“I want to report a case of child abuse. My son is required to do too much homework?”What do you think? Reportable under the law?
To address this question, I looked for definitions of child abuse and found this description used by Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families: “Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect.” Most do not apply, but some of it does.
According to the State of Connecticut,
“Emotional abuse or maltreatment is the result of cruel or unconscionable acts and/or statements made, threatened to be made, or allowed to be made by the person responsible for the child's care that have a direct effect on the child.”
These statements constitute abuse when they affect, “… the child's psychological, cognitive, emotional and/or social well-being and functioning…”As a clinical psychologist, I have met countless parents who fight with their children over homework every night. Many of these kids have under-the-radar learning problems that keep them from finishing their work in a reasonable amount of time. They hear constant negativity as they move up the grades with demands that keep expanding beyond what they can do. The school asks the parents to join them in an effort to make their children comply (essentially, to gang up on their kids). The children rebel and are met with humiliation. They are forced to stay late for after school and weekend detentions. They often get excluded from afterschool activities and eventually get separated from the peer groups they truly need.
The State of Connecticut says that:
“Emotional abuse or maltreatment may result from [boldened for emphasis]:
- repeated negative acts or statements directed at the child
- exposure to repeated violent, brutal, or intimidating acts or statements among members of the household
- cruel or unusual actions used in the attempt to gain submission, enforce maximum control, or to modify the child's behavior
- rejection of the child.”
For more information on Dr. Goldberg's model, read other postings on this blog, visit his website, The Homework Trap, or read his book, The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers.