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Question regarding disciplining a child when that child was previously physically abused?

This question is only to those who believe in spanking. Let's suppose that I have became the legal guardian of a younger cousin a boy who is to move into my home and live with myself and my children . And this younger cousin has been physically abused previously while being spanked as in they were injured and the prospect of being spanked of course would terrify them . Well lets say i spank my children when i deem neccesary . My first inclination would be don't do it to my younger cousin , but there is a real conflict here because when the younger cousin needs to be disciplined if i don't discipline him in the same manner as my children it seems unfair .. How should i handle this ?

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Anonymous said...

Just a quick one I personally have experienced physical abuse which is by definition physical harm and it's usually employed when the person is angry or frustrated and just lashes out because it's the quickest and most convenient way to regain control.

In my experience I found it very difficult to respect or even care in the end whether I was beaten or not. If I behaved myself I was ignored when I misbehaved or at least they thought I was I got 'Some' attention. I would say that there are lots of programmes on TV that help kids and parents. Certainly online there are websites with help and support.

It's really important that you treat children in the same household the same way, but I also feel that physical violence is never even the last resort since it never works and continues to breed more of the same behaviours.

You could also check out your local library to find books that will help you find healthier ways to react and respond to bad behaviour. Continuity is the key and remember children don't think the way adults do since they have little or no life experiences to show them how to be, where as adults we have lots of options, and can act before things get out of hand and we feel violence is all they understand. That way leads to disfunction and heartache.

It costs a lot in terms of physical emotional and mental pain to get where we are today we might consider putting at least that much positive energy into changing the way things are, through say family counselling. But I also know that the TV programmes have lots of ways and ideas to help everyone get what they need. Such as the house of tiny tearaways, and Supernanny. The advice offered is just as relevent to older children as it is to little ones.
Hope this helps

Anonymous said...

I am not anti spanking, but in this situation, you may need to consider removing spanking from your discipline list. Not just to the cousin, but to your kids as well. I understand its not really what you would have planned to do other wise, but clearly the circumstances as a whole arent what you would have planned. While I understand that spanking is not abuse, since this child HAS been abused, he may not understand the difference. If you pay much attention to this board or want to search the spanking questions, most of the anti-spankers were abused.

There are plenty of other discipline methods. How old is he? Time out? Grounding? Removal of privledges? Adding of extra chores.

The key here really isnt the method, but the consistency. If he isnt supposed to do it, he needs to be disciplined every single time. You may also want to lay out the rules and specifically what the punishment will be for him. A lot of times abused children will be so terrified of more abuse that they will fear discipline altogether.

You should also consider finding a local support group for families with abused children, as well as make sure he is getting 1 on 1 counseling with a professional.

Anonymous said...

There are other disciplinary techniques that are just as effective, maybe more so. Spanking this child would not be fair to him, and it is definitely not the same as spanking your other children.

This child was physically abused, and being spanked now would be traumatic and might cause permanent damage to his psyche.

If you're worried about your kids feeling that it is unfair, then explain to them why you need to do things differently with this other child. They will understand, and even if they don't, it wouldn't be right to mentally torture this other child (and that's what it would be) so that the other kids don't complain.

If you need ideas for disciplinary methods for a given situation, please feel free to e-mail me.