Sometime ago on Twitter, a man repeatedly slapped his son on the head for failing to write his exams after he had paid about twenty thousand dollars for tuition. A polarized debate broke out online. On one side, people felt the man did just enough to discipline the child, and on the other side, people felt that the man should have taken the time to understand the reasons for the child’s actions—that beating him was child abuse.
The question is: what constitutes an abuse? For this reason, we’ve broken down what we think might help in understanding the difference between discipline and abuse.
The thing to keep in mind is that when discipline is excessive it become abuse. Discipline becomes abuse when the person is physically injured. These injuries include but not limited to bruise, skin tear, body swell or any case that requires medical attention.
Discipline becomes abuse when it is meant to instill fear into the person instead of educating them.
Discipline is relative to gender and age. Giving a 6-year-old a discipline for 18-year-old would, most likely, border on abuse.
At the end of a discipline ask yourself:
Has this person learned anything from this? Do I feel bad for what I did to them? Does this person understand what they did wrong and why I am doing what I am doing?
There are different ways an abused person may seem or exhibit:
An abused person may exhibit extreme behavioral and mood swings in behaviors—one minute they are happy and the next they are aggressive, then withdrawn, then regressive.
An abused person may become depressed. This depression could lead to crying and self-loathing and hurting.
An abused person would come to fear their abuser.
In a case of extreme abuse, the abused would be reluctant to be in the vicinity with their abuser.
An abused person may become abusive thinking that abuse is the only way to tackle problems.