Today we can find reports about people accused of abuse and neglect of their children on some ridiculous grounds such as leaving their toddler to nap for three minutes in the car or letting a preschooler play "unsupervised" in their own fenced backyard. However, there are plenty of much more severe cases to justify the possibility of filing an anonymous report. Leaving out plain sadism and other mental disorders that can push people, including parents, to do despicable things, let us present instead some cases, where moms and dads only wished their kids well, but their parenting went very, very wrong, to say the least.
The following are the examples of some controversial child-rearing methods and unacceptable punishment decisions.
8. Extreme public shaming
7. Crippling overprotection
Helicopter parenting is a hallmark of our time, not only in the US but also in all around the world. However, when does over-coddling become abuse? The probable answer is – when it prevents normal development.
The 12-year-old Luca from Ferrara, Italy had a motor development of a 3-year-old and didn't even know how to run. His regretful condition was caused by… too much love and protection his mother and grandparents surrounded him with.
He has been confined to his home, which he was allowed to leave exclusively for school. There was no other exception – playing outside with friends, doing sports or even visiting the church was also out of the question. Apparently, his family did so much for him, that it arrested his physiological development. His teacher says that even Luca's school lunches they always precut into bite-size pieces.
Mother and grandparents of the boy face charges of abuse, although it is difficult to classify what they have done wrong because usually caretakers are accused of neglect than of over-involvement.
6. False abandonment
5. Locking out in extreme weather conditions
If a couple from Phoenix knew the consequences of a punishment they chose for their 6-year-old son, they probably would think twice.
His father, Mark Simmons, had locked the boy out and made him stand barefoot on the hot concrete. The dreadful thing about this is that the outside temperature had reached 110 °F at the time and the concrete was blazing. 10-minute-long punishment caused severe burns to the bottom of boy's feet. However, it did not spare him from further cruelty. They cut the flaps from the blisters on his feet, beat him and threatened to make him stand outside once again if he would not stop crying. They also did not turn for medical treatment. Instead, Sarah Simmons, the stepmother, applied spray medication to lessen the pain. It was not until boys feet began to show the signs of inflammation that they decided to seek medical help.
Both Mark and Sarah Simmons were eventually arrested and faced charges of abuse.
Unfortunately, this is not a typo and it does not read "scolding". Felicia Krystal Burton from Medford, Oregon, have chosen an appalling technique of potty training for her 3-year-old daughter, who was hospitalized with badly burned hands and forearms.
When Felicia discovered that the girl had soiled her pants, she became angry, grabbed the toddler by the hands and dragged her to the kitchen, where opened the tap with hot water at full blast. Not only did she hold her child's arms under the current of scalding water causing burns, but also waited a day before bringing the injured girl to the hospital. This cruelty undoubtedly gravely scarred the child, both physically and emotionally. A foster mother to another child, who was also taken from Felicia, says that her adopted son used to be punished in this atrocious way as well. Now he only takes cold showers and cold food, refusing to have it warmed up.
Both Felicia and her partner face a felony charge of abuse.
Many people deny their children the luxury of dessert for misbehaving. However, hardly anyone would systematically deny them lunch for doing their homework less than perfect.
A preacher and his wife from Smethport, Pennsylvania, thought that food deprivation is a suitable disciplinary measure for their three adopted kids and that something more than a bowl of oatmeal a day could only spoil them. Their nine-year-old ran away from home and told the police that she and her elder sister and brother (ten and eleven) were denied food on a regular basis for every little delinquency. They had to ask neighbors to give them something to eat – all three kids were extremely underweight and suffered growth retardation. Their stepparents, Mark and Susan Hooper, were convicted for endangering their three adopted children and sentenced to jail.
This may come as a shock, but most of the people from the above stories did not think that they did something wrong, until other people or authorities have interfered. Maybe, however, they were afraid or ashamed to admit their wrongdoings even to themselves. Anyway, that is a lesson to all of us – when we see a child maltreated, we must not just pass by impassively.