First of all you have to be a middle aged, middle or upper class white man in a position of power or authority. Next you make your story of calculated abuse of your own child public with the caveat that you expect to be vilified. Then stand back and wait for all the gormless plebs reading to congratulate you on your bravery for speaking the truth and confess that they have done the exact same thing.
I am talking, of course, about “journalist” Martin Daubney and his sickening confession in the Daily Fail. He describes how he threatened to leave his wife unless she went along with his plan to abuse their three year old son. She agreed and they proceeded to fit a bolt to the child’s bedroom door and leave him to scream and throw himself around the room for three hours. The reason? Little Sonny wouldn’t stay in his room on his own and his parents were exhausted, desperate and ignorant.
They knew nothing of childhood development. I believe it is very likely that they had made a string of parenting errors and failed to seek reliable support and take appropriate action. With no support, bad information and no better ideas, they resorted to imprisoning their child and letting him potentially harm himself in the quest for some R&R for themselves.
In this earlier article, Daubney describes their son’s traumatic birth and his own consequent birth trauma. Had he done just a little basic reading, he would have known that a traumatic birth can have a lasting effect on babies. Sonny “nearly died” at birth, so I have to assume he had a stint in the NICU, where he was probably left crying by overworked nurses with little grasp of the importance of attachment in newborns. Daubney does say that when they got home Sonny slept in the family bed for the first few months and in a cot in their room for another six months after that. Thank goodness. Until I read this second article I had assumed the couple had gone all Gina Ford on this poor baby, but it appears not.
I would love to know how their baby slept in those early months, what signs of readiness he had shown before they moved him to his own room and why on earth they kept him in a cot until he was nearly three years old! When he started climbing out of his cot they restrained him in a sleeping bag, which he figured out how to get off and one night fell out of his cot when climbing out. It’s one case of restraint, followed by another, then another. Snowballing out of control. Daubney also mentions in passing that they leave Sonny locked in his room until 7am, even though he wakes earlier and that the child goes to nursery, where the day after his three hour long torture he fell asleep on his lunch. I am struggling to find a point in the day where this poor boy enjoys quality time with loving parents.
Babies who have gotten off to a shaky start in life, who have not necessarily formed a secure attachment to at least one parent, often exhibit insecurities as toddlers. This poor boy was desperate to get out of his room, to not be on his own. Interestingly, he didn’t run to their room, he would explore the house. They fitted a stair gate across his door, but at three years old he could figure out how to unlock it and one night ventured down two flights of stairs in his sleeping bag and opened the dishwasher. Clearly, this is exceptionally dangerous and I absolutely do not blame these parents for being desperate for a solution at this point. But I cannot on any level condone their chosen action.
According to the article, Daubney and his wife did not give any thought as to the reasons why their son might be having such terrible anxiety or try to address his deeply rooted insecurity. All they cared about was putting an end to the behaviour by any means necessary so they went for a quick fix. Daubney then describes his mother’s advice and her confession that she had locked him in his room as a small child. And here we come to the heart of it. No doubt she would be the first to follow up this revelation with that old chestnut “and it didn’t do you any harm”. Well no, I suppose not, if you consider very obvious intimacy and attachment issues both with his wife and his child as perfectly healthy.
The research is overwhelmingly clear that poor attachment in childhood leads to difficulty forming trusting and loving attachment with others as an adult. Daubney was himself a victim of abuse (being locked in his room) and has gone on to have the kind of relationship with his wife where he views her body as his to possess, ruined by witnessing her traumatic birth and he resented their baby for sharing their bed and needing his mother and at the point at which his little boy most needed to be held and reassured, he told his wife he would rather leave them both than hold his child and tell him he was safe.
No doubt little Sonny was a high needs child, probably because of his birth and the immediate aftermath, all the more reason to treat him with sensitivity and compassion. But what he got was abuse. Not only does he now know no one comes when he cries, but that he also cannot escape.
You can train children not to cry out when they need their parents, you can crush their spirit and teach them that no one comes to their aid when they are distressed and children learn very quickly. They may become very compliant and obedient for many years, maybe even decades, but still waters run deep and these very same children are the ones most prone to excessive and destructive behaviour later in life, perhaps in their teens, but maybe later.
The response to this article is perhaps, the most shocking thing of all. Most of the comments are supportive and the negative ones have received hundreds of “dislike”s. Many comments state that the readers have done this same thing and make reference to children needing boundaries and so on. Daubney and his wife will not face a social services investigation for their action, whereas a family from the wrong part of town in receipt of benefits almost certainly would. The double standard is as sickening as the abuse itself.
My heart goes out to Sonny, and to his mother. I hope that some how they are able to heal together.
62 thoughts on “How To Get Away With Child Abuse”
this article sums it up perfectly. I was debating the original article on a well know exhibition Facebook page, and I was immediate flamed down for daring to say that the child desperately needed validation, respect, reassurance and unconditional love. I suggested bringing the child back into the parental bedroom, giving hugs instead of discipline, only for my comments to be labeled ‘impractical’ and asked ‘when does the reassurance end?’ because obviously its sooo inconvenient to stay up with a distraught child.
my reply? I am a mummy 24/7. my job as a mummy doesn’t end when the sun goes down. and if my child needs holding and soothing then yes I will sit up with them in.the dark at stupid o’clock.
its high time parents took responsibility for thier action rather than using ‘acceptable abuse’ ala dizzie hall, gina fraud or Claire buy my book.
Luckily they dont have to justify themselves to YOU! “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”…careful, your halo slipped!
No they don’t have to justify themselves to me, only their child and possibly the authorities. I make no claims if perfection whatsoever and I am the first to reassure the vast majority if concerned parents that they are doing their best. However, publishing an article like this demands a response and this is my response. You don’t have to like what I say and you are just as entitled to respond to me. Hence we get a dialogue going and maybe one or both parties learn something.
p.s. the title of this article is inciting hate! I thought AP was a peaceful parenting mission! This is not helpful!
It is a provocative title, I wanted it to be but I fail to see how it incites hate.
I don’t hate people because of what others write about them. I can’t stand those “parents” for what they did and confessed to.
Interesting comment. I wonder whether your ‘getyousomehow’ title doesn’t seem, in its way, vengeful and inciting paranoia?
I’m surprised that you call it the Daily Fail yet take their reporting as 100% accurate. The paper is known to exaggerate and fan the flames, they have a history of doing so and you’ve added to it.
As a parent I know life is tough raising children. As the mother of a daughter with ADHD. I know after three months of 3 hours a sleep and lots of parenting advice from medical professionals (She needs a spanking – said by a doctor) that I’ve relied on Grandpa too much to have her for a weekend so I can catch up on my sleep – I still have two other children to parent, even when one refuses to sleep. I’m blessed to have a support system when so many don’t have one.
It could be anyone of us, we don’t know the full facts. We don’t know what actually goes on and I don’t think for one minute we should be judging them.
Hi Sarah, I totally agree about this paper’s track record and take your point. However, as the offending article is the first hand account of the author I am assuming that it is accurate as he sees it.
Hi Anna I totally agree. I am a sleep consultant and my clients often asked how long will it take for my child to sleep through the night. I tell them its not about the rocking or feeding to sleep that causes the problem but usually underlying issues that have not been dealt with. Babies and toddlers are happy to sleep if the conditions are right and will stay asleep if there is nothing else going on.
Thank you for your insight 🙂 though I would just hasten to add that some night waking is absolutely normal and healthy, especially in the first year when babies do need to feed frequently. This is not a sign of a problem and parents should expect this from the start.
Thanks for adding that holly my daughter still wakes anywhere between once – three time per night. And not to toot my own horn but she has no underlying issues she knows she is loved.
I dislike your opening about him being a “middle aged, middle or upper class white man in a position of power or authority,” ANY parent can be an abusive ass.
Other than that, you have beautiful insight, not to mention a great writer. This isn’t ‘boundaries’, This is abandonment. This is failing your child. The mother is even more guilty than the father. It’s heartbreaking thinking about this child’s future.
Thank you. I totally agree that anyone can be abusive. My opening was an answer to the title. My point was that this is a class issue. The wealthy and powerful GET AWAY WITH the same behaviours that would see other families split up by social services. I apologise if this wasn’t clear.
I understood what you were saying in the article about class issues.
It’s clear, must have been one of my blind days! 8 kids=Mommy blindness ; ) Sorry!
No worries :p
Hi Margie – fully agree with you except for one thing. The mother is NOT more guilty than the father – he abused her as well by threatening to leave. She may be weak and has put an adult man’s needs ahead of a small child’s, which is pretty unforgiveable, but mother’s who do that are usually victims of serious abuse themselves. unfortunately, that doesn’t help the child.
There is a girl I know in n abisive relationship. She stopped breastfeeding each their kids after a month because her husband was getting jealous of all the attention she was giving the babies.
Its a mindset that is hard to understand if you’ve never been in an abusive relationship (or been close to someone in one). The abuser has so much power and control over the abused because of prolonged psychological manipulation
Thank you! I love it when people express my thoughts for me so eloquently as I have difficulty expressing my opinions sometimes but this just nailed it!
Thank you 🙂
The title of the article is worthy of a Daily Mail headline. Whilst you may have valid points I completely switched off to your point of view after reading the inflamatory opening…but I wouldn’t have been drawn here to read it if you had not so…swings and roundabouts.
I don’t agree with what the man did but I am not in the same position and it is always easy to criticise others methods, evidently.
Thank you for your comment. I take your point most seriously as I do wish for people to engage with what I write, whether they agree or not.
A powerful and impassioned plea for love and connection. The tragedy of this is that the Father is so damaged himself! He (and others like him) don’t have the emotional tools to deal with their children’s needs. His son’s natural yearning for connection brings up so much unresolved pain within himself, that the only way he can deal with it is to lock him away out of sight. Not excusing his actions in any way and my heart hurts for his little one (and others like him) but…a corner of my heart feels compassion for him, for them all, regardless of social status.
However as a mum/woman if my partner threatened to “leave me” to make me compliant I would question; “Is this the sort of man I wish to spend the rest of my life with? Is this the sort of man I wish to raise my son? Sadly a lot of women choose to ignore these glaring red flags due to economic realities but for me threats don’t equal love? No-one could make me lock my distressed son in a room just so they wouldn’t “leave me”!
I completely agree with you. There is a whole heap of emotional damage for all three members of this family.
Having been in the same position as this man. I can honestly say there is no excuse for neglecting a child. No matter who suggests it. It is emotionally abusive to the extreme. The child clearly needs the love of his mother. And this man takes that away as well as causing this woman to choose between a whole family or a broken family. That sort of choice is only given by people who truely are selfish and do no love those involved in the situation as much as they ought to!
I thought that he wasn’t really being quite the unconditional father and a tad weak. Not attractive in a man.
shocking!!! I’ve always been there for my babies/kids.If they needed comforting they got it,even let them sleep with me if they needed to.
“Your’e” making a rod for you back” people would say,but I ignored them.They are all nearly grown up now and are wonderful human beings.I wouldn’t have raised them any other way.
I was a nanny for 14 hours a day, five days a week, not and I was on call 24/7 to help with whatever was needed, whenever it was needed. I was the one who held the two year old girl in the middle of the night. Her mother didn’t want to deal with the crying and screaming. I also became the house cleaner. I was not given enough of proper food to feed her. She was home enough for me to go to the two classes that I wasn’t taking online, and not an hour more. I took on all the functions of a single mother except for food shopping and laundry. You can ask “did that include—” and the answer is yes. She was neglectful. She didn’t even know what her daughter liked to eat.
I was trying to go to school. Full time. And basically raise a two year old. Don’t get me wrong, I liked her, and I grew to adore that little girl. But I was told that it would be a 40 hour a week JOB, not my life. But I couldn’t leave, because I couldn’t find a replacement and the woman was perfectly happy to leave her two year old home in the care of my other charge, a 5 year old boy. Alone. She taught him to use a microwave and put a baby gate on the top of the steps and thought that was enough. So I couldn’t leave.
Social services did nothing when I tried to bring attention to this.
After months of this I was getting increasingly desperate. I didn’t feel right putting some unwitting person into my shoes the way I had been, and no one else would take the job. My grades were slipping, I had no time for my friends or boyfriend, and I was getting physically sick. I was nineteen and I couldn’t handle it. I had tried to get help for the situation. But no, her mother was a service member and therefore above reproach if she wasn’t actually hitting her child. And what proof did I, a 19 year old girl, have?
It didn’t take long before the baby was coming to me instead of her mother at night. When she got scared, or had a nightmare, or couldn’t sleep, or wet her bed, she would come to ME. That was very frustrating, because I wanted her to be able to go to her mother. After two months I was so attached to her that I didn’t mind. I would haul myself out of bed and go comfort her and wasn’t upset about it, just because she NEEDED me.
I will admit that there were times when, in tears of exhaustion and desperation, I would put her in her room when she misbehaved and wasn’t responding to a time out, sometimes for up to a half hour. Before I put her in there I would tell her why I was doing it. Same thing with afterward. Is that wrong? Was I doing something bad for her?
I was afraid of her assigning me the role of her mother in her mind, especially when I was trying to get out of there as soon as possible. Would it hurt her less to attach herself to me and then have me gone, or to not really have anyone? Was I wrong? Did I do more harm then good?
This has been bugging me for a while. Any answers would be really appreciated.
Oh Sam, that sounds like a really difficult situation. What happened in the end? I think you did the absolute best you could for that little girl. We are attachment and unconditional parents, so we don’t do time outs or any punishments or rewards. But we aren’t perfect. Tempers have been fraught, patience tested and we have stepped away from our three year old during a meltdown in order to compose ourselves etc. which I think is a totally different thing to abandoning a child for three hours while they scream and “throw [themself] around the room like a whirling dervish”.
Locking a child in a room for three hours, once, is “child abuse”? Really? How to belittle those children who have suffered “real” abuse.
Of course it is abuse. Abuse, neglect and abandonment. How does saying this belittle anyone? There are various forms of abuse; sexual, physical, verbal, each as unacceptable as the next. It is my understanding that they locked him in his room every night for several months but the three hour stint of screaming only happened once, the next night he screamed for one hour. The third night he had given up hope and lost the will to fight. The damage was done but the effects will stay with him his whole life.
What is real ‘abuse’? Does it not encompass mental and emotional then?
No belittling, dog22. “Real” abuse as you put it covers a whole gamut of behaviours. Also, we’re discussing only one incident – doesn’t mean there weren’t more. Highly unlikely it happened in isolation – especially when you consider the other behaviours described in the article
Well said. What struck me was that they probably really did exhaust the conventional options for helping him to sleep. And the things that might have worked (treating him like a human being rather than a set of behaviours, as you say) are seen as fringe parenting techniques, for hippies who give their kids too much freedom and not enough restrictive discipline. People really do think that this child will *benefit* from these “boundaries”. When this is the prevailing wisdom about parenting, what hope do people have when they run into problems?
Agreed. Well said.
It sounds like they have their hands full. However allowing the child to sleep in your room is not impractical as some put it, it is an obvious way to ensure his safety and comfort. If you look at it that way having kids in general is impractical geez….it doesn’t excuse such poor behavior on the behalf of adults. Children are a great undertaking and at the same time it IS certainly entirely the parents responsibility to meet their needs and to do so in a loving manner not just meet their own needs and pass on their children’s…they were obviously thinking 90% about themselves and maybe 10% about their child. I am a mother of 2 one is six and one is 17 months and frankly i havent had a good nights sleep since i was pregnant with my oldest….she has NEVER liked to sleep she is simply too busy and curious….my son sleep well till oh 7 months or so and then he stopped no naps either and mabye 7 hours at night in the bed with plenty of waking time in those hours. daughter heads to her room at 11 and isnt asleep for hours and then is up by six. We manage and my kids are happy, there is no excuse no matter how tired, you do what is needed of you that is part of being a parent.
Absolutely. Thank you for your comment.
I had four children, all grown adults now. No matter how tired I was; no matter how ill or cranky, I never, ever left my children to cry. If I cried on my own in a locked room while someone waited for me to finish I would be devastated. I would never trust them again.
I was a very imperfect mother. I was a ‘good enough’ parent as Bruno Bettleheim wrote.But I knew that to empathise and to cuddle even when I was empty was the right thing. It is the right thing. A good psychologist would run a train through the arguments that to leave a child to cry is acceptable.
My Husband is a Therapist who works with some of the most deeply traumatised young men and neither he or his colleagues would leave one to cry on his own. And yet people are advocating leaving their own child to cope with confused emotions that they do not have words to speak of? Deeply, deeply shocking.
Very well said. Thank you.
I agree with many points in this article, but felt the need to point out one thing. Towards the middle of your post, you almost seem to condemn the parents for sending their child to nursery (I am from the States, so I am assuming this is the equivalent of daycare?), saying “I am struggling to find a point in the day where this poor boy enjoys quality time with loving parents.” The day is longer than just 5 am to whenever they pick the child up. Do I absolutely abhor what they did to that poor boy in terms of locking him in his room? Absolutely. Even though he has his own room and bed, my almost 5-year-old son contentedly snuggles down in bed with me every night, just as he has almost every night since he came home from hospital. I cannot imagine forcing him to do something he is clearly not ready for, and then listening to him scream and cry and doing nothing to comfort him,,
But I am also a single mom. I have to work to keep a roof over our heads and food in our mouths. I do not have the option to be able to be a stay-at-home mom. Does this mean I love my son any less, or that I am a neglectful parent? Of course not. It just means that, while he cannot have my attention for the entire day, I make sure that he has it when we do spend time together.
There is nothing wrong with nursery or daycare when there is no other option. You hit the nail on the head when you described how you ensure that your time together is loving. That’s all I meant. They lock him in his room early in the morning, when they might otherwise be nurturing him. Then he is at nursery all day, comes home and has maybe a couple of hours before being sent to bed on his own. Now, if a child is happy with this much alone time then that’s fine, but this child clearly wanted his parents to be with him.
I just finished reading Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen and learned a lot. As a “new” parent I’m still learning a lot myself. That said, I know what kind of parent I want to be and locking a child in their room, as I was when I was a kid, is NOT the route I want to take. Reading this book reinforced my instincts to find other ways, also having this new knowledge really made my heart go out to this crazy man’s son. He’s repeating a terrible cycle. What’s more is that culturally, change is SO hard for the English. For some reason they resist so much when there is overwhelming data supporting doing things differently.
I applaud you stating how you feel about the situation. To many people are worried about stepping on others toes and opt for “diplomacy” which in the end takes away the punch, and in this case, the hideous nature of this poor mans parenting style (if you want to call it that).
I went back and read the whole article and the first thought that sprung into my head when I saw their “well rested” faces in the Christmas tree picture (son absent again!) was I hope you don’t “need” your son one day because you have already lost him.
I suspect my first response yesterday was more compassionate & less judgemental, but geez, it’s hard to feel for this father…he seems like such a self indulgent, smug jerk and the Mother infuriates me with her weak compliance.
The bolt is now off the door but I’m sure this father has more humiliating “for his own good” tricks up his sleeve! Too yucky to even think about…
I read his interview again. He validated his actions with some internet info that the ‘Fire Brigade like a child to be in their own room’ . And how do the Fire Brigade know which is the child’s room? Bizarre reasoning.
Yes indeed, sounds like rubbish to me. Even if it were true I think the fire service would draw the line at LOCKED in own room. It’s so dangerous. If there was a fire the child couldn’t let themselves out of their room to get to their parents and smoke or a hot lock might prevent parents from being able to unlock the door
Yep. Holly, it appears that his protective instincts have been hijacked. The emotional starvation he experienced is being perpetuated in his own son. I think I’m actually quite upset at the comments, not just here but in other arenas, that seem to cheer at this. What has happened to people?
I have found the comments on the article more disturbing than the article itself. It frightens me to see how cruel and messed up our society is.
Sleep deprevation is often used as a form of torture. Unless you have been in their shoes you shouldn’t be judging. If like myself, you have been so tired that you actually felt like physically harming your child then you have not reached the same desperate point as these parents. I am not condoning what they did but neither am I judging them. I had a baby who would not sleep and the only advise I got from the so called ‘proffesionals’ was that he must be hungry and to feed him more – did this include force feeding? As even when full he wouldn’t sleep! Three years with very little sleep will take its toll on anyone no matter how saintly they consider themselves. And we don’t all have the luxury of being stay at home mums and catching up on sleep during the day when the baby is asleep!! If we all let our children sleep in bed with us till they were ‘ready’ for their own beds I think there would be a lot of only children around! Or is it ok for them to be in the marital bed and all that entails!! I think not!
I haven’t had an unbroken night’s sleep in four years. Both of my children are frequent wakers. I have been so tired I have been close to harming someone. I have screamed at them and walked away from them as they cried because I did not have mental, physical or emotional space to hold them in that moment. But I have never let them cry for more than a few minutes and I would NEVER lock them in a room and let them scream and potentially harm themselves for THREE HOURS. Should these parents be judged negatively for what they did? Damn straight. There is ALWAYS another option than abuse. Always. As for the bed-sharing, since when did the marital bed become the only place to conceive a child? Also, if a couple has a child that needs careful nighttime parenting then the couple probably shouldn’t be trying to have another one just yet! Children are small for so short a time and their needs must always come first. Parents need not be martyrs, our needs do still matter, but there are many ways to meet our own needs without neglecting our children. If you believe otherwise you should probably not have become a parent and should put your child/ren into care so you can get back to your old life, if it means so much to you.
It’s beyond my comprehension that there’s even discussion about whether it was right to do what they did. I’ve been sleep deprived for years and it makes me quite depressed sometimes. When my children didn’t sleep to our pattern/ needs I wouldn’t have thought for one moment that that warranted locking them away! My husband was tired too and the same goes for him. We sleepwalked through it. I cried sometimes and I felt angry But our four adult children care for people. They care. They’re not perfect people and gave us sleepless nights when they were teenagers at times but they are people with character and compassion. What you put in isn’t wasted. Neglect and bullying is to be applauded? Well, we need to be afraid. The future looks terrifying.
Oh, and a little thought to ponder; when the chap in the article is elderly and frail or struggling with Alzheimer’s and awake and wandering the house/ street alone and confused, I wonder whether his son will care enough not to lock him in his room and ignore his confusion and fear?
Well said. If this child had been an adult, able or disabled in some way, these parents would be facing prosecution for what they did. We live in a society that is fundamentally prejudiced against children, which is, as you say, terrifying.
If this person was an adult, a person who is capable of long-term decision-making and responsible for his own choices, this would be illegal, yes. BUT IT ISN’T. It’s a child, who has none of those things! Mentally ill people ARE locked into their rooms or wards regularly, for their own safety as well as the safety and sanity of those caring for them. It’s not as if these parents left the house to go party with their child locked in his room! No, they stayed there and listened to his misery. They were there in case the house did catch on fire that night. And they were there in the am to get him up.
Nice article, and much appreciated viewpoint on this scandalous pair of power-obsessed imbiciles, and their mediaeval child-husbandry skills.
Yes, maybe they felt they needed an investigative journalist to find out what was bothering the child, but couldn’t find one.
Maybe he didn’t know how to spell ‘abuse’ and so couldn’t google his behaviour to see how far over the line he’d stepped.
Let’s hope the child is not too badly damaged. At least he’ll grow up with a hatred of the Daily Mail, which is a positive and healthy sign.
But it will be interesting to see which parent gets custody of him when their marriage goes even wronger.
I have two small children. My oldest is 2, my youngest is 3 months. I also work. I’m oficially a “part time” employee but their are times I work a full time schedule because my employer is understaffed. I pretty much don’t sleep. There are days where the only time I spend with my husband is while we are at work.
As tired as I have been, as frustrated as I have been at my rowdy mess maker, I would never lock him in a room alone. I have locked my bedroom door so I could sleep while he watched cartoons, but I was right there with him if he needed me. When my husband and I feel need time to recharge, we get someone to watch our boys so we can go to a movie (or even something trivial like grocery shopping together without the kids). We talked about it recently because I was feeling like a crappy wife. My husband said “we knew they were going to be time consuming before we had then. And they won’t be little forever, we will have time to ourselves when they are grown up.” I love that man 🙂
You know, it would have been far less traumatic to have calmly & lovingly spanked their little guy.
Though it sounds like he needed a lot more structure throughout the day– and a good going to bed routine (which I don’t know, they may have).
I’m not really sure how to reply to this. I don’t see how it is possible to “calmly and lovingly spank” a child. Spanking = hitting = violence. There really is no alternative way to view this. A fist raised in anger is at least understandable, but a cold, calculated plan to deliberately hurt a small child in order to attempt to control their inconvenient behaviour is just abhorrent.
Controlling when a child is “allowed” to get out of bed is bizarre to me. Especially setting that time at 8am. I can understand parents of extremely early risers (eg 5am) doing something like this, with a get up time of 7am, but 8 seems quite late and unrealistic for a young child!
Restraining a child for their own safety in certain situations, in a car for example, is one thing. But that isn’t what these parents did. They got into a situation where the child was desperate for attention and they took drastic action, ie locking the child in his room while he screamed and hurt himself for very, very long periods of time. This IS abuse. It fits every definition. I am genuinely at a loss as to how anyone could view it otherwise. I cannot quite believe that you compared a small child to a mentally ill adult. You might be surprised by just how much small children do comprehend with a little time and effort taken to explain things to them. A child should not need locking away in order to keep them safe. The vast majority of parents never, ever feel the need to do this because children will not usually behave like this boy did. His behaviour did not arise out of nowhere and I am certain that there were other options available to these parents than the course they chose.
ps we have a clock in our daughter & son’s room (which they share). Our daughter knows she is not allowed out of bed until the clock says 8 am. This actually has led to her sleeping later, which is wonderful (she clearly needed more sleep than she was letting herself get).
I don’t think these parents were being abusive, really. Yes, they restrained their child. Should they have used a carseat?
And what was the result? Three days later– which were not fun for anyone– all three were sleeping well. I wouldn’t advocate the mama working outside the home with such a little fellow who needed her, but that isn’t very feminist of me, I know. 🙂