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why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

Posted by philmont_2006 (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 4, 06 at 9:05

Hi, got some serious problems and don't know what do to. My wife hits the kids but doesn't leave any bruses. Our counseler says unless there is bruses he can't report it. She did leave bruses once and that got reported. I want to leave but my counselor said there is no way I would get 100% custody of the kids because she has gone on vacation with them and has had good times. This morning she hit my 12 year old and 7 year, never in front of me, I was going to the bathroom. I know if I call my counselor what he will say, how do I make this stop, how do I protect my kids. She has been in counseling for 17 years and it really hasn't helped. Now she won't go, and I go just to try to keep from cracking. Should I call a lawyer, the cops??? My son was crying because his head hurt this morning from headache he got after she slapped his head.
Thanks Dave


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

Gosh, this is a hard one without seeing what is going on. If you're a very anti-spanker type person (which your title sort of suggests) then I guess any physical punishment can seem totally wrong.

I would be worried about the head thing...but then again, I've seen kid's milk things like that especially if they can get the other parent to side with them. I could almost imagine a scenario where a kid calls his mom a b*tch, she slaps him near his head and then he goes off wailing about a headache.

One thing I would personally look at is if her hitting is controlled or not. Is it happening right there in a fit of rage with just uncontrolled hitting and punching or does it seem more controlled. I find it odd that she does it when you are not there--is it always like that? And, exactly what type of hitting are you talking about --spanking, slaps, punches, using belts, etc? Does she ever come after you physically?

I would guess the fact that there aren't bruises may mean it's within legal limits of punishments for children. Why don't you call the police, tell them your problem and ask for their best advice?

Good luck. I wish there was some way you could convince your wife that "other types of punishments" may work better on your kids. Maybe you could try to control the issue with predetermined punishments. Like tell the kids that everytime they talk back -- they lose the tv for the night. Or if they call someone a name--there's no playstation for 2 days, etc...Simply tell you wife that her physical way isn't working or she wouldn't have to keep doing it and that's it's your turn to try your way of punishment.


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

Carla, thanks much, we have spanked the kids, I have when they do something wrong, she hits when she is upset not because the kids did something wrong... that is very consistent. The kids know I'm the carrying parent. I get mad at times to but I don't hit them. I'm also tired and worn out, her mood changes are drastic and you never know. I hate her as well, I was going to try to make it until my 7 year old is 18 then get divorced but I'll be dead by then. If they did something wrong and she slapped that is one thing but she slaps (hard) when she is upset at something else which is often.... she is very angry most of the time and very bitter.
She did call the cops a couple of years ago after she was in a rage and I stopped her then she hit me. The cops came and interviewed my son and then left. You hear about people that go to counseling and on meds for depression but they have never really helped her on a consistent basis. I thought I could help but I know I can't anymore... I really want out but for the safety of the kids I can't go
thanks


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

Ask her how she wants her children to remember her one day. Children grow up and have very, very long memories of how they were treated as children, and they also have the ability to tell everyone she knows, and in THIS day and age, there has been so much written about parenting, that no one will think well of her, including her own children. Even the sibling she did not hit, will remember how he or she felt when she saw her own mommy hitting her sister or brother. She needs to develop self control, and get her own behavior under control, and read the parenting books, take a class in parenting, or listen to parenting tapes available at the library...before her children look back at their childhood, and understand what she did to them. Adult children have to emotionally work through all of this pain throughout their adult life...and no one will respect her later. Even if there are good times, they will be overshadowed and forgotten and her role as a mom will be reduced to the pain she created. If you can help her to grasp and understand this, perhaps she will want to become the kind of mom who will be cherised, loved and honored. Otherwise, one day her behavior will bring her shame, lonliness, and pain, and such anger.

You also need to look at what is actually going on. And what your own motivation really is. Are you looking at the situation through the eyes of a man who wants a divorce, and who is looking for a way to take the kids from her, or through the eyes of a man who truly has the best interest of his children at heart. Is she really a bad mother, or are you wanting to be with another woman, but do not want to lose your children, and are looking for reasons to take them from her? I think you need to understand where your heart is and what your motives are. If you really believe that your children should not be left with her because she truly is abusive...then of course it is your duty to protect your children. I hesitate to mention this, because it seems like such a betrayal to do to anyone, but I did see a couple on Dr. Phil where the husband was so verbally abusive, that she had video cameras installed to show him what he was really like. And he was horrified to see and hear himself. He was always able to justify his behavior, saying that it was not that bad, and they would fight about it. When he actually saw the video, he finally understood that it really was...that bad, and he could see the pain in his childrens eyes. And he broke down and cried when he saw who, and what he really, really was. The monster he had become. And he could no longer hide, and excuse his behavior. He could begin to heal and change into the person he wanted to become. People can be in such denial about their behavior, and try and justify their behavior. They can fool themself into believing that they weren't really that bad. And only when they see it through this vantage point, are they startled into understanding and being accountable for their behavior and the pain it causes others. And they can choose to become a better person.


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

That's so sad and I know a hard situation because you feel that the kids would even be less safe with you not around.

It does sound like your wife is majorly depressed. Is she on medicine, now? Maybe she just needs to keep trying different ones. A friend of mine had to try like 8 different ones until he found one that worked for him. Sometimes just finding the right one is the key. Don't give up. Also, could there be some reason for her depression that could be fixed/changed (very trying MIL, she's overweight, stressful job, too much housework, etc)?

I would still try to talk to her about different ways of punichments. I bet she knows (during her normal good moods) that what she is doing is wrong but just can't control herself. Have you tried to catch her in a good mood and ask her what she thinks the answer is? I know you may be afraid to confront her on this, but you could discuss it with her without really blaming her. It may be worth it to have a good talk about it. She may be just as upset about it as you.

Remember, she is your still wife and this may just be the bad part of the "in sickness and health" part of your marriage vows.


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

thanks again, seriously... my wife is depressed, has been all the time I have known her, she has tried a few different meds. but has been on this one for quite a while. I am a family man and family is so important to me but I just don't like the way she treats me and the kids. She works about 15 hours a week during the school year, and does the grocery shopping.... I don't want to get into I do more that her, that's not the point....her hours at work are not steady she would like to work a steady 24 hours a week. It would be nice to have a good time as a family now and then but I just take the kids and go on vacation or visit family, even the Holiday's it's the kids going with me to visit.... but those are the cards I got dealt..... I know now I can't help her anymore which was taking so much energy from me... The 2 older kids know she is not right. Bnice: she hated her childhood and doesn't have a relationship with her parents or siblings. She's very smart women.... she knows if she keeps this up she won't have a relationship with her kids. My 14 year old really doesn't have a relationship with her, hasn't for about 3 years.... I really appreciate your thoughtfulness and constructive feedback, I really do. I just feel so back for my kids..... everyday.


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

Perhaps you can try and minimize her time with the kids. Maybe she could get a job where she leaves for work before they come home from school, and she gets home as they are going to bed. And you become the parent they are with after school and into the evenings. She can take care of the house and have dinner waiting before she leaves for work. On weekends, perhaps you can take the kids out and do fun things with them, and try and minimize her time with the children, so they are less apt to be at the receiving end of her anger, and you can help to make good memories with you of their childhood. Later, they will appreciate that you stepped in and made things better for them and they will appreciate you for it. What a difficult place you are in. I am sorry that it is so hard.


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

I'm thinking of having the kids report this to someone who HAS To report this. If THEY Tell SCHOOL, if THEY tell their pastor, whomever HAS TO LEGALLY report this then CPS has to check these out and they will be on record. Then when it happens again THEY tell again. So you need to sit down with them, and tell them what has to happen. THen you have a talk with the people of choice for them to tell. Tell them you want them to report this EVERY TIME. You will probably not get sole custody, but there is better chance you can get primary custody (or whatever it is called where she gets visitation and you get them the majority of the time. Remember the more they tell, the more CPS has to investigate, the more you have as leverage.

Vickey-MN


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

vicky, I do not know anything about what you are suggesting, but I would be very careful if I were him, because they may take all of the children away and send them to "different" foster homes, while the state sorts all of this out. I would imagine that when you are dealing with that situation, that it could take months or years to get your children back. There was a woman on TV who said it took her two years to get her child back. He should ask alot more questions before suggesting to his children to do this. He may wish he never did. This would affect he and the children as much as it affects his wife, if they come in and take the children while they investigate.

But he needs to get his wife to understand that she cannot do this to her children...no matter how angry or frustrated she is. That it is simply not an option, and they need to come up with alternatives to that behavior. If a child misbehaves, perhaps they miss something they really want to do. Or they lose their allowance for the week. I have a friend and when her children do something wrong, she has a special list of chores she never gets to, and they are assigned to that chore...like pulling weeds, or vacuuming out the cars, and washing the cars, etc. She also makes them run a few laps like the coach at school makes kids do.

Also, people tend to live up to our expectations. Catch your wife when she is being a "good" parent, and compliment her when she shows patience with the children, or listens when they are talking. Try and encourage her. I know you hate her right now, but remember, that when you encourage her, she will treat your beloved children better. And the bottom line is that their emotional health desperately needs their own "mom" to love and cherish them. To smile at them and support them. To laugh with them! The healthier her behavior toward them...the better it will be for your children. It is your "gift" to them. And I know it is the hardest gift to give...I wish you well as you try and help your family. I heard a story a long time ago. A man no longer liked his wife. He wanted to leave, and not a day passed, when he did not wish he could leave. He was told to behave as if he loved her. To treat her as he would a lover. To stroke her shoulder as he walked by. To stroke her hair. To look at her and really listen when she spoke. That if he behaved as if he was in love, that things would begin to change. And the story continued. A grandfather explained to his grandson that two wolves lived inside him. One wold was kind, and good, and laughed easily. The other wolf was angry, bitter, and mean. He explained to his grandson that the two wolves were at war within him. The young boy asked his grandfather which wolf would win. The grandfather responded...the one that I feed. And he meant that if he dwelled on anger, bitter thoughts, etc. then that was who he would become. But if he dwelt on happy thoughts, kind words, and was generous...than that was the kind of man he would become. I do not know if this helps, and I understand that it is very hard to love the woman your wife is at this time, but perhaps she too is unhappy with who she is right know, and wishes to change but does not know how. Maybe the two of you can spend time together and just talk, and listen to her. Hear her. And perhaps you can find that girl you once loved, and married. And perhaps she can find her way back to being the kind of woman she dreams of being. I wish you both well as you begin to bring healing to your family...and changes, so that you can make your family healthy. I wish you well.


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

vicky, I do not know anything about what you are suggesting, but I would be very careful if I were him, because they may take all of the children away and send them to "different" foster homes, while the state sorts all of this out. I would imagine that when you are dealing with that situation, that it could take months or years to get your children back. There was a woman on TV who said it took her two years to get her child back. He should ask alot more questions before suggesting to his children to do this. He may wish he never did. This would affect he and the children as much as it affects his wife, if they come in and take the children while they investigate.

But he needs to get his wife to understand that she cannot do this to her children...no matter how angry or frustrated she is. That it is simply not an option, and they need to come up with alternatives to that behavior. If a child misbehaves, perhaps they miss something they really want to do. Or they lose their allowance for the week. I have a friend and when her children do something wrong, she has a special list of chores she never gets to, and they are assigned to that chore...like pulling weeds, or vacuuming out the cars, and washing the cars, etc. She also makes them run a few laps like the coach at school makes kids do.

Also, people tend to live up to our expectations. Catch your wife when she is being a "good" parent, and compliment her when she shows patience with the children, or listens when they are talking. Try and encourage her. I know you hate her right now, but remember, that when you encourage her, she will treat your beloved children better. And the bottom line is that their emotional health desperately needs their own "mom" to love and cherish them. To smile at them and support them. To laugh with them! The healthier her behavior toward them...the better it will be for your children. It is your "gift" to them. And I know it is the hardest gift to give...I wish you well as you try and help your family. I heard a story a long time ago. A man no longer liked his wife. He wanted to leave, and not a day passed, when he did not wish he could leave. He was told to behave as if he loved her. To treat her as he would a lover. To stroke her shoulder as he walked by. To stroke her hair. To look at her and really listen when she spoke. That if he behaved as if he was in love, that things would begin to change. And the story continued. A grandfather explained to his grandson that two wolves lived inside him. One wold was kind, and good, and laughed easily. The other wolf was angry, bitter, and mean. He explained to his grandson that the two wolves were at war within him. The young boy asked his grandfather which wolf would win. The grandfather responded...the one that I feed. And he meant that if he dwelled on anger, bitter thoughts, etc. then that was who he would become. But if he dwelt on happy thoughts, kind words, and was generous...than that was the kind of man he would become. I do not know if this helps, and I understand that it is very hard to love the woman your wife is at this time, but perhaps she too is unhappy with who she is right know, and wishes to change but does not know how. Maybe the two of you can spend time together and just talk, and listen to her. Hear her. And perhaps you can find that girl you once loved, and married. And perhaps she can find her way back to being the kind of woman she dreams of being. I wish you both well as you begin to bring healing to your family...and changes, so that you can make your family healthy. I wish you well.


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

I feel very sad for you, I know how I feel when I see children being smacked. I dont think its ever necessary, its assault in my mind, you arent allowed to hit other adults why should children get treated like that.

what do you do when this is going on, do you console the children, or do you talk to your wife ?

Good advice in the other posters.


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

After further thinking I guess I would have to agree with bnicebkind about the police involvement. Of course they need to be called if the kid's are really getting hurt, but I'm not sure you want them breathing down your back because mommy lost her temper and slapped someone.

Again, I really think she needs either new medicine or to have her medicine adjusted -- many will lose effectiveness after time. The one good thing you have going for you is that it sounds like she knows she's depressed or has a problem-- since she is already taking meds. Usually, the biggest problem is getting someone to admit depression and seek help. It just appears the help (meds) she is taking aren't helping. She needs to let her doctor know that her moods and temper are so off that they are strongly hurting her family. The doctor should want to work with her to find a med. that will help. Find something that works.

ps. I'm not a big counselor fan; sometimes I think they do more harm than good, so I personally wouldn't push that route.


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

I have heard it said that it takes 30 days to form a new habit...to just consistantly do something for 30 days, and changes will happen. Perhaps you can come up with a game plan, and sit down with your wife and talk to her about what you want to change in your home. The is a rule often used by therapists...pick up something (anything) and that becomes the passport. When one of you holds the passport to speak, no one can interupt you while you hold the passport. You can say what you have to say, without being interupted. When it is their turn to respond and speak, they hold the passport and you too must "listen" and not interupt, until it is your turn. If it were me, I might just lay it on the line, and let her know that you are unhappy in your marriage, and you are really disappointed in her treatment of your children. And that as you see it, you have 3 choices.
1. To stay married and continue to live as you are...which at this point, feels like and option you are not willing to accept.
2. To rebuild this marriage and family so that it becomes a good and happy place to be.
3. To divorce and share custody of your children.

Explain that if you are going to stay married, that it is only on the condition that we come up with a game plan that brings changes to this family so that it is a good and happy place to be for everyone. And that you are going to work out the plan with her, and then together share it with the children, in a fun way. Explain to her that their are certain expectations that you will waiver on.
1. She may not hit your children...ever. You will come up with a list of chores and one will be assigned to the child who misbehaves. My friend also believes the running of laps as a punishment is effective, because they have time to think about what they did as they are running, and it reduces their energy and calms them down if they are bothering their siblings because they are bored, or have too much energy.
2. I do not know how many children you have, but if you have 3, you could purchase poker chips and assign each child a color. When they do something good, you give them a chip in their color at the end of the day. If you see them doing something really kind to a sibling or parent like letting them go first, or something, you can give them a heart. (cut out a bunch out of red construction paper) and award them if you catch them doing something loving for their sibling. You and your wife can come up with awards either at the end of the week, where they can trade in 10 chips for a reward...like getting to do something they want, or perhaps a playdate, or going for ice cream. Anyway, you get the idea. This friend put together a prize box and they got to reach in and pick out a cheap toy or candy or a piece of paper that said play date on it, etc.

When you see your wife changing, and see her improve her parenting skills, smile at her and compliment her. Tell her, that was great! The way you handled that situation. Awesome parenting honey! Encourage her. The human spirit is starving for praise and kind words. There are so many people in the world that use their attitude/words etc. to make people feel like less. If you see her in wearing something that you like, tell her she looks pretty in that dress! Or let her hear you tell the kids...mommy looks so pretty in that dress. Or that color makes mommies eyes look pretty.

I know that all of this will be hard at first, because it will seem so artificial, and may be for awhile. And because what you feel for her right now, is no where near this. But try it for 1 month. And see where your family is a month from now.

Because to keep going like you are is just too sad for not only you, but your family too. Make ground rules that you are simply not willing to bend on. (No hitting. period. ever). It is a new day. There is a book out called "Happiness is a choice" that I understand is excellent. Can you get your wife to read this book? Everyday we make choices. We can choose to be happy and smile. To laugh. Or we can dwell in dark places and make everyone around us as miserable as we are. Make an appointment and go with her to her doctor. Tell him that you believe that the medication does not seem to be working. What are your options?


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

That was supposed to read "Explain to her that there are certain expectations that you will NOT waiver on". Since you value family, and want to be committed to hanging in there for your children, see if you can't try some changes and see if you can make this a much happier home for you all. Otherwise, it would feel like a life sentence. Tell her that if we are going to stay together, let's re-group and make it happy and fun for us both. No one wants to live this way...neither you, nor I. Let's take on this challenge and start over. Leave the past in the past, and make tomorrow a new day. Tell everyone in the family that we are going to greet each other with a smile! Get a joke book for kids at the library and write a joke and put it in their lunches. They can share the joke/riddle with friends.
You could sit together at dinner each night, and pick a child each night and everyone in the family tells that child/parent what they like about them. And if it is your wifes turn, tell the kids what you like about mommy. (I know it is hard when you feel as you do towards her right now, but it will get easier). Build her up in front of your kids. Everyone will love you for it. I wish you happier days ahead!


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

A suggestion was given to me before I divorced the Ex to keep a notebook and detail dates and times, exact words said, what hitting took place, etc. Judges look at that sort of thing more seriously than just spoken words at trial. Even though the Ex threatened to get permanent custody, he failed. And when he continuously harrassed me after my complete cooperation with visitation, the judge cut back his visitation after Ex petitioned for more.

Divorce was better for the kids than living with their father. Wish I would have done it sooner. It's been the best 13 years of my life with him gone. Even though I supported the kids' rights to visit and have a relationship with their father, now that they are adults, his continued behavior has soured his relationship with all four of them. If he were terminally ill, I am not sure if any of them would visit him. It's very sad, but he created the situation.


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

I re-read your letter. I applaud you for not abandoning your children, and leaving them to fend for themselves if you left. That is a real father. A father who will make sacrifices for the children. It sounds as if your wife was in the wrong type of counceling. It sounds as though what she really needs are classes in anger management for the well being of your children. Perhaps that is one of the things you will require of her that you will not waiver on.

After re-reading your first two posts, I believe that what I suggested in the above two posts sounds like a long shot. And I can imagine how difficult it would be to pull off with a person who is angry and bitter. Especially given how you feel about her.

Does she have ANY good points? If so, what are they?

I think it would be so depressing to live with someone who has been depressed for 20 years, and is so angry and bitter.
If it were me, (OK, I am climbing up on that soapbox for a speech) I think I would tell them that I am sick of them using depression as an excuse for rotten behavior. I would tell her that if it is real depression...meaning chemical imbalance of some sort, then to get herself to a doctor and get her medications right. And if it is depression caused by her own disappointments in life, then suck it up and put a smile on your face and start doing some of the things you need to do. Because the kids and I hate living like this, and your anger and bitterness is destroying our family and the childhood of these children. They do not get a second chance at childhood...this is it, and it is going to be happy from tomorrow on. And if you cannot be a part of making this family a happy and good place to be, then I (meaning you Dave) will step up to the plate and raise these kids and give them that happy, safe childhood. Your 14 year old has so little childhood left, and I (meaning you Dave) am going to make sure it is great! Are you on board, or are you going to continue to hide behind your depression and anger and bitterness, doing your best to make sure home life is crappy for us all? She has a choice to make here. And you may find she is on board, and will begin some new changes, or that she likes being angry and miserable...and then you will know what you need to do.

Forgive me for the two messages above, as after I re-read your original posts, I realized how they must sound to someone who is really in the pits in a marriage to someone who is so angry, and bitter all the time. I am not sure any of us could actually rise to the occasion if we were in your shoes and actually pull off what I suggested above. It sounds as if the marriage is just too miserable to actually bring yourself to do as I suggested. Not that it couldn't be done, but it would take a better person than I am to pull it off. Unless she actually makes a decision to change. If she does...perhaps she will surprise you all!

In my best pollyanna view...I sometimes think that we can change someone else by being really kind to them. I sometimes have these wierd thoughts that you could take her for a morning of pampering (facial, massage) and then take her for a new outfit, and take just her out to dinner. That by you treating her differently, that maybe she will thaw out, and begin to see herself differently, and begin to change and laugh and smile. That she will "want" to be a better woman for her family. Perhaps it is just wishful thinking...but just maybe????? Anyone, I forget that some people actually "like" to be angry and bitter and miserable all the time. That is their comfort zone. Perhaps she is one of those people. I don't know.


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

Dave,

Most cities have nonprofits work to prevent domestic violence. This may be where you found your counselor, but if I'd suggest finding one and setting up an appointment. The suggestion of a diary documenting the hitting is also a good one. It will help the counselor determine the situation fits into your state's legal structure. They will also have a good idea of how the police department will handle it, and if there's a better place to call than 911, such as a child abuse or domestic violence task force.


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

There is a book on tape available at most library's called: "The 7 habits of Highly Effective Families". It is also available in book if you like to read and have the time. The guy that wrote it raised 9 kids, amd talks about how to go about changing a family that has disfunctional issues, into a strong, effective family. It would be worth the time listening to it, and their are others on the market as well, as it looks like your children need you...they need at least one parent who is strong, happy, supportive and willing to make up for the pain a dysfunctional parent creates within the family.


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

Hitting from the neck up is child abuse...period. Hitting and leaving marks/bruises in other areas on the body is also considered child abuse. Spanking is not. First....try to stop it when it happens....second, if there are bruises then take photographs of them and bring the children to the hospital. There they will be evaluated and a SW will be notified. Don't mess around with this...God forbid she really hurts one of them one of these days..you can also be held accountable for knowing about it and not preventing it/reporting it. Your counselor is not doing his/her job...so you need to take steps to protect not only your children but yourself. Your children need you...don't let them or yourself down. Good luck...my thoughts are with you.


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

You cannot change someone that does not want to change. This father's job is to protect his children (and he is at a loss as to how to do it, and is asking for HELP).

DId anyone here ever read the book "A child called IT"? Do you know who I was the most angry with in that book...NOT the mother (I'm not saying she didn't disgust me thouroughly), she had a mental problem...it was the Dad, he knew the son was being abused and did NOTHING to protect his child. THose are the people that make me sick.

Here we have a father that wants to protect his children, does not know how as the route he was taking that he thought would work (The counselor, that SHOULD have worked) didn't, so he's aksing for help, and the answers he's getting is to change her. SHe doesn't want to, or Can't change. So he has to PROTECT HIS CHILDREN. So he has to find a way. Talk to the school, how can he protect them and make sure he can keep custody. Talk to a pastor, minister, priest, same thing. If he is showing he is trying to protect them and they report the abuse, he will not lose them. BUT he must find a way to protect them. IF they start to feel he will not protect them, they will stop telling him and they will feel that he (by the fact he is not somehow protecting them...kids get weird ideas in their heads), agrees with Mom.

Philmont, you're stuck between a rock and a hardplace. You have to wedge yourself out. Contact a shelter for abused women (I know you're not a woman, it is just that those shelters are more prevelant than shelters for abused men), ask them where to turn as you do not know. They should be able to guide you. As kids who are abused are told, you should follow the rule. Keep telling and asking poeple until you can get help to get this stopped. THose kids are worth the effort to keep them safe.

Vickey-MN


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

philmont,

Here's the first link that came up for me when I typed in physical child abuse. You may want to try looking up some info. yourself. You should get an understanding of what authorities consider child abuse. Opinions on the matter are going to be all over the board, and aren't really going to matter or help you much. Your children's pediatrician may also be able to help you.

I still don't see your wife as this pysically abusive monster. I see her as a chronically depressed person maybe with some anger management or anxiety problems, who may even have some emotional menopause-related problems added to it. She needs to see a doctor.

I have a sneaking suspicion that you're probably even more upset over the emotional abuse she has caused your family. Of course, the physical abuse is easier to point out, and get sympathy for. But, I would bet it's the verbal and emotional stuff that has really been at the root of the problem and caused the loss of your love.

Here is a link that might be useful: Physical Child Abuse


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

Everyone has their own opinion on where the line between discipline and child abuse lies. In my case, I personally believe that no child should ever be hit, for any reason. That means you have to be very creative, and find better, more effective ways of teaching and disciplining children. It can be done--I raised a wonderful, caring, kind, lovable, responsible daughter without ever laying a hand on her in anger.

However, your wife is obviously someone who is extremely ill. She's not going to change, you can't make her. And if she's snowed the authorities thus far, you've got an uphill battle.

I'd second the suggestion above that you document EVERY single thing she does that has the potential of harming your children. And every time they seem to have any lingering effects from her physical discipline, I'd take them to the dr. and have them checked out (the linger headache could very well be a minor concussion). That will create a record, of some extent, of the problem, and if and when necessary, you can call in the dr. to testify in court. He'll know, from talking to the children, what happened.

Have you tryed calling a shelter for abused women in your area? Might be a long shot, and they usually deal with women and children who need to get away from an abusive husband, but they might be able to offer advice, and point you toward the right agencies to get help.

You definitely need to have a good lawyer--and your children really need a court-appointed advocate who can look after their interests. Any money you pay a lawyer to help you sort out this mess will be money well-spent. And don't be too sure that your wife is going to have an easy time getting custody. Your oldest is 14? That's old enough in many places that the judge will listen to what she has to say about where she wants to be. And your 13-year-old's testimony just might help in the case of protecting the younger children, since that's a child who is old enough to understand and report what she's seen her entire life.

Yes, I'd definitely call the police each and every time your wife inappropriately hits your children, whether or not there are bruises. I've never heard of that being the definition of child abuse, btw--there are many, many kinds of injuries a child can suffer that wouldn't necessarily show a bruise. I think you need to find a mentor (counselor, pastor, priest, psycologist) that is more supportive and more concerned about your children's lives. There has to be someone in your area who can help you.

Given what you've described, I'd start making phone calls to each and every person and agency I could think of, to find the person who might just save my children's lives. Good luck--to you and the children. They're very lucky to have someone who loves them enough to fight for their safety and well-being.


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

Problem I am having with your wife is that she is hitting your kids because she is angry at something other than their behavior (not that I would ever endorse hitting a child as punishment). IMHO when you hit a child your teach your child to be a hitter. You mention you have a counsellor. Is this person a therapist, doctor with a degree? Please seek out professional counselling with someone experienced in child abuse. Your wife is abusing your children and if you see the therapist you can document the abuse. Your children should be seeing a therapist as well for help in dealing with this woman who is supposed to be their mother and protector - not abuser. I am sure your wife has her own problems, who doesn't these days. Did her irrational anger start before you were married, before or after she had the kids? It sounds to me like you are staying with her out obligation to the children. While I applaud you for this, the behavior in the home right now is down right detrimental to these kids. It must be affecting them now and later. They will not want to bring friends to the house, etc. In sum they aren't having a childhood. I don't know what State you live in but in most phone books there are all sorts of resource numbers in the front of the phone book for abuse problems. If it were me and my husband was hitting my child, I would take my child out of the situation. I know things are not as easy for the dad in these circumstances. I just feel awful for your kids and think your wife needs help. Are there any family members or someone she respects who might be willing to talk with her regarding her abuse of the kids? I guess I haven't really given much in the way of solutions, but I had to respond to your post. Your wife is missing out on being a mom and perpetuating a emotional nightmare with the kids. Good luck to you and the kids.


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RE: why is hitting a child NOT child abuse

My mother beat the daylights out of us, whipped the 3 of us, one after the other , with a razor strap, when she was enraged.

& she enjoyed being enraged.
Exercising her rage provided a release & made her euphoric, same as it for does any abuser.

When I realized, long after I had grown up, that her behavior was not my fault, I also realized that she'd turned my father into mincemeat long before she started in on us.

She had him by the hiney:
she had all the power, & he was too naive or too dumb to know it.

And nobody else knew what she did to us:
she was a narcissist, & narcissists are very conscious of their images.

They're Jekylls & Hydes.

I doubt that my father knew, since it happened when he was at work:
she made sure that he didn't have any knowledge that would have given him any power over her, & of course we didn't dare speak up.

She threatened us with another "whipping" from him, if we dared to tell him how horribly we had defied her.

I don't know why she was so enraged, &I don't care.

Whatever problems she had, whether they were personality disorders, chemical imbalances, or the phases of the moon, *it doesn't entitle her to torture & terrify & beat*.

Get rid of that counsellor:

Not only do I not believe that CPS will step in only if there are visible bruises (what? neighbors heard screaming? any bruises? oh. sorry.), but a counsellor who advises a parent to *not* take protective action, who knowingly leaves children at the mercy of an abuser, should be charged with child abuse him/herself.

Get some help, from teachers, clergy, family violence shelters.

& get those children away from their tormentor.

If you don't, your children will grow up to live the same way I did, always jumpy, always tuning in to the mood of the most dangerous person in their environment, always groveling so that that person doesn't become enraged.

It's something like combat fatigue or post-traumatic stress.

Even though today I "know" that someone's glare doesn't mean I'm about to get the $h!t beat out of me, it still upsets me to the point that I can't eat & that I'm likely to have nightmares.

More than anything else in this life, I wish someone had taken my mother out of my life, or me out of hers.

& realize, too, that it's possible that someone else has
noticed it & investigations are already being made.


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