Know the Differences Between Disciplining Children and Abusing Children

When it comes to disciplining children, there is a very thin line between scolding/discipline and abusing them.  Whether it is parents or teachers both need to understand the exact difference between the two and must not cross the line in any case.

The government or laws of many states are very strict against child abuse, whether physically or psychologically.  Besides this, abused children face a lot of trauma throughout their life and may carry the emotional or physical scars forever. The following are the main differences between discipline and child abuse.

differences between disciplining children and abusing children

  • Disciplining children is a practice of inculcating good manners and general sense of disciplining among children. It may involve setting limits and boundaries for children and scolding or punishing them lightly if these limits are crossed. On the other hand, child abuse is excessive scolding, punishment that leads to physical hurting.
  • Physical abusing includes burning with cigarettes, spanking, skeletal injuries, immersion burns, bruises on face, nose, hands, back, stomach and legs. Hurting with hands, wooden rods and/or other hard things is also considered as abusing.
  • The goal of discipline is to create an orderly, stable, predictable and fun world to enjoy and grow healthily. Positive discipline helps children to change and learn their behavior.  Child abuse on the other hand can result when discipline or attempts to control a child may become excessive.
  • Child abuse is more unpredictable than disciplining and children who are abused may not know what set their parents off. The rules and results of children abuse are not clear.
  • All parents tend to get angry and disciplining children may help to control their behavior. But where on one hand disciplining helps, abusing children may prove to be negative for the child, throughout his/her life. The angrier the parent gets, the more intense will be the abuse and hence parents must check their temper before taking any action.
  • Child abuse can take many other forms as well and may go beyond physical abuse. Parents can be psychologically and emotionally abusive through many patterns of humiliating the child, rejecting the child and neglecting the basic rights and needs of the child.  Psychologically abusing children may be just as negative and damaging as physical abuse.

If you are a well meaning parent and do not intend to scar your child for life, it is important that you understand these differences and keep your temper under control.


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