When Children Hit Parents

2010

mad kidStartling statistics are showing a rise in the number of parents who are physically assaulted by their children. This may seem quite unbelievable to those of us who can still remember being told that children should be seen and not heard.

Parental abuse is shocking, not just because it should not happen in families, but also because if a child has such disrespect for parental authority, he/she will not respect other authority figures, be it teachers, principals, or police officers.

There are several reasons why children hit their parents. If parents hit their children, children grow up thinking that is an acceptable way to release anger and frustration. Eventually they begin to hit back. They will not buy the idea that it is okay for parents to hit them, but not for them to hit.

If a child sees a parent physically abused by the other parent, they may feel it is okay for them to hit as well. If a man hits his wife, he may feel she deserves it, and if the kids hit her, he thinks she deserved that too.

Some children will hit even when there has been no pattern of hitting in their families. They do it initially out of frustration, but then continue because they have not received a clear enough message that hitting is not acceptable, and will not be tolerated.

Hitting children does not teach them to be good. It teaches them that the stronger one can overpower the weaker one. It teaches them that hitting is okay. It teaches them to resent their parents.

Hitting is assault, and children should be made aware of this at an early age. There should be a zero tolerance policy for hitting in families. If a child continues to hit despite parental efforts to discourage such behavior, professional help should be sought.

A child who hits his or her parents needs help with self- control and respecting boundaries. It is also important to explore other psychological issues that may be contributing to such behavior.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

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