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Is Child Abuse a Reality on "Supernanny"?

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A family that recently starred on ABC's "Supernanny" is being investigated for child abuse.

There might be too much reality, even for "Supernanny." In an episode that aired earlier this month, Florida father Phil Davis is shown smacking his small child in the face. In one clip, he shows Supernanny Jo Frost how he punishes his child with a belt.

Some viewers were not amused -- and neither were officials with the state Department of Children and Families. John Harrell, spokesman for DCF's Northeast Regional Office in Jacksonville, says the agency is investigating complaints of child abuse and neglect. "If children are hit in the face, they risk getting injured," Harrell said Tuesday. "This [type of] treatment of children is very inappropriate."

The "Supernanny" segment brings up the well-worn debate of whether or not spanking can be considered abuse. What are your views?

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25 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jen March 4, 2009, 8:56 PM

Anonymous, has your fiance had this problem looked at? A black eye on a kid who dared to wake him up could result in a whole lot of trouble for you guys. I don’t think they’d accept that he has no memory of it.

Kia McLean March 10, 2009, 4:10 PM

If parents are supposed to be preparing children for adulthood, where in adulthood is the skill of ‘hitting’ going to be useful? That seems the crucial question.

Plenty of seriously abused children turn out fine, so ‘turning out fine’ is no justification for hurting children.

Employers have given up corporal punishment as a less-than-effective management tool, as have many parents.

The primary reason to not hit children is it’s the least effective tool in the parental kit … . .

HBIC June 1, 2009, 1:04 PM

The “pop in the mouth” was not abuse in some opinions I see. Well, if it’s NOT abuse, then it would not be illegal for me to “pop” an adult in the mouth for smarting off, right? Would those of you in the opinion it is OK for a parent to “teach a lesson” by “popping” a child in the mouth be alright with me doing the same to you, should you use inappropriate language I deem in need of correction?

As for the use of a belt, there are a great many parents who have lost custody of their children for this barbaric practice. So obviously many judges and child psychologists do not agree that beating a child is a great way to bring one up. Thankfully!

Funny, I would wonder how many of you who delight in child abuse are against the death penalty, or would object to adults being publicly caned for misbehavior as they do in other countries. Seems we have some ill tempered adults who need a good spanking around here.

HBIC June 1, 2009, 1:11 PM

I would also like to add, why is no one concerned about the mother’s lack of reaction to her child who had just been slapped by her father? She made no attempt to console her child at all, barely allowing the little girl to sit in her lap. Her only instinct was to look to her husband for clues on how to behave. Classic signs of domestic violence as well. The wife knew better than to show her own child love and affection for fear of receiving some good old fashioned discipline herself.

Legaldiva January 26, 2010, 8:35 AM

As a criminal prosecutor, you are welcome to live in denial, but if you hit and injure your child with ANY object, you have committed a felony.

There are so many other ways to discipline a child; using a belt/spoon/cord/whatever is the lazy and CRIMINAL way out of good parenting.

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