Many Situations Can Look Like Child Abuse, But Aren’t!

August 4, 2018 Abuse and Neglect Attorney
Parent and child in Asia
Parenting and discipline are handled differently in different parts of the world.

As parents living in this age of social media and phone cameras, you have to be extra careful of what you say and do in public. There’s always someone around whose more interested in getting hits on their YouTube channel, rather than helping a struggling parent. And because practically everyone has a cell phone with recording capabilities, and a starting a viral video provides 15 seconds of fame, one is safe from the potential onslaught of online criticism and judgement. Which is especially true when it comes to parents!

Parenting styles change based on culture

One’s culture isn’t just about ethnic or racial background. It’s also influenced by a lot of other factors, like gender, socioeconomic status, age, religion, education or occupation, and geographic region. And like many other aspects of life, parenting is heavily influenced by culture, which means that some types of parenting are acceptable in certain cultures, while in others they’re not.

Some practices are normal in one place, and unacceptable in others

Here is a list of parenting practices that are considered perfectly normal in some cultures, while in others they’re completely taboo:

  • Using an object to hit a child whose being punished. This could include a belt, a shoe, a carpet beater, or a wooden cooking spoon.
  • Forcing a child to kneel on uncooked rice or lentils as a form of punishment
  • Breastfeeding a child until they are several years old
  • Sleeping in the same bed as a child
  • Allowing a child to become emancipated at a young age and move out on their own
  • Having a child stay at home with their parents well into their adulthood
  • Denying a child a meal as a form of punishment

Some culturally normal practices look like child abuse

WE aren’t suggesting that just because something is considered normal in a culture, it should be acceptable. There are obviously some very unsavory practices in certain parts of the world that are illegal in the US for good reasons (like child brides and honor killings.) But there are certain parenting practices that are often mistaken for child abuse, when they are simply cultural practices that have been handed down within a family, or brought from a distant home, and don’t fit in anymore with what is considered the social “norms.”

There are many cultures where discipline styles differ from our own

Here in the US, spanking children is falling out of favor, while in other parts of the world spanking is completely normal and no parent would consider excluding it from parenting. Sending a child to bed without supper is another form of discipline that was common at one time, and still is in certain places, while now it can be viewed as neglectful parenting. Even choosing to treat a child at home with homeopathic medicine instead of taking a child to a doctor is often a cultural choice that is sometimes believed to be medical neglect.

Certain parenting styles are different, but that doesn’t make them wrong!

As attorneys, we understand that what one person believes is okay might be very different from what someone else believes. That doesn’t make you, or them wrong, it just makes you different from each other. At The Kronzek Firm we’ve helped many different parents, from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds over the years protect their families from people who misunderstood their parenting styles. If someone has accused you of abuse or neglect, when all you were doing was raising your child the way you believe is right, call us at 866 766 5245. We can help defend you.