I can't understand it.
Published on August 18, 2007 By Texas Wahine In Parenting
I will never understand what makes an adult intentionally harm a child.

I understand frustration. I understand being in over your head. I understand being at the complete and total, indisputable, end of your rope. I still can't understand what would make an adult strike a child. Break her legs. Bruise his face. I just can't understand it.

I have 3 children. I am raising them alone for the time being. We have homework and Cub Scouts and family dinners and $100 camping trips. We have sass mouth and dirty rooms and "but he started it". I think I am qualified to comment on the nature of mothering.

I love my children. At times they annoy me. At times they anger me. At times they frustrate me and get under my skin like no other human being could possibly do. But I could never hurt them.

I can understand being harsher with your child then maybe is necessary. The boys didn't have school today so we picked up photos at Sears and went to GameStop and Hot Topic and Wal-Mart, and near the end of our shopping venture, the boys were not on their best behavior. At one point Orian shoved Xavier into the shampoos at Wal-Mart and I told him, "I don't feel sorry for you." It had been a long excursion and I was tired.

I have had days that seemed like they would never end. I have been embarrassed by my children. I guess maybe I don't understand how bad it can get, but I think I have an idea.

And yet I still cannot understand what makes an adult harm a child. Particularly an infant, but really, any child. Even my boys, who know my buttons and how to push them...I love them and I want them to be happy and I would never hurt them.

I just can't fathom how someone could physically injure a child, especially an infant.

It makes me sick the things that people do.
Comments
on Aug 18, 2007
I had this conversation with a co-worker one time. I must have been student teaching at the time, or doing my practicum. I had fallen in love with my students, and I said something along the exact same lines: I just can't understand how someone could mistreat a child.

She told me that I couldn't possibly understand because I wasn't a parent. She told me that you never realize how close you get to that line until they're driving you absolutely NUTS and you don't think you can stand another minute.

I'm lucky I guess. If a student is doing something to make me go berserk, I still get to send them home at the end of the day, or I can have that student go take a break in another teacher's classroom (so I have time to cool down, too).

I won't know until I'm a mom, but I pray that God gives me a heart full of patience and understanding, that's for sure.
on Aug 18, 2007
Not to mention emotional abuse. I'd imagine that most child abusers were also abused as children, but it isn't the physical damage that causes the later problem, it's the emotional damage of knowing that the only person they can hope to protect them is doing the opposite.

I don't get it, either. Some people shouldn't be allowed to breed.
on Aug 18, 2007
oops. lw here. brb.
on Aug 18, 2007
I agree 100%. I know how frustrating kids can be and we all have different tolerance levels. I have people who visit my loud and crazy household who cannot figure out how I do what I do (caring for children). I have had a daycare parent do backup when I had to take my son to the doctor, she couldn't wait to go back to work. I just know that if I need to take a minute or two break from them it's not the end of the world. I make sure they are occupied with a safe activity and take a minute to breath and relax, maybe count to ten, say a prayer and then I can deal with it again. With babies, I can't understand why people don't just put them in their cribs, shut the door and let them cry. They are not going to get hurt in their cribs as long as you take reasonable precautions that you should take anyway, no stuffed animals, cords or strings nearby etc.

I do have to say that my mother was abusive, both physically and emotionally. I will say the emotional scars definately last longer. I was worried when I became pregnant the first time but I made an extreme effort to not parent the way I was raised. I am not a perfect mom by any means but they know that I love them. I do lose my temper at times and raise my voice but I do not insult or belittle them. I do not hurt them.

I came to terms for the most part with my mom. It is a betrayal. You think that if your own mom doesn't love you and thinks you are a horrible person there really must be something wrong with you. Luckily, I had other family, friends, teachers, friend's parents who all thought I was pretty great and that helped tremendously. The book Toxic Parents and a lot of journaling was also helpful. At some point, you realize that it wasn't you, it was them. My mom was unhappy in her marriage, had a five month old and became pregnant with me. I don't think the way she raised me was right but I understand more where her frustration came from.
on Aug 18, 2007
Not to mention emotional abuse. I'd imagine that most child abusers were also abused as children, but it isn't the physical damage that causes the later problem, it's the emotional damage of knowing that the only person they can hope to protect them is doing the opposite.


I don't hit them, but I do yell and memories of my childhood help me curb my temper...and my tounge. I love my kids and no matter how short my patience is, I don't want to cause them pain.

But I think that it's easier for parents to emotionally abuse or verbally abuse kids....the lack of physical scars seems to negate the intensity of the abuse in their mind.
on Aug 18, 2007
I consider myself to be very blessed. My parents were really supportive and encouraging, and they set limits and enforced them in a befitting manner (I think, anyway...if anything they were TOO lenient).

It's so hard for me to put myself into kids' shoes sometimes--especially when it comes to this. Parents act different around their kids' teachers lots of times. And kids act different when they're away from their parents. Lots of times I don't know what goes on in kids' homes, so I try to make sure I'm a positive influence for the few hours I have them during the day, and give the kids some TLC.
on Aug 18, 2007
About two years ago, there was a child in our area who was abused sexually and physically...at Six months old. She died as a result of her injuries. This was at the hands of her father, mother, and an uncle. It sickened me...and left me bewildered as to what the hell would possess them to do this sort of thing.


on Aug 18, 2007
I didn't mean to skip over emotional abuse, but the reason I wrote this was because I had just watched a slide show of a little girl who was murdered.

Her mother and father divorced when mom was pregnant. Daddy had to go to Iraq, mom got a new husband and this husband began beating this little girl...bruises and broken bones.

The dad came home from Iraq to bury his 2 year old daughter.

It really upset me seeing pictures of this little girl with casts and bruises on her little face. I cannot understand how someone could harbor such malice for a child and how a mother could allow someone to do this.

on Aug 19, 2007
Life is full of so many things I do not understand, but this issue tops the list. I plan to ask God this question someday. and I hope He has an answer I can accept.
on Aug 19, 2007
Its relatively clear why it happens, its been studied enough.

However no explanation from such studies of any nature can excuse it - period. I doubt even the most devout Religious individual would use the phrase "its Gods will". If I were a religious person, which I am not, I think I also would like an answer, but I doubt I would agree with any reply. There's always a reason, for sure, but there can be no excuse.

The individuals concerned should be locked up and the key thrown away, they'll suffer more over circa 30+ years than simple shooting, and (hopefully) act as a deterence to others.

Mercy and Forgiveness? On lots of things, vast majority, maybe; on this, none whatsoever, and as far as I am concerned there will never be any.
on Aug 20, 2007
I agree with OckhamRazor; some people should not be allowed to breed.

As a child, I was physically disciplined, by both parents and teachers. I love and respect my parents and certainly don't hold anything against them for doing what they thought was the right thing. As for my teachers, well I certainly deserved to be punished for the things I did but as to physical punishment, well, I don't know. I don't harbour any ill will to my parents and I certainly don't believe I've been detrimentally affected by this. But the fact remains hitting anyone is no answer to behavioural problems.
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