Monday, September 15, 2014

Break the Cycle of Violence

"This is how I was disciplined."

For those who haven't been paying attention to the news, Adrian Peterson - running back for the Minnesota Vikings - has been indicted for child abuse.

For those who have never read my blog - I am very much against child abuse. I am even more against those using the phrase "this is how I was disciplined" as an excuse for abusive behavior.

I was abused. My parents used whatever object they could find to hit me, or just resorted to fists, hands, feet, or whatever other body part they felt like using. Because of the "discipline" I was subjected to... because I knew the pain and scars it caused... I made the decision to never hurt my children in this way.

I have been accused of being a lazy parent because I don't spank or otherwise hit my children. But it has been my experience that spanking, hitting, or otherwise hurting a child is actually the lazy way to do things. To not hit - but still discipline - means a parent has to know their child. They need to understand what will affect their child (such as taking away a cell phone, or television time). And more importantly, they need to take the time to actually teach their children right from wrong, rather than rely on beating the message into the children. They need to be consistent with the teachings. They need to weigh the severity of the behavior, and determine a meaningful consequence. They need to recognize good behavior at the same time, and determine a meaningful reward.

Your child pushes another child (such as the case with Adrian Peterson's child)... what message are you teaching by hitting the child repeatedly with a stick? You're teaching the child violence - plain and simple. You are teaching violence to correct the child's violence towards another.

But a greater issue than even that is to blame it on your own upbringing. Basically, by saying "this is how I was disciplined" you are saying, "this is how my child is going to be when he is a father. He is going to beat his child. He is going to cause open wounds, bruises, and other marks on my grandchild. And I'm ok with that."

Please! Recognize the seriousness of child abuse. Recognize what messages we're really teaching children when we hit them. You do not need to strike a child EVER to teach them love and respect. If you take the time to teach them with words and by modeling the behavior you expect, you'll teach them a lot more than you ever could by hitting them.

If you were abused as a child - get help. Recognize that there are other ways to discipline, and be open to learning these other ways. Break the cycle of violence today!

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