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Adrian Peterson and the Fine Line of Child Abuse

by: douglas v. gibbs | published: 10 05, 2014

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When I mentioned in my new school about getting a "whoopin'," the kids laughed at me. A whoopin' with a "switch," paddle, or belt was something that only kids from the South got, I was told by my Seventh Grade Southern California schoolmates. The thing is, though my folks originally came from Arkansas, I was born and raised in California, too.

A switch was the tool of discipline only a few times, growing up, and it was only a couple whacks on the bottom. I think I got a paddle once, and that was only because it was the most handy instrument of punishment available at the moment. The belt was the most common tool, and normally it was used under very controlled conditions, with only a couple whacks on those occasions I kept my hands out of the way.

Corporal punishment was a part of the overall lesson of life, a way to ensure obedience, while reminding me of the need for me to maintain a certain respect for my parents, and the consequences that may arise as a result of failing to maintain said respect.

My siblings and I are heralded by many people as being very well-rounded, responsible people, and I am sure the strict upbringing was a large part of that. . . along with Mom making sure we were in church every Sunday. A sound foundation was established, and the recognition of consequences for our actions was reinforced often.

Were there markings on my body after the spanking? I don't know. Sometimes, there was a residual redness, but it was nothing that was a big deal, It was a part of the parental tools my folks used.

Was it abuse? Absolutely not. . . but not everyone would agree with me.

My wife was the product of a different kind of upbringing, and her beliefs regarding child-rearing were confirmed, in her mind, when she earned her first degree in childhood development, and her bachelors degree in psychology. I spanked my kids maybe a couple times, but she would have none of that kind of discipline going on in our house. She believed in putting the kids on time-out. She said they would utilize that time to think about what they had done wrong. I told her they would utilize the time to figure out how not to get caught next time, or how they were getting off easy without dad being able to smack their butts.

To counter her poor choice in disciplinary strategies I worked as much as I could to establish a solid foundation by teaching them about biblical principles, basic common sense about the consequences of one's actions in life, and why it is important to act in a certain manner. The foundation has kept them from going completely off the deep end, but the rebellious teenage years were much worse than my parents experienced with me, and their inability to realize a need for independence and responsibility took a little longer. Don't get me wrong, they are both fine parents and responsible members of society, but I do believe their transition into adulthood would have been smoother had they been disciplined in a stronger manner as they were growing up.

Spankings are not child abuse, but they can be if they are applied in a manner that injures the child, or is carried out in anger and is used in a way that exceeds the basic disciplinary function of it. Some people believe that any physical discipline, especially if an instrument is used, is abusive, and they have decided to force their view upon parents that do not agree with them. The very idea that a parent would use corporal punishment offends them, and the very idea that a spanking may result in redness, or whelps on the skin, is appalling to these people. As a result of their extreme opinion, along with an efficient information campaign waged against society on the issue, the concept of "spankings equal child abuse" has become an accepted attitude of society. Stories of Child Protective Services taking children from families because of the deliverance of spankings, has become a more common occurrence.

But, there are still people out there that spank their children, and those parents, in the mind of the child protective brigade, are no different than the horror stories we hear about parents that are truly abusive and should be criminally charged.

"If only," they must've been thinking, "if only we had a poster child, a high profile person to fry for his abusive disciplinary techniques, so that we can drive home the idea that whoopin's are child abuse."

Enter into the discussion Adrian Peterson, the famous running back for the Minnesota Vikings.

Peterson was arrested for using a switch on his child. Of course, the liberal media called it a "branch," which technically it was, but they used that term to put into the minds of the readers and viewers that Peterson was wielding some massive piece of lumber against his child. After being released on a $15,000 bond for his alleged reckless or negligent injury of a child, Sunday's football extravaganza focused on Peterson, and his wife-beating colleague, Ray Rice, instead of talking about the upcoming games the viewers were looking forward to watching after the silly pre-game discussions.

Peterson has not been uncooperative with the "authorities." He turned himself in after the accusation was made, and according to the media, the football player has been fully cooperative with the people in charge of putting him on time-out in a jail cell.

Adrian Peterson admitted he was simply carrying on the disciplinary strategies his own parents used on him, which I am sure was received as proof that the style of punishment is simply some archaic and barbaric style of discipline that is best left in the dark ages. . . you know, the time period before Obama became President of the United States.

Did Peterson go overboard? It seems so. The accounts being relayed to us reveals that he did. Reading the list of injuries to the child tells me he may have applied the punishment in anger, or without the restraint that is necessary to maintain as a parent. Does that make him an abuser? I don't know, but according to the statements, and recognizing his cooperation, "Adrian is a loving father who used his judgment as a parent to discipline his son. . . Adrian has never hidden from what happened.”

The indictment says Peterson did more than just strike his child with a "stick.." "Peterson’s son had pushed another one of Peterson’s children off of a motorbike video game. As punishment, Peterson grabbed a tree branch – which he consistently referred to as a 'switch' – removed the leaves and struck the child repeatedly.

"The beating allegedly resulted in numerous injuries to the child, including cuts and bruises to the child’s back, buttocks, ankles, legs and scrotum, along with defensive wounds to the child’s hands. Peterson then texted the boy’s mother, saying that one wound in particular would make her “mad at me about his leg. I got kinda good wit the tail end of the switch.

"Peterson also allegedly said via text message to the child’s mother that he 'felt bad after the fact when I notice the switch was wrapping around hitting I (sic) thigh' and also acknowledged the injury to the child’s scrotum in a text message, saying, 'Got him in nuts once I noticed. But I felt so bad, n I’m all tearing that butt up when needed! I start putting them in timeout. N save the whooping for needed memories!'

"In further text messages, Peterson allegedly said, 'Never do I go overboard! But all my kids will know, hey daddy has the biggie heart but don’t play no games when it comes to acting right.'”

As for the accusation that Peterson did more than hit his kid with a switch? "According to police reports, the child, however, had a slightly different story, telling authorities that 'Daddy Peterson hit me on my face.' The child also expressed worry that Peterson would punch him in the face if the child reported the incident to authorities. He also said that he had been hit by a belt and that 'there are a lot of belts in Daddy’s closet.' He added that Peterson put leaves in his mouth when he was being hit with the switch while his pants were down. The child told his mother that Peterson 'likes belts and switches” and “has a whooping room.'"

Just the monster the leftists were hoping for. Remember, people like Hillary Clinton says that parents can't be trusted with the raising of their children, and that it "takes a village to raise a child." They are foaming at the mouth with the good fortune of the Peterson story falling in their laps. And yes, they plan to politicize this like everything else they dig their claws into. They have a collective agenda to put in place, and stories like this helps them drive their narrative.

I am not letting Peterson off the hook, nor am I calling him an abuser. I believe in corporal punishment, but I also believe it is a parent's responsibility to use the appropriate restraint. I don't know the details of what happened, and I don't know if the accusations leveled by the child were embellished because he knows that society will do what they can to side with him. All I know is this is exactly what the liberal left wants. They are always looking for tragic situations to use to monopolize upon in order to help their agenda. They did it with Sandy Hook when it came to Gun Control, and they are doing it with Adrian Peterson when it comes to the cries of the child protection brigade.



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