Threats and Depriving Children is Considered Child Abuse

Parenting September 14, 2009 Print Friendly and PDF

Parenting Tips for Your 35-36 Month Old Toddler

Cooperative, well-behaved and responsible children get that way because their parents teach and guide them. In this newsletter we have described the best ways we know to guide children. None of these involve physical punishment. Studies show that physical punishment does not help children learn to behave.

Physical punishment, such as pinching, hitting, spanking, or shaking, can seriously hurt a child. If your child is bruised or injured by physical punishment, this is considered abuse. Depriving a child of food or care, or keeping a child tied up or locked in a room is, of course, abuse. But you can also abuse a child with words. Threats of physical or other feared punishment are abuse.

It is abusive to threaten that scary things will happen to the child if he doesn’t behave, that the bogeyman will take him, that loved ones will stop loving him or leave him or die. It is abusive to make a child believe he is unloved, stupid, wicked, or hopeless. Our suggestions on discipline are written to help parents learn to discipline effectively without abuse. Parents should make sure that babysitters and child care providers are using effective discipline and not abusive punishment.

Our stress management suggestions are to help parents control their tensions so that they do not take out their anger and frustration on their children. Children who are abused or unfairly or harmfully punished are more likely to become uncooperative and difficult than children who learn the rules and are disciplined more gently and patiently.

Learn more about Your Toddler: 35-36 Months from Just In Time Parenting. You can also go to our Resource Links for additional information on child care and development.

Note to Parents: When reading this newsletter, remember: Every baby is different. Children may do things earlier or later than described here. This newsletter gives equal space and time to both sexes. If he or she is used, we are talking about all babies.
References: These materials were adapted by authors from Extension Just in Time Parenting Newsletters in California, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Tennessee, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.