Adults violently punish other people's kids in J'em

Two cases of assault against young children leave experts, parents shocked.

kids 88 (photo credit: )
kids 88
(photo credit: )
Two separate cases of parents physically punishing other people's children have left parents, authorities and experts working with children shocked and speechless, after The Jerusalem Post revealed two Jerusalem-area incidents on Monday. In one, a group of eight-year-old boys were beaten for misbehaving at a classmate's birthday party, while in another, a father threatened and assaulted a second-grade boy who had been teasing his daughter at school. In the second case, a complaint by the boy's parents was filed with the police and the man is currently under investigation. "[My son] is totally terrified," said Hila (not her real name), the mother of the boy who was assaulted for teasing a girl in his grade. "He's had a regression [in his behavior] and has even started wetting his bed at night." "Hurting someone else's child is a very serious offense," Superintendent Galit Ziv, Head of the Education and Informational wing of the Israel Police's Youth Department, told the Post. "If we hear about an adult assaulting a child, we take it very seriously and make it a priority." "I don't believe this is a phenomenon; we usually get a few lone cases of this each year," she continued, adding, however, "that any parent who discovers their child has been abused or assaulted in this way should immediately press charges or lodge a complaint in the local police station." "I didn't hesitate to go to the police," continued Hila, a Mevaseret Zion resident and a teacher at her son's school. "It's inappropriate for a parent to directly address the other child if there is an argument or bad relations with their own son or daughter. Parents just don't have the right to talk to or treat other people's kids as if they were their own." However, parents of the children involved in the other incident, which occurred last week at a birthday party in Mevaseret Zion but involved pupils from a different elementary school, have decided not to involve the police. "We felt it would be too stressful for them to go through the ordeal of being investigated by the police," said Sara (also not her real name), a mother of one of the boys. Sara told the Post how she had gone to pick up her son and a friend from the party last Friday. "His friend was urging him to tell me something," she recalled. "I stopped them and made them tell me what had happened at the party. Apparently, they had been misbehaving and the birthday girl's father had taken it upon himself to discipline them using physical force." While the girl's father only pulled Sara's son's ear lobe to reprimand him, several other boys were disciplined with much more severe physical force, she said. One boy had a clear slap mark on his arm. "They were misbehaving, but they didn't destroy anything," said Sara. "They were just eight-year-old boys at a girl's birthday party who got a little bored and were fooling around. It's certainly not grounds for a full-grown adult to smack them around." She continued: "Now I'll really think twice about sending my children to another person's house, even for a birthday party, if this is how some parents behave." "Many times, at a child's party, there are those who don't behave well but there is a big difference between warning them verbally and using physical force," commented Yitzhak Kadman, Director of the National Council for the Child. "A child should never be smacked by another [child's] parent. There are plenty of other ways to deal with bad behavior." While Kadman said that he had not heard of such violence taking place at a birthday party, he did note that some adults feel justified in getting involved in their children's battles either as a way of protecting their own children or because they are just "violent people looking to take out their aggression on the weakest link." "Obviously, the parent in question should simply apologize to the child and end the matter there," observed Kadman. "Although there are always going to be people who refuse to apologize, believing that their actions are justified, and in those instances parents should really turn to the police to deal with it." He added that if such violent people were not dealt with appropriately, physical threats and abuse could grow much worse.