21 CHILD ABUSE AWARENESS Lori quietly wept over the sink, just staring at the afternoon dishes. Her hands were still shaking. She couldn’t believe how close she had just come to total disaster. She had only asked Kaila to pick up her toys! But when Kaila had thrown them all down the stairs, Lori had spun out of control. She was just so tired of the toddler’s tantrums. Lori knows Kaila is still young, but why can’t she learn to pick up things like her friends already do? It was seeing the cell phone in pieces among the broken toys that had made her start yelling. Where were they going to get the money to replace that? In an instant, she had slapped Kaila really hard. And the next thing she knew, Kaila had lost her balance at the top of the stairs.What was she thinking when she did that?Was she crazy? If Lori hadn’t grabbed her, Kaila would have fallen all the way down, just like her dolls. Lori began to sob. She loved Kaila, but everything seemed so hard these days with Roy out of work. She always feels like she’s failing, especially when it comes to Kaila. She’s got to stop doing things like this before something really bad happens. Kaila could have been seriously hurt! And she supposed that hitting Kaila like that could be considered an assault. Maybe she could check the Internet to find a parenting class or support group: there must be others like her going through this. Child discipline What does it look like? All children need their parents to teach them how to behave. Children need time to learn what they should and should not do.They learn to behave by: • watching their parents and other people; • getting clear instructions; and • being praised and encouraged for their efforts. The right kind of discipline teaches children responsibility, self-control, and right from wrong. It raises the child’s self-esteem, encourages the child to do better and strengthens the parent-child bond. Parents should never discipline children until the children are old enough to understand it. Why doesn’t spanking work? Experts say that spanking is not an effective form of discipline. Spanking can make children angry and resentful. It can cause them to lose trust in their parents. It teaches children that hitting others is okay. In the long run, spanking can make children’s behaviour worse. (continued) Reproduced from the Department of Justice publication Child Abuse is Wrong: What Can I Do? without affiliation or endorsement of the Government of Canada.