Discipline or Abuse PAGE 3
Comparison and Contrast
Discipline or Abuse
Carl R. Foster
June 23, 2009
University of Phoenix
Compare and Contrast
Discipline or Abuse
The chosen subject to compare and contrast is Discipline or Abuse. What is discipline and what is considered abuse. The types of discipline that can be used without being considered abuse, The realm of public opinion will be explored with a wide array of perceptions as discussed in the paper; "Discipline and Development: A Meta-Analysis of Public Perceptions of Parenting, Parents, Child Development and Child Abuse." Meg Bostrom, Public Knowledge, LLC; May, 2003.
The view the public holds on parental responsibility indicates that parents are doing a worse job of parenting than past generations, and the lack of parental supervision is a more serious than drugs, divorce or inadequate schools. With the rise of the two income family there has been a decline in the two parent family. Accordingly, the perception of that one parent should remain at home to look after them is still quite prevalent in public perception. "Developmentally inappropriate expectations of children may influence how parents choose to discipline and may undermine policies, programs and activities." (Discipline and Development p.3)
A further element of a cultural context is the term "child abuse" which suggests extreme physical harm. People struggle with where the line is between "discipline" and "abuse." Physical punishments are not necessarily abusive, depending on the age of the child and the severity of the act. In contrast, spanking is not the preferred disciplinary activity and some say they use this option rarely. With the information received from sources outside the home the children use the word "abuse" against the parent when disciplining, adding to the reluctance to use a form of corporal punishment. Joan E. Durrant from the Department of Family Social Services, University of Manitoba, states: "this contradiction contributes to many professionals' uncertainty about advising parents about physical punishment." The issue then becomes where certain physical punishment can be viewed as a normative, relatively harmless and justifiable act of discipline that can be distinguished from physical abuse.
Distinguishing physical punishment from physical abuse can be determined by the presence or absence of physical injury. (e.g. National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information, 2000) It can be argued that the intent can determine abuse from normative discipline, that parents who discipline their children intend not to harm them, but to learn a lesson and teach them. (Gil, 1970; Kadushin & Martin, 1981, Troce' et al. 2001). (Vasta, 1982,p.135; Gil, 1970; Peltoniemi,1983) conclude, that parental intent can not be used...