When does “spanking” turn into “beatings” or child abuse?

by | Dec 16, 2013

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

Is “spanking” a taboo discipline for kids?  Quote from this website article…

One woman fed up with violence against children changes her world!

This film will do what documentary film does best  –  it will tell a story.

Asadah Kirkland, is a teacher and a mother who works with parents in her community in  Harlem.  Her story is how one woman, fed up with violence against children, tired of watching parents slap their children in the head on the bus, tired of hearing countless stories – essentially the same old story about “how my momma would whoop me with a shoe, a belt, an extension cord, a flyswatter” – how ONE woman changes her world!

Spanking can easily evolve to beatings, brain damage, and child abuse leading to a life long struggle with PTSD.  My worst memories of childhood centered around being fearful of the next beating…  Getting slapped and punched in the head was a routine discipline in our highly toxic home during the “too terrible to remember 50’s.”  The most vivid memories and flashbacks are from this type of abuse or so called discipline.  Most of it had nothing to do with what we siblings were doing or not doing that “discipline” in the way of beatings was required.  My reconciliation of these horrific events show that my parents were very angry and needed ways to vent.  There were no treatment strategies for PTSD at the time.  There was little or no research and awareness of the complications of a host of symptoms related to life after trauma.  The post WWII & Korean War baggage was overwhelming to military families in general.   There was little or no harmony for those battle weary warriors who came home with the memories of death and carnage from the battlefield.  Consequently, the children and spouses often became collateral damage from the war that was left behind many thousands of miles in the South Pacific & in Europe.  The bottom line was that children were not protected and remained isolated behind closed doors for the duration of a toxic childhood.  We carried complex and secondary PTSD with us as adults and were often in denial of our own detrimental behaviors unless we were lucky enough to discover a path to healing once the level of PTSD awareness and research showed us the way to a more peaceful life.

In my case, it was discovering the value of revisiting the past and no longer being in denial of how a highly toxic home can kill or at least compromise a kids soul.  In today’s world of mental health and PTSD research we refer to this type of treatment as Prolonged Exposure and Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT).  The TV show “60 Minutes” recently interviewed several combat veterans receiving CPT with great results.   I was lucky enough to achieve the benefits of Prolonged Exposure by researching and writing my book.  And WOW was it painful but well worth the effort in the end when my book was published in November 2011.  Writing in my blog, Families Living with PTSD and Moral Injury, has provided a consistent journey of healing or work in progress to help me stay grounded as a survivor who is thriving by staying engaged in the treatment process.  Book signing events and other speaking forums have been beneficial as well.  We survivors do know that there is no cure for PTSD, so consistent and long term treatment that works is a highly motivating strategy.  Living with the emotional baggage of a painful past is never an option once experiencing the benefits of effective treatment through Prolonged Exposure and CPT.

If you haven’t already done so, click and view the “60 Minutes…PTSD Victims Progressing from Innovative Therapy.”  You don’t have to write a book like me to get started on your own journey of healing!

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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