Why do parents beat their children

When parents hit their children

At the weekend Tanja Buchmann (family name changed) saw red regularly. “I was with the children from morning to evening and they just didn't hear. The little one threw the food and the big one was snotty. At some point I freaked out. "Frenzied, that meant: punches." In the beginning it was a clap on the hand when Bastian was munching over dinner. Or I grabbed Theo by the arm when he refused to leave his room to clean up. " But the less her "upbringing methods" worked, the more frustrated the 27-year-old became. "At some point it was so far that I regularly pounded them; in the face or on the back of the head."

The more the situation at home escalated, the greater the fear that their behavior could have consequences. "I was so afraid that at some point the youth welfare office would stand here and take the boys away from me." The Leipzig woman didn't know where she could get help - she's been raising her two sons alone for years. The father is three-year-old Bastian and five-year-old Theo The single parent hasn't seen a circle of friends for a long time. The cashier has hardly any contact with her parents. "When I got this frustration again that my life somehow had nothing to do with what I used to be thought up and then saw the children, I often thought: It's their fault that I feel so bad. And then they got it again. " Tanja Buchmann ignored the fact that the children were afraid as soon as their roaring mother approached them.

"I felt like a terrible mother"

Until that one evening three months ago: “Theo said to me that I was a stupid mom and he would be happy if I were dead. It made me so angry that I really pushed him away. And he hit the edge of the table - so badly that he had a laceration on his temple. I've never been so ashamed in my life. "In the hospital, Tanja Buchmann still doesn't dare to tell the truth, speaks of an accident. But when the kindergarten teacher reacted in shock to Theo's big patch the next day, the mother broke the dams. "I just started crying and told her I was a terrible mother." She is still incredibly happy that the teacher took her in her arms instead of reproaching her. "I was afraid they'd call the police straight away." Instead, they gave her a flyer with addresses of educational counseling centers. Tanja Buchmann called there in the afternoon when they assured her that the counseling was confidential and offered her a quick appointment She was relieved. And when she was assured in conversation that the youth welfare office would not be informed, "I could let everything out".

Ines Enge, psychologist in the family counseling center of the Arbeiterwohlfahrt Chemnitz, knows how difficult it is for parents to admit that something has gone seriously wrong in their upbringing. “Most people now know that violence against children - even if it's just the famous slap on the bottom - is a criminal offense. We make that very clear - but also make it clear that we are there to help. "It is help that many parents could need. According to a recent Forsa survey, violence has by no means disappeared from German children's rooms Even if the number of parents who punish their children is declining, four out of ten parents still punish their children with slaps and ten percent admit slapping - mothers as well as fathers, while the old cliché that fathers would be Ines Enge observed in her counseling practice that mothers would regret their behavior more quickly - in their eyes, the discrepancy between what they do and the expectations that are commonly expected of a loving, caring mother is often too big Regardless of who slips your hand, the reasons for the attacks are the same: the children were outrageous, disobeyed or aggravated behave siv.

The violence is an expression of parental helplessness

As a rule, says Ines Enge, violence against children is an expression of pure helplessness. “You just don't know what to do next - the child is supposed to do something, but refuses. And then, in addition to the feeling of helplessness, there is the feeling that you can't let a three-year-old dance around you. "Tanja Schumann often had that too. She kept asking herself what she was doing wrong when Bastian got back and forth dropped screaming on the way home from daycare because he didn't want to leave yet. "You often get comments that you don't have the child under control." Uneasiness about the looks of others often leads to the fact that you want to "take action properly".

Most parents find it difficult to admit that they are beating and endangering their children. The fear is too great that it might cost them the children. The fact that the number of people being taken into custody, i.e. the cases in which the youth welfare office takes children out of vulnerable families, has been increasing in recent years seems to be evidence of the youth welfare offices' tough action. Corinna Bächer from the Cologne Child Protection Center also knows that the youth welfare offices are increasingly afraid of overlooking something. She therefore emphasizes with the parents who come to her for family counseling or the parents' café that she and her employees are bound by confidentiality. “We all know that there is section 1631 in the civil code, which guarantees children the right to a non-violent upbringing. Nevertheless, not every slip of the hand is a reason to report for us. We only do that if we really think that the child's well-being in the family is at risk. "Together with the families, Bächer works out specific ways of avoiding or surviving dangerous situations. It is also important to sound out how affected families can get relief and support "It could be a mother-child cure or the possibility of having the children looked after in the afternoons. If families have financial worries that make them thin-skinned, we can put them in contact with appropriate advice centers."

"The situation is no longer overwhelming me"

Tanja Buchmann benefited from the advice. She first had to recognize that Bastian and Theo were completely normal in their behavior and did not buck and defy to provoke them. And that she could make life easier for herself and the boys. "Clear rules are particularly important for small children," says psychologist Enge, "they are totally insecure when there is no reliability in their parents' actions." If a situation is about to escalate, advise them to leave it. “Parents have to endure the fact that a child can go wild. If it helps to leave the room - good. "It is important to communicate feelings - and to apologize if you have reacted wrongly.

Tanja Buchmann has been attending parenting counseling regularly for ten weeks. There she was given contact with a group of mothers who meet weekly - and where the women can talk about everything that concerns them. She has not beaten her sons since then. “Of course, I still don't react perfectly and sometimes yell. But I no longer allow the situation to overwhelm me as it used to and that I only react in a blind rage. I recognized one thing: I am the mother. I have to show the children how to deal with anger and disappointment without hurting another. Where are they supposed to learn it from if not from me? "