Child Abuse

10 Examples Of Morons Trivializing Child Abuse

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is-this-abusive/ Sometimes when I’m online, there’s a little game I like to play called “let’s see what qualifies as child abuse today”. I don’t really know why I do this, but I’m assuming it has something to do with how satisfying a  rageboner feels. Coming from a background of abuse, it’s always a little bit disheartening to discover that people  consider everything from feeding cookies to children to drawing eyebrows on babies as abuse, but seeing as I was formula  fed, my inability to grasp how easily we trivialize child-abuse is probably a result of all that Chinese poison powder I consumed as an infant.

Fortunately I have writers like Allison Dixley at blogs like The Alpha Parent to help me understand how wrong I am. She wants us all to know that child abuse isn’t limited to you know, actual abuse, but all of the stuff she disagrees with, as well.

“By restricting our understanding of harm to just the extremes, we condone and normalise other harmful acts towards children, acts that fall outside the legal safety-net. In this post I will focus on babies and toddlers to show how the mistreatment of children is a widely accepted and even cherished part of our culture.”

If you have time, read it. It’s a gem, in which Dixley helpfully explains to us that billions of children are exposed to such atrocities as formula feeding, largely because their abusers are lazy.

“Imagine how ludicrous this attitude would be if applied to other areas of child heath:  ‘Preparing meals for your child takes a great deal of time, so choose microwave ready-meals instead’, or ‘Visiting the doctor takes a great deal of time, so when your child is ill, use Google instead’.”  

To which I would say, microwaved meals aren’t child abuse either, moron.

This got me wondering; in what other ways have I been abusing my child? So I started digging around the internet, which I don’t recommend without a healthy amount of wine or horse tranquilizers, but preferably a combination of both. Because you, too, may be confused as to what constitutes child abuse and what is parental insecurity projected over the inter-tubes, please allow me to clear it up for you with this handy list. Please feel free to thank me later.

1)Extended Breast-Feeding 

Sigh. Must we continue to have this discussion? Breast-feeding  isn’t sexual. If you feel icky at the  sight of a mother feeding her toddler, that’s your problem.

2) Formula Feeding

“It’s the cultural norm for babies to have exact same bland meal for every meal for months on end – formula milk; we wouldn’t dream of forcing this on an adult. When else in life would we see it as acceptable to give ONLY a highly processed, reconstituted food – one which always tastes the same at every meal. It’s difficult to imagine justifying this for any other group in society. Even pet food comes in a range of flavours.”

The Alpha Parent

Double sigh. To be clear, starving your child qualifies as child abuse, feeding them does not. But hey, thanks for lumping adoptive parents into the “heartless, child abusing monsters” category. And by “thank you” I of course mean, “try laying off of the douchejuice once in awhile”.

3) Piercing Your  Baby’s Ears


I don’t have a very strong opinion on pierced baby ears. Personally I’d rather not spend the money until my daughter tells me she’s ready. But there is a significant difference between piercing your baby’s ears and say, biting your infant’s nose off.

4) Cry It Out

“It’s socially acceptable and even encouraged to leave your baby to cry alone for hours. Would you do this to your best friend or partner? Would you do this to your dog?”

-The Alpha Parent

cry it out abuse

Would you believe me if I said that I had no idea that cry it out with such a hotly debated topic? My baby cried all of the cries out. Sleep training was what kept us from being homeless, seriously. My only other option would have been to quit my job, miss rent, and raise my baby in a cozy refrigerator box. You will excuse me if I worried more about affording food for my child then slightly elevating her cortisol levels. Or you won’t, because you sound like a dick.

Side note: I would totally do this to my dog.

5) Circumcision

“Some argue that pain felt by a baby is not as bad as pain felt by an adult. This argument is commonly used by circumcision advocates that believe in conducting the procedure without anaesthetics. They argue that babies have a much weaker awareness of what is happening to them, and this makes their suffering insignificant…Human pain machinery is the same in infants as it is in children and adults.”

-The Alpha Parent

Ah, Circumcision. I feel like I don’t get to have too much of an opinion on this since I don’t have a son; frankly, I have just never had to give that much thought to lopping off  dickskin. But given The Alpha Parent’s assertion that babies feel pain at the same level as adults, I wonder how opposed she is to frenulum snipping if the only other alternative is formula. Conundrum!

6) Letting Your Baby Get Fat


Childhood obesity. More like childhood ABUSE-ity, amirite? I’m so pleased to see that so many mommy bloggers and internet randos have doctorates in pediatric health now. I don’t know how it feels to be an obese child, but I sure as hell know what it feels like to be a hungry one. There aren’t enough middle fingers in the world for this.

7) Being A Dirty Smoker

Hey, I’m not telling you to smoke, and sure, I’ll probably side eye if you smoke around your kid. It’s extremely questionable, and I say that as a person who sneaks a cigarette here and there. I’m hesitant to even weigh in on this because I know I wouldn’t want people smoking around mine. But assault? Child abuse? I’m having trouble making that leap.

8) Intimacy (???)

I don’t really know what The Alpha Parent means by this, but I’m going to assume that by saying “children have no right to personal space. no right to refuse intimacy,” she isn’t referring to any of the tenants of attachment parenting, since according to her blog attachment parenting is pretty much the only way to not abuse your child. Color me confused. I’m more confused than a screaming baby at the piercing station at Claire’s who is being held down while her mother smokes cigarettes and lets her cry it out.

9) Cosleeping


-via Commonhealth

In case you’re wondering, the answer is no. No, you really can’t win. Let your baby cry it out, you’re a monster. Let your baby sleep in bed with you, you’re also a monster. Way to go, monster.

10) Letting Your Baby Eat  Lemons

This concept has always confused and bothered me. Has no baby ever eaten lemons before? At what age does citric consumption cease to be child abuse? Are lemons more or less abusive than formula? How about jalapeños? What about key limes? If you feed your baby lemons, and then let them cry it out while they sleep in your bed, is that grounds for a CPS call? So many unanswered questions.

I definitely don’t want to draw a hard line in the sand about what “counts” as child abuse, but some of the above reactions are borderline insanity.

We are not doing victims of abuse any favors by ensuring that every parenting decision we disagree with gets lumped into the category of abuse. It is both insulting and laughable to compare babies who are formula fed or overweight to oppressed minorities or slaughtered animals. The more you equate things like formula feeding to severe neglect, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, the less likely people are to take those things seriously. So if I may, I’d like to offer this heartfelt plea: stop being a dick and think of the children.

(Image: Jeff Cameron Collingwood/Shutterstock)