punishment, but, they knew the consequences and chose accordingly. At two, it was sometimes a gentle smack on the hand to prevent fingers getting burnt, at five a smack on the backside for wilful disobedience. Time they were older than that, there was rarely any need for more than a pointed finger and a frown. All four of our kids were complimented on their behaviour on many occasions. On Sundays, as Deb and I were often both on stage at church, they would have to sit in the front row by themselves for up to an hour at a time, typical Sundays would see them sitting there for about 8 hours of the day (Two services and music practice), this was from birth through to when our eldest was about 13. They knew that we would be willing to accede to their requests if they did what we requested.