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The difference between discipline and child abuse

Parents can and should teach their child discipline. The task of parents is to voice their expectations of the child’s behavior, explain to him the rules, norms and moral values. Children need to be constantly disciplined so that they can learn from their mistakes. Also, discipline provides the child with safety and gives him an understanding of what he can and cannot do.

Discipline helps the child learn and change their behavior. However, parental attempts to control their child can become excessive and harm him. When it comes to discipline of children, there is a very fine line between the attempts of parents to teach a child to discipline and violence against him. Parents and teachers must understand where this line passes, and in no case cross it.

In many countries, legislation is very strict on physical and mental abuse of children. In addition, abused children receive severe emotional trauma, the consequences of which they experience throughout their lives.

Consider the main differences between discipline and child abuse:

Discipline of children is a process during which you instill in your child good manners and rules of behavior. You can set boundaries for the child, scold him or slightly punish him if he violates them. Violence against a child is a situation when you abuse the child excessively or punish in such a way that it leads to physical damage.
Physical abuse includes assault, burning skin with cigarettes, or any other action that results in burns, bruises on the face, arms, or other parts of the body. Punches, sticks, and other heavy objects are also manifestations of physical violence.
The purpose of discipline is to create an orderly, stable, predictable and fun environment in which the child can grow, develop and enjoy normally. Violence against a child can lead to the fact that attempts to control him can become excessive and go beyond the reasonable.
Violence against a child is more unpredictable than discipline. Children who have been abused do not understand what caused such a reaction from their parents. In the event of violence, the child is not clear about the rules and consequences for breaking them.
Almost all parents are angry with their child. Disciplining a child helps parents control their behavior. But where discipline can be beneficial, violence can lead to negative consequences for life. The more angry parents feel, the more violent they are. Therefore, parents should test their feelings before taking any action.
Violence against children can go beyond physical impact and take other forms. Parents are capable of causing psychological or emotional harm to the child, in every possible way humiliating him, rejecting or neglecting the basic rights and needs of the child. Psychological abuse of a child can be as harmful and destructive as physical.
If you are responsible parents and do not want to harm your child, the consequences of which he will feel throughout his life, it is important to understand the differences between discipline and violence and control your emotions.

Child abuse should never be seen as a method of discipline. Discipline should also not be considered a manifestation of violence. But sometimes, trying to instill in the child the rules of behavior, parents can be on the verge of violence, often – unknowingly. This happens so quickly that parents do not have time to track their emotions and notice the impending danger.

When parents are overwhelmed with emotions, they cease to adequately perceive their actions and their consequences. Experiencing anger, parents are not able to look at the situation from the point of view of the child. As a result, communication becomes impossible, and with it, the ability to teach a child something disappears.

Therefore, it is so important for parents to be able to stop on time. This allows us not to cross the line between discipline and violence. Make a conditional gesture with your child that means you should pause. If you think that the child should be punished, it will not matter if you do it in 10 seconds. But this time is enough for you to take a deep breath several times and cope with emotions. And perhaps during this time you will change your mind.

Some parents show their anger in the hope that it will scare the child and make him obedient. However, do not think that fear and obedience are one and the same thing. Psychologists say that fear affects a child only at the moment. The child reacts under the influence of fear, but this does not mean that his behavior will change for a long time. Fear only reduces the child’s ability to empathize.

A child who is afraid of parents is stressed. This prevents him from perceiving the information that his parents are trying to convey to him.

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