Overheard on CNN.com: What is child abuse?
William Adams says he did hit his daughter with a belt in 2004, but says he did nothing wrong.
November 3rd, 2011
05:23 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: What is child abuse?

A YouTube video of a Texas judge hitting his then-teenage daughter with a belt has sparked international outrage. Aransas County, Texas, Court-At-Law Judge William Adams faces a police investigation and a judicial probe, but he says he was disciplining his daughter and did nothing wrong.

Some CNN.com readers agreed with the judge and said spankings teach children right from wrong, but others argued that Adams went too far.

The story is generating an interesting debate on where the line is drawn between discipline and abuse. Here's a sampling of what readers had to say:

"He didn't do anything wrong. My mom whooped my ass just like that, and I'll be damned if I didn't straighten up my act after it," jholliday10 wrote. "Too many parents let their kids run over them these days because they don't believe in whooping. Kids don't care about being put in time out, it doesn't hurt and is only a slight inconvenience. Put a belt to that kid, I guarantee you he'll/she'll mind that and will think twice before repeating the same action. I vouch for it because it worked on me! And I wasn't the best kid growing up."

1soundmind said the video showed a spanking, not abuse. "I was spanked 'exactly' in this manner twice by my dad in my lifetime and it was not abuse.  I spanked my sons, now 21 and 23, in this exact manner maybe twice in their lifetimes, and it was a spanking. Anyone who thinks differently is contributing to this generation's 'out of control' youth who have never received a spanking in their life and walk all over teachers, elders and their own parents."

But DemFLA said that saying "This is how I was raised" doesn't excuse abuse.

"I never married because I thought I would 'do unto others as had been done to me,'" he said. "My dad beat and berated me on a daily basis until I was 17, at which point I finally kicked his butt and then went to join the Army. ... I missed out having kids because I truly thought I would do this, too," he said. "Lots of people say I'd make a great father, but I never wanted to chance that. All that jerk ever said to me was 'This is how I was raised' so I kinda thought I did not want to ever raise a child that way."

tvdtt said  "Discipline would have been depriving her of computer privileges for a time. Once he picked up a weapon (yes, the heavy belt is a weapon) and began striking her with it, discipline ceased and violent abuse began.  He is a criminal and should be treated as such."

"This is not punishment, it is just a beating," flonzy said. "This sort of thing does not teach children a thing except resentment against the parent. Look how well she learned that lesson - she just ruined her father as a judge."

Was this discipline or child abuse? Is it ever OK to hit a child, and if it is, how much is too much? Tell us what you think in the comments below, or go to CNN iReport and share your thoughts in a short video.


Filed under: Overheard on CNN.com • Uncategorized
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Tracy

    After watching the video i have to say I AGREE WITH THE JUDGE. The first place you learn how to follow the rule is at home mold children to become stable adules, This country is goven by laws. For every acting there is an equal action. Keep in mind what child entrap their parent by doing something you know will bring drama and video.WOW!

    November 5, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crystal

      i dont agree with this behavior for what the Judge did because when u use violence upon kids it doesnt discipline the just make them afraid of u and that is no use u want a closer relinship toward u kid i understand that some kids are hard headed but that doesnt mean u should use force just talk them and if that doesnt work try to use a different stradergy but not force you see if the guy just talk to her he wouldnt be in that sitution would he i dont think so

      January 3, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. KG

    I wish CNN would spend some time informing viewers of what DOES work when it comes to reprimanding children and teenagers. This is an even sadder story if this young woman really did want to drop out of college and still expected her father to pay her allowance and keep her Mercedes. Seven years ago her father was probably hoping to avoid this very kind of situation. Clearly his method – child abuse – did not work. I think parents today are going too easy on their kids, but we cannot allow our anger and frustration to ever reach this level that we are seeing on this video. So what does work?

    November 6, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bruce scott

    Children are usually lighter in weight and shorter than the adults around them. They did not come into this world to cause trouble, disturb others or feel disliked by those taller than them. I did not want my parents to be angry with me.
    I wanted them to play with me, hear me, be kind, affectionate, respectful and loving. Those moments meant the most to me. One time my father lost his temper and hit my legs with his belt. What for, I do not know. I did know that it was more about him than me. I cried in fear. He stopped. Sat down beside me and cried with me. He apologized.
    He saw who I was. I saw who he was.

    November 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. a

    Anyone who cares about this story, for or against it, is a waste of flesh. The whole point of the story was to get a rise out of people, and congratulations people, that's what happened. I lol'd. You should do the same. lulz

    November 7, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Anonanon

    The issue wasn't the physical discipline so much as it was the verbal/emotional abuse.

    It's clear from the use of expletives and threats that his intention was to intimidate and dominate his daughter. The goal then, was not disciplining her behavior, but rather cultivating her fear of him.

    November 8, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Angela

    It's never ok to hit a child

    October 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
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