have your say

Dealing with child abuse: What would you do if you regularly heard your neighbor's child screaming in distress or if you noticed a child with bruises on him/her?


©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

I believe child punishment or caning in Asian culture is tolerable as compared to the West.

Child punishment or caning becomes child abuse if it becomes excessive.

I guess the most Asians will ignore it completely if they regularly hear neighbour's child screaming thinking that it is one of the routine punishment. They tender to adopt a "Mind my own business" attitude.

Usually the child abuse is reported by school teacher after seeing the bruises marks on the child.

As a Western, I will definitely call the cop if I do regularly heard child screaming for no reason or notice a child with usual bruises.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

call the police and ask them to check in and tell them if they don't then I would. This could be dangerous to the child though. Abusive parents will find ways to gag them or keep their screams to a min. I guess I would be left to putting a mask on and at night giving them a beating

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's hard to know when to step in. The other day, I was at a mall and I saw a young mother severely scolding her young son, who was maybe one or two. Apparently, he had wandered off and she was yelling at him and slapping him in the face and head even as he cried. I wanted to go over and tell her to stop but she probably would have just told me to mind my own business.

After they left, I thought of that child's future. We might read about him one day here on Japan Today as a child abuse victim, or he might grow up thinking that abuse is the way to dominate and himself end up abusing his own children.

As far as noticing bruises on children, I think school teachers should definitely report them if the parents' explanation seems lame.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is a difficult one. First of all, if you are settled in Japan and have "kinjo tsukiai", then calling the police can do more harm than good. Chances are the police will do nothing or let the parents off with a warning, it will alienate you from your neighbours and also negate any possibility of you helping them solve their problems in the future.

First you have to be 100% sure abuse is taking place. Some kids scream and kick and shout more than others - it has nothing to do with abuse, just the child's temperament. So if all you are hearing is screaming or crying, that does not necessarily indicate something sinister is going on.

The only way you are really going to notice bruises on kids bodies (which is where the majority of bruises will be if they are being beaten anywhere other than their face) is if they are naked - and how many of us have opportunities to see our neighbours kids naked??? You can't jump to conclusions based on a bruise on the arm or face... If the bruises are frequent in nature, then that however is a cause for concern.

I teach little kids and if I see a bruise on one of them I will ask them how they got it, then I will ask their parents - not in a judgmental way but "oh, what happened to his eye? it looks like it must have hurt".

If something looks amiss, I suppose I would talk to the parent directly (I have never been in this situation). I certainly wouldn't go to the police based on a hunch.

If it was for example my son's friend from school, I would consider going to the school first and talking to the teacher.

If I was in a supermarket and saw a mum beating her kid around, I would approach her and try and calm HER down.

If it was a huge dude with tats kicking his kid around I am ashamed to admit I would probably be too sheepish to approach him, and would tell the security guard or tencho and recommend they call the police. I'd also try and get the license plate of the person's car to pass on to the cops.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"It's hard to know when to step in. The other day, I was at a mall and I saw a young mother severely scolding her young son, who was maybe one or two. Apparently, he had wandered off and she was yelling at him and slapping him in the face and head even as he cried. I wanted to go over and tell her to stop but she probably would have just told me to mind my own business."

I can somewhat understand why the mother was so execessive with slapping her child if he/she wanders off.....it makes a good parent worry sick when they think for a moment that their child is gone and is teaching him/her a lesson not to do it, again.

When I was a child, I always used to wander off even when my mom told me not to and there was one point that my mother was frantic in finding me because she did not see me as it was the holiday season and lots of crowds....that when she found me, she slapped at told me never to do it, again.

Sure I cried, but it was a lesson learn.

Not if it turned into a fist action or beating a child.....then, you may have a point.

I was slapped and spanked whenever I wandered off and

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Children cannot control their environments, apart from them probably not even knowing better we don't give them the right to choose as a society. They are helpless in the face of abuse. Ignoring child abuse also seems acceptable because we pretend not to know the accpetable limits, but when a child commits a violent crime we are so ready to treat him/her as an adult. Of course there is probably no connection between child abuse and violent anti-social behavior.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I was expecting a torrent of "Hang 'em high" responses, so refreshing to see a little bit of rational discussion. If obvious, act.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As was said.

Hard to identify it from sounds alone, etc making reports to the authorities on a hunch can also turn bad as there are MANY false reports, etc.

Agree if it is supected first contact the school, etc an uninvolved party that has a fair amount of access to the kids.

Also authorities when investigating a report have no real power to enter properties, etc at that stage.

Even confronting an upset parent harshly can turn into an abuse situation later on as the parent might blame the kid for the confrontation, etc.

Honestly really tricky and often good intentions can turn bad for some parties involved.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dangerous ground to tread. If you intend to make a complaint you must be sure. You must also be aware of any repercussions from making a complaint. If the parents are abusive and violent towards their children they will have no problems with coming after you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Screaming in distress and showing up with bruises are completely different things. For the former, I'd ignore it. (I once called the police when I heard screaming every night and banging on the wall. The cops came and it turned out the parents were trying to get their little son to sleep in his own bed, which took a few weeks of tantrums). For bruises, of course, I'd tell someone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd call. Better to be wrong now then to wonder later, "If I only did something, this child would still be alive."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I personally think that we as adults should bring it to the attention of the BEATER, that it is not right to be abusive. None of this "mind your own business" attitude. It becomes habitual and sooner or later (GOD forbid) there may be a tragic ending. Either way, the children do not need to suffer or traumatized by an abusive parent.

Three weeks ago, I was at the Shin-Osaka station walking toward the gates. A little boy that was either 2 or 3 years old dropped his toy, then picked it up and kept walking. The mother walking behind of him reached out and slapped his head! He looked back and began to cry, she slapped him again! I walked up to her and yelled, "dumb ass!" She quickly walked away and turned back... Again I said, "dumb ass!"

I hope that was a wake-up call for her, that frustrated wench. What's up with these parents. You know why they hit? Because they can and the children are defenseless.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hope that was a wake-up call for her

I am sure it was. She probably thought right away, "Eh? What is this foreigner going on about?" and I am sure that has put her right on the straight and narrow.

To the question, I think it should be reported to both the Japanese police and childrens' services. Not one, but both.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Instead of direct confrontations, how about a sincerely written note addressed to the parents? It's not "Japanese" to be directly confronted and would make the individual more defensive instead of thinking about their actions, especially if this is about their parenting skills, child abuse and criminal actions. Should the individual persist in abusing their child (and one hopes that the confronters have made certain this is the case), then a face-to-face meeting or reporting to the authorities would be the next course of action.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i see so many scared people afraid to act, afraid to speak up. With such lame excuses as what it they are wrong? what if they alienate themselves from their neighbors by filing a report? What if you do nothing and the child DIES you scared little sheep?

Why not just report the suspicious noise to the police and let them investigate it?

So many seem willing to do absolutely NOTHING and let a child possibly be beaten than to risk being wrong and embarrassing themselves.

What if i was wrong? If i filed a complaint and it was later found to not be child abuse, i could hold mai head up with no shame, knowing that i erred on the side of protecting a child. I honestly would hope that there is NEVER any more child abuse, but since there is I rather be too cautious than to do nothing.

What if the neighbors found out i filed the complaint? Then that would make me what exactly? A whistle-blower? a concerned citizen? What a hidoi thing to be labeled as ne? To be labeled as being someone who cares more about others than about their own stupid pride?

If like so many others here i made excuses and chose to do NOTHING and then it turned out to be child abuse - i would hang mai head in guilt for LETTING IT GO ON SO LONG WHILE I CRINGED IN FEAR OF EMBARRASSMENT AND DID NOTHING.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If like so many others here i made excuses and chose to do NOTHING and then it turned out to be child abuse

I've read through all the posts here and I haven't seen anyone making excuses or chosing to do nothing. All I have read is for the most part well thought out responses suggesting caution, not inaction.

As Zenny11 said, even the best intentions can turn bad. "Alienating" oneself from their neighbours has nothing to do with friendship... it's about being in the community loop, and in a position to help. If you cry wolf everytime you hear a screaming child, I can guarantee everyone in your neighbourhood is going to go to great lengths to avoid you. Then where are you? You are in no position to help anyone whatsoever. Jason6's idea is also a good one. Going one step further, I'd consider getting the chonaikai involved, and have the community leader write the letter. Shaming parents indirectly often works much better than direct confrontation. As a first step it gives the parents a chance to correct their ways and save face. Once the authorities become involved, they may become more defensive and more discreet in their abuse - making it harder to detect.

What people are suggesting here, including myself, has nothing to do with pride or embarrasment or fear. Mikanojo, I sincerely suggest you reconsider your shoot first, ask questions later approach if you really want to be a help to your community.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm interested in knowing the Japanese legal definition on what "abuse" actually constitutes. Sounds like a crazy request, but I feel the "grey-zone" on physical contact in Japan is still too broad.

I agree with most rational points here, however I'm skeptical about how responsive the authorities would actually be, especially if one of us actually called or spoke to someone.

That aside, I wouldn't hesitate to contact someone.

Good points made here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Children screaming in distress ???? Hmmmm kids scream in distress in many situations. If I see scars or marks of abuse. I would notify the school and or police. But I have to have undeniable proof that abuse is taking place.

This morning around 2AM, I heard a mother SCREAM, and yell in japanese. " I can't do this anymore ! " I thought it was a rape or something terrible outside so, I jumped out my balcony window to see what was going on ??? When I came outside, I couldn't find anybody.

Abuse/ Discipline can be confused.

It's case by case - but I don't condone violence or severe punishment of any kind. Some kids deserve a spanking, some kids deserve some kind of discipline.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

honestly speaking, i would hesitate to act. there's a fine line between discipline and abuse. it's already gotten to the point where you can't discipline your kids in north america and europe, and i'd hate to see it get to that point in japan as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd report it so there was a record of it, just in case.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Need to throw something else in here. I would report it if I knew something was going on, if I had enough proof. I would hate for a child to end up dead, with nothing on record. If the parents were at fault, I would want something on record. Alibis under the right circumstances can be easy to manufacture. We now have judge under review for this same reason. Nothing on record. Now, last time I heard it was supposedly up to 45 counts. Leaving a record/paper trail counts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

japanese police officers are more interested in seeing the bicycle registration cards of foreigners than they are in investigating cases of potential child abuse. omawari-sans usually ride their bikes past homes with crying infants/children and i have yet to see one of them ever stop to investigate. if a foreigner pedals a bicycle a few blocks, it's: "whoa there! can i see your bicycle registration?"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For a foreigner in Japan, it would be difficult to report unless you had enough Japanese to better understand what was going on and communicate it to the authorities. If I was teaching in japan I might ask a native Japanese teacher to query why a child had suspicious bruises. But I agree with others that it would be better to make a report if possible than to risk the consequences of doing nothing. I wonder if a foreigner could get in trouble if a counter-complaint was raised by a citizen?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When we brought our new-born home from the hospital, the older brother (2 yo) was so jelous he wouldn't stop screaming for hours. The police came on a complaint. The cops did not tell me who called.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah, the cops won't tell you who called.

Same token I used to hear my neighbours kid cry from time to time and also heard the mother scream at it. But if I can hear them they can also hear me dressing down my son. ;)

And here is the real problem, how much of what we hear is child-raising/frustration and the kid being stubborn, etc.

For all the people that say they would call the cops on the 1st sign: Have you raised your own kids? And if you did could a simple dispute be mistaken for a possible abuse, etc?

I guess most of the people here advocating making sure, being cautious, etc are people that have raised kids, got experience, etc.

Kids can get noisy refusing to eat their veggies, brushing teeths, whatever.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Many young children are imperiled by abuse, neglect, domestic and community violence, and poverty. Without effective intervention and help, these children suffer, struggle, and fall into despair and hopelessness. Some young teens cannot manage the emotional, social, and psychological challenges of adolescence and eventually engage in destructive and violent behavior. Sadly, many states have ignored the crisis and dysfunction that creates child delinquency and instead have subjected kids to further victimization and abuse in the adult criminal justice system.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My friends kid screams and yells in distress if he does not get what he wants or any other reason you can think off. One day he was real naughty so was sent to his room. The kid scream out "save me, save me" to people passing by and one of the neighbors called the landlord. The kid needs a good kick in pants. I say just don't overreact. Japanese kids are the worst drama queens I have ever seen, especially the boys. I think you will find that kids with bruises learned not to scream in distress. Those are the tough cases to spot unless you are in direct contact such as teachers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That 'fine line' between discipline and abuse is becoming clearer and clearer as the line between verbaly chastizing a child, placing limitations on their activities (like being grounded or denied access to their toys, terebi, internet, friends) for a time - and PHYSICALLY STRIKING A CHILD or endangering their physical or psychological health and well-being.

I know from the comments already posted that many people here still choose to hit their children - it takes almost no thought at all and grants the parent immediate release of THEIR anger upon the child who upset them for whatever reason.

It only teaches the child to fear your anger. Right and wrong are not understood at all until some times many years later.. instead the child learns to fear being beaten again.

I will not waste time in foolish arguments about how you were beaten and you turned out oki.. no.. actually if you think beating a child is an oki idea then you did NOT turn out oki at all.

It is a sick double-standard that children have faced far too long. It is wrong for them to hit others and to get into physical fights, but it is oki for their parents to beat them if they anger their parents?

It is against the law for an adult to physically strike another adult, or to strike a child that is not their own, and the law is changing slowly so that soon it will not be legally overlooked when the adult chooses to physically strike their own children either.

A parent who physically attacks their child as 'discipline' has immediately lost their self-discipline and has given up any pretense of being smarter than the child. They may as well disrobe and go back to the forest with the other apes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


You are talking from a very narrow viewpoint and little personal experience.

Besides the legal definitions(which even vary between the states in the USA), there are also cultural, etc rules/behaviour, etc.

I would reckon most people here over the age of 40 got a healthy smack and turned out fine.

But now because someone decided that it is NOT ACCEPTABLE anymore the world has to stop what they did for centuries/millenia.

Care to explain from personal experience how you would discipline a child that don't react to non-force methods?

I see you already WON't accept any viewpoints than your own by the post above.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

BTW, The time-out corner is a Force-method as you drag/force a child there and force it to stay there till it calms down. if it comes out early it is dragged/forced back again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's a big difference between dragging a child forcefully to a time-out area and striking a child. I agree with mikanojo that it is never okay to hit a child, even when someone calls it 'discipline'. It is very possible to discipline children with very little physical force at all.

Anyway, to answer the question, I would definitely call the authorities. I would rather mistakenly have the family checked out than hear later that the child was beaten to death.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Agree, with you. But in either case you are exerting phsyical force over the child to force it to do your bidding. Just one last less than a second the other goes on for longer. Debatable which is the bigger physical force and does more damage both physical and mental.

But lets get back on topic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

First.. they are a CHILD, not an 'it'. Second, who said that you must physically grab a child and drag them by force to a corner? I was a babysitter for mai occupation for a whole year and i took care of children as old as 5.. and there was only 1 of them who was really determined NOT to follow rules and to act defiant if they did not get what they wanted. Since you ask me for personal experience this is what I did and did not do. I certainly did NOT hit him, OR drag him to their room or humiliate him by putting him in a corner.

There was 1 five year old boy who would yell at his okaasan when he did not get what he wanted. His otousan did this too - he yelled at his wife and that is maybe where the boy learned how to make his mother submit ne? He would yell in public, he would yell in the apartment. He never yelled when his otousan was at home because then he would get hit - then he would cry and cry and cry and fake crying when the real crying was done.. he feared his otousan and they never did have anything like a relationship that i saw in the whole year i was their babysitter.

When he yelled at me the first time i had been warned it would happen. I just stood there for a moment.. it was so loud that it echoed. I let him scream a moment and then started speaking to him very quietly.. i was not yelling back at him i was not telling him to stop.. i was telling him that when he acted better that we could have fun and do things that he wanted to do.. but he could not hear me until he stopped screaming and started listening. Just by not acting like his mother did it confused him and soon he stopped. When he did stop i told him that if he could act good that we could do a lot of things but if he cannot act good then we will do nothing at all. We will not eat because i cannot cook when you are screaming. We will not go outside to play we will not watch shows or play games if you are screaming. If you scream at me then what ever we are doing ends then. So you decide ne? Do you want to have fun or do you want to scream? It took only a few times of me stopping and just standing there when he would forget and scream out of his bad habit. But then he stopped screaming at me!

The worst thing i caught him doing was drawing on a wall in his room with crayon. i just said IYA.. no.. what would you like to do instead? The boy was confused by mai question and i was trying to show him that it was still his choice.. just that he had chose badly. So what else would you like to do? You WANT to get in trouble? Why? You are not dumb.. think of some thing better to do ne? Finally he chose to watch a show. i put the show in the player for him and said if you will clean off the marks on the wall with me i will make treats for the show. He agreed and we washed the wall and then I started the show and made popcorn.

If you physically hit a child then you make the child a hitter or you make them submissive and willing to do anything not to be hurt. There is no such thing as a 'healthy slap'. If hitting your child was a good thing then certainly i should be made queen by now ne? i was hit by mai okaasan and starved and locked in mai room often enough that the scars are STILL on mai back and bottom and legs years later, and i was taken away from mai okaasan because of being hit and hurt so much and i was adopted by a good loving family - so if hitting a child makes a good child and is healthy then I am a perfect example yes?

Actually what i am is a survivor. I have a LOT of personal experience in how a BAD parent acts. And i became a good person IN SPITE of mai parents, not because of them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with mikanojo that it is never okay to hit a child, even when someone calls it 'discipline'

For the record, I agree with you and don't hit my child, but it has nothing to do with the topic. The questions that must be asked here are:

If you know a parent who spanks his/her child when they are naughty, do you consider them a child abuser and would you call the authorities?

Would you prefer a child to grow up with only one parent, or worse, an orphanage because you had their parents put in jail for beating (disciplining) them? Is that really better for their welfare than an occasional spanking? Although I sympathize with Mikanojo's experiences, she is one of the extremely lucky ones to be taken from a bad family and placed into a "loving" one by the authorities. This is almost unheard of in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@papasmurfinjapan: What made me 'lucky' was that i was sick enough finally to be sent to hospital. While i was there the old scars and newer ones were found and although i was absolutely silent about it the doctor took the steps and began the process and for me it was the worst year of mai entire life. In the end it was a good friend and business partner of otousan from USA who adopted me, someone i knew already and trusted but he was the only link that did not break, the rest of mai whole world ended. It was not until another year had passed before i felt like i was even breathing again. Now i have a whole new life and i am part of a family who truly loves me. As bad as things were in mai first home, losing everything I knew was terrifying. But now i have lived in a new life in a new place with a good family for almost 4 years and i am so thankful that somebody helped me get away from the nightmare that i was living in.

So to answer your question about would you prefer that a child only grow up with 1 parent or in an orphanage.. if the alternative is growing up abused and psychologically damaged then yes sir an orphanage IS preferable. The damage done by abuse will stay with you, stay with the child all of their life. The only question is do you let it continue or do you find a way to make the abuse STOP? If you care about the child then try to make the abuse stop.

Call the police. Tell them what you saw, tell them what you heard, tell them every thing you know about the parents and the child and their situation, file the report.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


I sincerely apologize if I sound insensitive, but you are indeed "lucky", thanks to connections you had that would no doubt be unavailable to most abused children. Where actual, real ABUSE is taking place, yes I agree children should be separated from the abuser. That is not the point of my post though. Where we differ is in the definition of what constitutes child abuse.

The point I am trying to make is, if you classify a parent who occasionally spanks his/her child for disciplinary purposes as a child abuser, is THAT child better off seeing the family torn apart as a result of reports by third-party such as yourself who doesn't agree with their parenting methods? Or are they better off being occasionally spanked? Do you think a child being torn from their parents leaves no emotional or psychological damage?

0 ( +0 / -0 )


I feel for you and your history, have counseled & trained abused children. But I do feel you have gone over to the deep/extreme side, where your views can possible hurt a child more than the perceived abuser.

Having had my son abducted by my wife and seen the changes it caused in him(raising him now) and those changes are big and there was NEVER any phsyical abuse, etc.

Just a parent thinking they could decide what was best for the child, ie all good intents.

As papasmurfinjapan points out at times the "legal/correct" way might not be the best solution and EACH situation needs to be evaluated for the childs best interests. There is no Black and White.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The problem with all of this thread is that the definition of what is and is not child abuse is not agreed about by all of us. Because we live in a society and choose to live in a society, we choose to accept the laws of that society or we choose to risk the consequences of breaking those laws. Choosing to follow the law then is hardly stepping over the line or acting extreme, in fact it is exactly what is expected of a responsible respectable adult.

Some people consider slapping a child is fine. Some people say spanking is fine, some commenter in this thread actually wrote about caning.. which they felt was acceptable to use on a child. Society is defined by its laws, and the laws do change over time as a society grows, but it seems that many people choose not to grow with its society.

Most of us can and do learn from our own experiences, but a truly wise person can also gain wisdom from the experience of others. Laws are part of that. Situations, observations, things that happened and people who saw what was wrong with things and made and changed laws to make changes in acceptable society.

Unlike some people who agree with physically striking a child, i know that physically hitting someone, especially someone who is younger, smaller and weaker than you, is immoral and abusive and shows a real lack of self-control on the part of the one who is doing the hitting.

As a society humans are slowly learning that we are not apes any more. Others refuse to evolve.

Being a parent is a natural thing, being a GOOD parent is NOT. The first step to becoming a good parent is to learn from those who have actually found good ways to be a loving parent.. NOT to look at how apes 'discipline' their children.

Mai own experience with children has come from a lot of first-hand wisdom of what NOT to do from how mai okaasan treated me in mai own home. And then when i was a babysitter i was 15.. only 10 years older than most of the children i was sitting for.. so i could relate to them well and they accepted me as being both an authority in charge but also as someone who understood how they felt.

i HATED and FEARED mai okaasan and mai otousan was loving when he was home he was like magic.. when he was home.. but when he was gone it was living in a nightmare and it ended very badly as most nightmares do - but that trauma that happened when i was taken away from mai family HAD to happen so that i could be rescued from that place. It was terrifying to be taken away from mai family.. but look where i am now. Would it have been better for me to be abused except when mai otousan was home or was it better that i was taken away from that abuse and given to someone who loves and acts as a good parent? I already know the answer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Here you are wrong.

We all come from a variety of societies with DIFFERENT rules and laws, as well as grew up in different age-groups(and laws do change over the decades).

So you will never get an agreement, even if only for the simple reason we are humans with different upbringings/experiences in different societies and not mindless drones/robots.

Back on topic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Drones and robot are exactly what i am speaking about. Drones and robots act exactly the same as they have been programmed, they cannot learn they cannot grow they do not evolve.

Drones and robots may hear the sounds of a child being beaten, they may see a child covered with bruises, but they will do nothing about it. They are programmed to only act as they do, they do not consider others at all.

Drones and robots are a big part of the problem with abuse being kept hidden - and drones and robots are exactly what i hope people would NOT be. But that is how they seem to be acting in this thread.

Here is a question for those who are NOT drones or robots: Why is it illegal and wrong for a stranger, an adult, to physically strike a child for ANY reason, at ANY time.. but some people think it IS acceptable if the attacker is the child's parent?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why is it illegal and wrong for a stranger, an adult, to physically strike a child for ANY reason, at ANY time.. but some people think it IS acceptable if the attacker is the child's parent?

This is a fair enough question, and the answer really comes down to what we have been discussing - what is the line between discipline and abuse?

My guess is that many people find it acceptable for a parent to hit/spank/scold his/her child to a certain degree because they believe it is the parent's responsibility to discipline the child - and hitting a child for disciplinary purposes has been accepted method for thousands of years.

You will find in many cultures a parent will also find it acceptable for a teacher to hit a misbehaving student. Growing up in the 1980s in Australia, my school had the cane for really bad kids. One of my elementary school teachers hit kids over their fingers with a ruler if they would talk during class. Parents never objected.. then something changed and caning was no longer "acceptable". You may call it evolution, but I think it has had a negative effect. Now teachers are powerless to discipline misbehaving kids for fear of losing their jobs or a lawsuit (or both).

My personal views are, I never hit my son. My wife does. Is she a child-abuser? No. I don't agree with her methods and I tell her so firmly, but still that doesn't stop her occasionally slapping him when he is misbehaving. Despite my disagreement with the method, I do not think it constitutes abuse.

If the punishment is excessive or unusually frequent, then that is cause for concern, and quite possibly abuse. I would report it.

If a parent takes out their personal frustrations on the child, and he/she is hit for NO REASON, then that is definitely abuse. I would report it.

If I see a neighbour hit their kid for running across the road by themselves, or stealing a snack from the supermarket, then although I disagree with the method of discipline, I do not consider it abuse.

I just answered your question Mikanojo. Now I would appreciate your answer to mine posted earlier.

If you know a parent who spanks his/her child when they are naughty, do you consider them a child abuser and would you call the authorities?

0 ( +0 / -0 )


Thx, I think you explained well the view of many here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Adding to what Papsmurfinjapan said.

Myself grew up many decades ago, we no longer had physical punishment in school. That was dropped after WWII along with forcing kids to use their right hands, etc. Now kids can use whichever hand they prefer.

But if a child stepped out of line it was the norm to get a smack from a stranger, shop-owner, etc.

No-one found anything strange with it but kids knew how to behave and were well-mannered.

In my class we also had kids that were never smacked and they got up to the same mischief, etc as the rest.

IMHO, a parent knows bets how and to what form of punishment their kids react too and that can even vary between siblings.

Sorry, but I don't take advise on maintaining a marriage from a person that never been married and I am weary on taking advise about raising and disciplining a kid from people that never raised a kit themselves.

So as PapaSmurfinJapan said it varies from case to case and family to family.

Just my view.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@papasmurfinjapan AND Zenny11: Both of you admit to having grown up in the past when physically 'disciplining' of children was considered acceptable. But as papasmurfinjapan cited in his example about school..

something changed and caning was no longer "acceptable"

What changed is that society as a whole grew up a bit more. New laws made certain old practices illegal as the society struggles to move away from barbarianism. Not every member of society changed however.. some people refuse to accept change.

The view that both of you are really explaining is that you both grew up in the past when such acts were not considered abuse so you see no reason to change. And that is sad if it is truth but i have more faith in humanity than that.. people CAN learn and they CAN still grow.

Saying that you cannot accept wisdom from someone who is younger than you or someone who is not (in your opinion) as experienced as you is a defense against learning by attacking the credentials of the messenger.

Truth is truth, and if it is a child who speaks it first it does not change the truth at all - so using mai age or the fact that i personally have not given birth to a child as an excuse to refuse to learn shows an immaturity on YOUR part.

To answer your question papasmurfinjapan, if i knew someone who spanked their children when they were naughty, i would tell them that physically striking your child is NOT discipline, it is abuse - i would point them to books about parenting

(books written by parents - since the same words coming from me might not be respected by people who think the age of the messenger has ANYTHING to do with the truth of the message)

i would also tell them that if they continued to hit their child i WILL report them to child services, who now here OFFER CLASSES, often COURT ORDERED CLASSES FOR PARENTS to teach them ways to actually discipline a child by being smarter than them instead of just bigger than them.

All of that experience and wisdom between you.. are you both telling me that you cannot find a better way to discipline your children than to beat them?

Both of you offer examples of when you feel that an adult hitting a child is acceptable in your own mind. Both of you cite the past when such things were not illegal as an excuse for thinking as you do. Unfortunately for you the laws are not going to allow such exceptions.. so despite the fact that the message may have come to you from someone younger or someone who never gave birth to a child, you are going to need to grow up a bit and learn to think differently.

Moderator: Readers, you are drifting of topic. Please focus your comments on the question, not at or about each other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


As the moderator says, this is drifting off topic but let me just respond by saying although I admire your headstrong stance against all forms of physical discipline (which is understandable given your past experiences), as Zenny11 noted in an earlier post, I think it borders on the extreme.

Educating parents is one thing. Threatening a parent who won't follow your advice with court orders and reports to child services is another. Your "parenting books" may indeed speak against spanking, but I doubt any of them recommend calling the authorities to dob in another parent that spanks their child for disciplinary purposes - I believe doing such would cause more harm than good.

By all means, report actual abuse if you see it. If you were to report every parent who has spanked their child at one point or another, there would be hardly any parents left. I'm quite sure even those who oppose spanking will use it secretly on occasion - just wait till you have a 4 year old throwing a tantrum, who is still kicking and screaming after a 20 minute "time-out" causing damage to the house and himself... I suspect even you may give him a quick smack on the bum, harsh lecture, followed by hugs and kisses - even though you may never admit it in public.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

IMHO, it is truly hard to identify abuse unless there are obvious marks or signs.

Each age from toddlers to teens, etc has their own way to react to authority and Kids(little terrorists that they are) know very well how to play an adult or parent. And they also know how to play a baby-sitter, older sibling, etc.

Also as I said each kid reacts differently to various forms of discipline and as I said it can also vary between siblings and between their respective ages.

Hence why I said let the parent decide as they live with the kid 24/7. Yes, if obvious abuse exists than report it.

But any parent will tell you that at times the kids do "ask" for it. Why the simple reason is pushing the limits is part of growing up and defining themselves and establishing an order of importance/power.

I NEVER got a smack I didn't ask for.

Said that I have seen parents that NEVER spanked their kids do other damages to them using what they thought was best.

All in all and has been said here by many parents on multiple threads.

Read all the books, listen to all the advise but when you raise your own kids you will find that all of those are pretty useless and you need to play it by gut-feeling.

Ditto for reporting abuse.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@papasmurfinjapan: Actually sir i HAVE already had to deal with a 5 year old boy who threw screaming temper tantrums and who used them to make his okaasan submit to his wishes, just as his otousan would also scream at his wife to make her do as he wanted, and i gave that here as example on 05:26 AM JST - 15th October.. just a bit earlier in this thread. Because i was hit and know the effects i knew when i was still a child mai self that i would NOT ever hit a child. I know what really happens when you hit children and it is not parenting it is just being a bully who apparently is no smarter than an ape. And what i did with that child i DID admit to with absolutely no shame, just as i will warn a parent who i see hitting their child that they will be reported BY ME if i EVER see it happen again. The article speaks of REGULARLY hearing a neighbor's child screaming in distress. That is NOT occasional spanking.. and even 1 spanking is wrong. And again, if i reported someone for suspicion of child abuse and then the child services workers and police where called to investigate and they did not find enough evidence or decided it was not abuse - then i would still have NOTHING to feel any shame about for putting the safety of a child (any child) over mai own stupid fear of embarrassment.

Because of mai own experiences.. i really only had 2 options in how i would grow up and react.. either to become another abusive parent who just hits instead of THINKING, or to become someone as i did.. someone much more submissive in mai nature who would NEVER hit. Therapy and real love is what it took to save me from a lifetime of being a victim of more dominant abusive types of people.. what saved me from the harm mai okaasan did to me. I just do not wish to see it happen to other children because their parents are too ignorant of better ways of teaching their child than beating them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The first hit is never the last hit. When a parent turns off their thinking part of the brain and falls back into the animal as a solution to problems, it is never just once.. it opens the door to so much that is wrong and evil. We have the potential to be so much better, so much more than an ape. And how we act and react with our children teaches them much more powerfully than your words EVER will.

So the parent who hits their child shows them that hitting is a solution to a problem.. and the person who witnesses or becomes aware of that violence and then DOES NOTHING TO STOP IT is also teaching, sending a message.. You have already HAD the world that was created by apathy and violence - they were called the Dark Ages. It is time to stand up and actually DO something about abuse.. not just words.

So i will report abuse when i suspect it and i WILL point those parents to other better ways to cope with their children. Doing nothing only lets the abuse continue. And acting abusive only spreads the evil and infects children with the same dangerous stupidity.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites