Thursday, November 3, 2011
What's The Difference Between Spanking and Abuse?
The following video, which is going viral and is even emblazened on CNN, was brought to my attention by my friend Danielle Salmon:
So is this video an example of spanking or abuse and what is the difference?
As a child I regularly got spankings...I was a bad kid (I mean BAD) and timeouts, grounding, or calling me by my full name was just not going to cut it. In the Black community, spanking is a normal form of discipline and punishment and it's not considered abuse by any means. Many of my Black friends were regularly spanked when they were young and today they are outstanding adults with no issues as result of having to either "pick a switch" (switch= small tree branch. The more green the more painful, and Lord please don't let it have leaves), getting beat with belts, extension cords, and various other household items.
So what is the difference between spankings and abuse? Here's what I feel they are:
1. Abuse leaves severe tissue damage, psychological damage, and wounds while spankings may leave a few welts and minimal bruises.
2. Spankings are a direct result of something done wrong or against the rules (i.e. breaking something and lying about it, mouthing off, etc.) while abuse is done by anything that triggers the abuser or virtually for no reason (i.e. how you are cleaning the kitchen makes me want to punch you.)
3. Spankings occur below the belt on the legs or ass and consist of swatting at, slapping, or using an object such as a belt, spoon, hand, switch, etc. Abuse would be using fist, punching your child in the face or stomach, kicking, or anything done in a bar brawl.
I classify the above video as spanking, a harsher form of spanking, but spanking and not beating. Did her parents need to double team her? Probably not. Should she have been cussed at? Probably not. Would other methods of discipline work? Probably so...especially because she is 16. I don't recall getting spanking after I left elementary school, it seemed after elementary ages other things proved to be harsher forms of discipline for me (i.e. not letting me go to a slumber party, taking away my car keys, etc.)
What do you all think? Was the above video abuse? Is spanking abuse? Does spanking teach kids agressive behavior?