Child Abuse Alive & Well In The Modern World

Before the Penn State scandal rocked the airwaves last week, there were some other stories of child abuse making the rounds. I don’t think we should let those get swept under the rug.

Judge William Adams, a Texas family law judge, can be seen beating his 16-year old daughter with a belt over some computer issues. The daughter is handicapped with a form of spina bifida. Don’t watch the video if you have a weak stomach, because it’s pretty awful.

The whole episode is a horrible mess. Even more so because the man shown beating his daughter and completely losing control is in a position of power over other families. He’s probably ruled on cases where the abuse was no where near the level of abuse he gave his own daughter.

Any parent, if they are honest, recognizes how easy it is to get out of control. Parents don’t just suffer the stressors of parenting, there are other relationships, jobs, bills…just to name a few. But parents also need to show some level of control.

The fact that a family court judge didn’t is not to be taken lightly. According to this article, he cannot be charged with child abuse because too much time has passed. But he has been removed from any cases over other parents.

While Judge Adams’ behavior was appalling, I thought his wife’s behavior was even more chilling. When she told her daughter, “turn over and take it like a woman” I threw up a little in the back of my throat. Because taking a beating is never right, woman, man, or child! It’s called domestic battery when we are grown up. And adults can go to jail for that!

Turn over and take it like a woman. It makes you wonder what role Mrs. Adams has in the house. Has the judge taken a belt to her for burning dinner or not polishing the silver correctly?

While watching the video, my one thought was this: if the damn computer is causing so much freaking trouble, why is it still in your house?! If you’re genuinely concerned that your daughter is stealing music on the internet, do you not remove internet access?

Children, especially teenagers, truly aren’t capable of logical thought. They are a roaring, seething mess of hormones who just aren’t functioning like an adult should. So we shouldn’t entrust them with adult responsibilities and expectations. We certainly can’t expect them to take it like a woman/man when we haven’t done what we can to remove temptation.

Apparently, the Adams family’s method of child rearing has the seal of approval of pastor Michael Pearl. Michael and Debbie Pearl are the authors of To Train Up A Child, a book on parenting that…

…advocates “not sparing the rod” even on toddlers as well as treating children by “the same principles the Amish use to train their stubborn mules.” This includes starving and beating children with a switch or a quarter-inch flexible plumbing line.

According to another article,

Michael Pearl of the No Greater JoyMinistry, promotes using a switch on babies as young as 6 months [emphasis mine] and plumbing tubing on older children to keep them in line—much like “stubborn mules” are disciplined. Some 700,000 parents, many of them home-schoolers, have purchased the self-published tome, including parents who are either currently serving prison time or have been charged in the abuse and beating deaths of three young children in the last 5 years, reports the New York Times. Pearl says it’s unfair to blame his book for the actions of unstable parents, but physicians and law enforcement authorities have expressed concerns about the book’s role in child abuse.

Personally, I think only an insane person would spank a baby. What can be gained from beating a being who cannot walk or talk? What horrible thing can a baby be doing that is deserving of a beating?

I’m on the fence about spanking. I think a swat on the butt or hands is one thing. But it’s to easy to get out of control and turn it into a honest-to-goodness abuse situation. As a parent, I’m pretty sure that a spanking never solved any problem in my house. Although I still will give any one of the boys a smack in the back of the head a la Gibbs of NCIS. Not enough to cause damage, just enough to get someone’s attention.

Honestly, before I even do the Gibbs smack, I’m going to hear Mrs. Adams words echoing in my brain: turn over and take it like a woman. And I’ll be wondering who’s saying the same words to a six-month old baby.

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