Child Abuse Versus Discipline And Their Respective Consequences

2890 words - 12 pages

Raising a child is a challenging life task that is given over to individuals all over the world without an instruction manual. People must learn by experience how to nurture, care for, and provide for miniature versions of themselves for almost two decades in most cultures! Discipline plays a major role in raising a child because most parents truly want what is best for their children and want them to grow up to be responsible, respectable, and successful adults; however, in some unfortunate cases, parents misinterpret the term discipline and in turn end up abusing their children. The question becomes, is there truly a difference between discipline and abuse? And if so, what is it? With education, individuals can learn how to properly distinguish between discipline and abuse and realize that there is a clear black and white difference between the two. The origin of the word discipline stems from the Latin word disciplina, which means “instruction [or] knowledge” (“Definition of discipline”, n.d.). As stated in the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of the word discipline is “the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, [or] using punishment to correct disobedience” (“Definition of discipline”, n.d.). According to WebMD, a website that is visited and seen by millions of people in the United States every day, discipline is “the process of teaching your child what type of behavior is acceptable and what type is not acceptable. In other words, discipline teaches a child to follow rules” (“Child Discipline Methods”, n.d.). It even goes on to state that “it sounds so straightforward, yet every parent becomes frustrated at one time or another with issues surrounding children and discipline” (“Child Discipline Methods”, n.d.). Could this frustration lead to the abuse that is seen every day? Possibly. However, no amount of frustration can condone any form of child abuse. Some parents tend to see discipline and “punishment and control” as the same thing (“Effective discipline for children”, 2004). The U.S. National Library of Medicine makes clear the “controversy” that has grown as a response to the proper way to discipline a child and the fact that there are set boundaries as to how to go about the discipline (“Effective discipline for children”, 2004). Once a parent disregards those boundaries, there is a high probability that the parent will consequently be an abuser of his or her child. Child abuse is recognized by the federal government and, due to the immense amount of cases, has federal legislation in play to protect the rights of children. As reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families:
The Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act defines child abuse and neglect as, at minimum[,] any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation; or an act or failure to...

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