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The Dividing Line Between Discipline And Abuse:

This is a huge issue with the public. When asked about the dividing line between discipline and abuse, participants had a great deal to say on the subject. They continually returned to the topic of parents’ fears about disciplining their children.

Participants emphatically expressed their belief that reasonable discipline is NOT abuse. There was general agreement that it is very tough to determine where the line is, though, because different families and different cultures approach discipline in a variety of ways. Even so, they virtually all agreed that there is a line past which reasonable parents do not go and no parents should be permitted to go:

·       Situations involving severe bleeding, bruising, or broken bones

·       All sexual abuse

·       If you leave marks when you spank a child

·       If a person isn’t able to control themselves and they’re just going off on the kids; also, the degree, like if they’re mad at them and they throw the kid down the steps

·       The instrument used to administer discipline matters; using the hand, never any kind of object

With respect to reporting abuse and neglect, participants expressed concern that when they make a report they have no way of knowing what action has occurred.

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