Spare the rod and spoil the child

There is an old saying, spare the rod and spoil the child. And corporal punishment is not against the law actually. Until it goes to the point of possible injury to the child or to the point of emotional abuse.

Last Fri. night police were called about a report of a young girl begging for money. The 12 year old girl told investigators that she had been living with family friends for about three years. According to the article those friends share the same religious beliefs and values as the parents.

The girl told investigators that she had run away from the home Thurs. night because she had been spanked. According to police, the girl stated she had been beaten for not reading well enough, for using slang, and for "not accepting Jesus into her heart". She allegedly spent the night in a nearby home which was under construction.

Police took the girl back to the residence and the girl's father Michael C. Bilodeau, 48, was at the home. Reportedly he told police that he had been called and told that his daughter had run away, and that he had come to look for her. According to the father, the girl had been sent to stay with the friends because she was in need of discipline. He said that she hadn't been doing well in school and that her mother couldn't handle her because of her "misbehaving". Allegedly the girl told police that her mother was "addicted to the internet" and ignored her.

Bilodeau allegedly admitted to police that he had spanked the girl a few days earlier. He told them that he had had her to undress and lean over a bed while he spanked her with a belt. Reportedly he was asked by police why he had her to undress, and he answered that he "wants her to feel the pain". Bilodeau also told police that he had given his permission to the family friend to spank the girl, and that before spanking the girl, the woman would call him and put the phone on speaker phone so that he could be a "witness". Allegedly Bilodeau told police the woman had spanked the girl 4 different times the day before she ran away.  

Police report they found both old and new injuries on the girl's back, sides, and legs that appeared to be consistant with injuries that would be caused by a belt.

Bilodeau has been charged with felony charges of aggravated child abuse and neglect of a child.  He is currently out on bail. The investigation is continuing.

I had my share of spankings when I was a child. They were most likely deserved (hey, I was a "normal" kid). I can tell you from personal experience that I wasn't spanked to the point of bruising, and I wasn't made to undress. So I can say from personal experience that spanking hurts. Even without the bruising and the undressing. So that was taking it farther, in my opinion. If the girl is twelve now, and had been living with the family friend for 3 years, that would have made her about 9 years old, when the decision was made that the mother couldn't handle her due to "misbehaving".

Some kids are a handful, even at the age of 9. But often there are things that can be done for and with the child, through individual and family counseling that can lead to better behavior of the child. Parents can also take parenting classes to learn new ideas for handling a "misbehaving" child. Some kids will respond to moderate spanking (at least I did) but with some kids there is an adverse affect- the behavior just gets worse. Kids will also sometimes act out when they need attention, and fail to get it. Attention for bad behavior is often better than no attention at all.

But when spanking leads to bruising, that goes more toward injury to the child. And the making the child undress for a spanking goes even beyond that, as by that age, there would be a sense of humiliation at being made to undress in front of your father. And, that also makes me start wondering if we have heard the whole story on that or if more will be coming out in this investigation.

Instead of getting the child into some type of constructive treatment program and learning new parenting techniques to help in altering behavior, to just send her away somewhere……well I cannot get over that. The child was 9 years old! You expect some "misbehavior" of a kid that age. That is what a kid does, that is how a child gains experience in the world. It is a parents job to correct the misbehavior with love, firmness, consistency, and moderate discipline, and if that doesn't work then it time to seek out the assistance of the experts.

This child is going to have a tough time. She has learned that to get attention, she has to misbehave. She has learned that violence gets control of a situation, and she has learned that she can be pushed out- by the persons who are supposed to love her. She is going to have a lifetime of habits to unlearn, and she will also have to learn love, trust and respect for others.

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month

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