Scares, bruises, and welts are just some of the marks abusive parents leave on their children. However, spanking and slapping on the hand when disobeying are ways to teach loving discipline. In Justice: Childhood Love Lessons bell hooks claims that “No one can rightfully claim to be loving when behaving abusively.” Parents that abuse their children do not show or teach love. However, it is unfair to claim that a slap on the hand is considered abuse and the parents that commit this type of action, they do not love their child. There is a difference between physical punishment and child abuse.
“Children from all classes tell me that they love their parents and are loved by them, even those who are being hurt and abused.” (hooks 1). Love is the best feeling in the world because it makes a person feel confident and secure. hooks explains that when asked to define love children say it’s giving hugs and kisses, being sweet and cuddly. (hooks 1). Children believe that their parents do for them. Jackie at the age of four says ” Love is when your puppy licks your face even when you left him alone all day.” Love is unconditional, parents can get upset with their children for their misbehaving, but they still love them. They may spank or punish their children for things that they have done wrong but they are showing and guiding them to the right things so they do not end up in the wrong places in life. Parents do what is best for their children they do not want them to struggle through life like they did.
Abuse confuses children about love. hooks explains that “There is nothing that creates more confusion about love in minds and hearts of children than unkind and/or cruel punishment meted out by the grown-ups they have been taught they should love and respect.” (hooks 1). Parents that abuse their children confuse them about love because they believe that their parents love them but when they are being hit with belts, hangers, and wooden spoons it makes them think do my parents really love me or not. Parents that beat their children with these items are not showing or teaching their children what love really is.
Anxiety, depression, dissociation, difficultly concentrating, academic problems, withdrawn and/ or difficulty connecting with other, difficulty sleeping are just some of the possible effects of child abuse on a child’s mental health. The effect of abuse may affect each child differently. While the effects of child abuse can be severe and long- lasting, children who have been abused or exposed to violence can and do go on to have productive childhoods and adult lives. Children that have been abused, their brains tend to develop at an incredible pace during the early development stages of infancy and childhood. Some physical effects of child abuse are bruises, welts, burns, difficulty in working or sitting, torn, stained, or bloody clothing, and possible poor hygiene. children may have eating disorders, use drugs, and/ or harm themselves to cope with the trauma of being abused.
There is a difference between physical punishment and child abuse. Physical punishment is done out love to keep a child out of danger, but child abuse is often done by an angry or frustrated parent. Physical punishment is needed in a child’s life to teach them the difference between right from wrong. Spankings are used if a child was told not to touch something, but they do it anyway. Some parents feel that if they spank their child that they will not love them. a child may get mad and resent their parents for spanking, but if the parent goes back to the child and explains that the spanking was not because they were mad or because they do not love them but because they had not done what they were asked.
In conclusion, Love and discipline can coexist to an extent. It’s okay for parents to spank a child when they are not listening or slap their hand to keep them out of danger. But parents that abuse their children are confusing their child about the true meaning of love. There is a difference between physical punishment and child abuse.