To think that perceptions of child abuse have changed a lot over the years?

(119 Posts)
extremepie Mon 11-Feb-13 20:34:51

Been reading some threads on here recently that have got we thinking about the definitions of 'child abuse' and how it has changed a lot over time.

Some things that were quite commonplace 20 years ago would now leave people gasping in horror but at the time it was just seen as discipline and, by extension, good parenting.

The example that springs to mind is the whole 'washing child's mouth out with soap if they swear' - quite normal when I was a child but now would land you an appointment with social services.

Why the shift for one generation to the next? Why have attitudes changed so dramatically to how we discipline our kids when, generally speaking it seems that people are growing up more badly behaved now we don't use these 'abusive' practices anymore? Abviously I am generalising but AIBU to wonder why things have changed so much?

extremepie Mon 11-Feb-13 20:36:03

Oops, bad iPhone spelling!

willesden Mon 11-Feb-13 20:49:06

Forty years ago, on my aunt's wedding day, my great uncle decided that she had 'cheeked' him so he took his belt off and beat her with it. She was wearing her wedding dress. A lot has changed in one generation.

HollyBerryBush Mon 11-Feb-13 20:54:16

willesden that would be 15 years after my aunt married a bloke who thought he could take a fist to her, she whipped him and bloodied him with a dog lead. He never raised a hand to her agian and they had a good and loving marriage.

I doubt my aunt or your uncle would be held up as paragons today.

PolkadotCircus Mon 11-Feb-13 20:56:12

Err I don't think normal families behave like that.

Not sure where you grew up extreme, but even twenty years ago where I am washing a child's mouth out with soap and water and the like would have been deemed extremely poor, and abusive, parenting.

Your final paragraph is something that the older generation has believed about the younger for hundreds of years so while what is/isn't acceptable does change, the reaction to that change has been a constant.

P.S. YANBU in terms of the shift, but YABU to imply that it is a negative one.

gordyslovesheep Mon 11-Feb-13 20:58:18

feminism and various campaigns around the right of women and children opened the doors to 'closed family' situation - rape with in marriage was legal until the 1990's - thankfully we are understanding that women, men and children ALL have rights - equally to be free from fear, pain and abuse

gordyslovesheep Mon 11-Feb-13 20:59:20

and yes I agree - normal families in my childhood (1970's) didn't behave as violently as those outlined above

HollyBerryBush Mon 11-Feb-13 21:00:51

There was a great phrase a while back, sorry to the poster who came out with it as I cant attribute it to you - "you cant apply todays standards to yesterdays legislation" (I might have a word or two wrong in that)

tethersend Mon 11-Feb-13 21:01:21

Increased awareness of abuse has meant that children who speak up about being abused are believed in a way they weren't thirty or forty years ago.

I'd call that progress.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Mon 11-Feb-13 21:01:39

There has been a change over a good many years. Back in the late 40s, early 50s my mum was told that if she ever spoke of the sexual abuse she was enduring again she would have her mouth washed out with soap and she would be struck dead, she was told that by her own mother. Needless to say the abuse in that household wasn't only sexual, it was physical and emotional as well. I hope today that it would be picked up by outside agencies and causes for concern would be raised by schools and neighbours as we, as a society, are more aware about what constitutes abuse.

Tee2072 Mon 11-Feb-13 21:05:13

Yes, yes, that's right. This is the first generation that has ever been undisciplined.

"The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for
authority, they show disrespect to their elders.... They no longer
rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their
legs, and are tyrants over their teachers."

Usually attributed to Socrates (B c. 469 / 470 BCE D 399 BCE (age approx. 71)). May have been Plato ( B: c. 428–427 BCE D: c. 348–347 BCE (aged c. 80))

VeremyJyle Mon 11-Feb-13 21:05:29

I was just discussing with MIL the issue of other people disciplining my children, if I am there or not and they misbehave bloody well tell them off! She feels the opposite, like she would be treading on my toes. shock
When I was younger of course you were told off by other adults, you may not have liked it but it stopped you misbehaving. Why should my own think they can play up other people? Yet so many other parents I know are infuriated when their children are told off! Not sure where that shift has come from either.

Oh and as a side point, my half brother had told my MIL that my dad (his step-dad) used to 'beat' him which I laughed off as we all got a whack off my dad, not just poor victim step-son grin

HollyBerryBush Mon 11-Feb-13 21:05:33

normal families in my childhood (1970's) didn't behave as violently as those outlined above

I agree, but then we didnt have disruptives in school, drugs were not common place, children were still respectful of their elders and had common manners and courtesy, men doffed caps and stood for ladies - all of which today are just so bloody awfully mysoginist and we clearly didnt let children express them selves at the expense of others learning. sufficiently

thebody Mon 11-Feb-13 21:06:00

I grew up in the 70s and 80s.

For me the 70s was an era of no pressure at school but excellent results. Roaming free all the holidays and going home for tea, no one checking on you with a mobile, no car so had to get trains and buses at age 9+ and all alone of course. Getting smacked regularly at home and at school almost daily

I was made to chew chalk for talking in class.

But it was also a time of sexism and appalling racism.

Some better some worse.

HollyBerryBush Mon 11-Feb-13 21:06:45

^^ I love that Socrates post - I do it in assemblies once a year grin

Poor hard done by kiddie winks!

Tee2072 Mon 11-Feb-13 21:08:15

So misunderstood, the poor kiddies, for thousands of years. grin

Tryharder Mon 11-Feb-13 21:09:48

We were discussing this at work today. Remember Mandy Smith? Sam Fox (who went topless in the Sun on her 16th birthday iirc), Wildchild Emma Ridley. Etc etc. It was so mainstream...

Dawndonna Mon 11-Feb-13 21:09:48

I grew up in the sixties and seventies. I tried going to the police about my parent at one point. They laughed and took me back to her. She beat me up, again. She was a headteacher at a local primary school, she had a cut glass accent and a double barrelled surname. She was a nasty abusive woman who should not, under any circumstances be allowed within ten feet of a child.
Do I sound bitter?

thebody Mon 11-Feb-13 21:10:02

Yes love Socrates quote. Makes you not despair if life really.

WilsonFrickett Mon 11-Feb-13 21:10:34

We were beaten in school, often with leather belts.
Sexual abuse was incredibly common, but never spoken of.
There was no such thing as marital rape, because a married man had the right to have sex with his wife whenever he wanted.

Yep, things have changed. Thank god. I don't think any of the things above contributed to raising polite, respectful children though.

thebody Mon 11-Feb-13 21:11:16

Dawndonna, awful, do you mind if I ask how this had resolved for you?

Tee2072 Mon 11-Feb-13 21:14:00

thebody every time someone complains about how awful children are these days, I drag that quote out.

Children haven't changed. Hopefully the way we treat them has.

MrsKoala Mon 11-Feb-13 21:15:19

I think the concept of neglect has changed.when I grew up 70s and 80s it was quite common to just tag along with what your parents did. No special child centric plans were made. Sit in the pub corner and be quiet type of thing. Also we were left alone a lot from a younger age. Obviously all different depending on people but it seemed quite normal.

"Abviously I am generalising but AIBU to wonder why things have changed so much"

Firstly the introduction of Human Rights and the rights of a child.

Secondly, research into the effect of different types of punishments on the emotional/pychological wellbeing of a developing human being (child).

As knowledge increased, the law changed as the Government became responsible for the wellbeing of anyone classed as "vulnerable".

Parents no longer owned their children had could no longer do what they wanted to them.

It developed along with the welfare state and the Governmnet pledging care.

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