Child Abuse

In America, 4-7 children die every day as a result of domestic abuse. Each year over 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States that involve over 6 million children. 70% of the children who die from abuse are under age 4. The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States in 2008 was $124 billion dollars. 30% of children who are abused will end up abusing their own children someday.

In 2012, 80% of abused children were victims of neglect, 18% were victims of physical abuse, 9% were victims of sexual abuse, 8% were victims of psychological abuse, 2% were victims of medical neglect, and 10% were abused in other ways. This list also reveals that abused children were frequently victims of more than one kind of abuse.

What does the Bible say about Child Abuse?

The Bible is clear that children are to honor/respect their parents and obey them.

Colossians 3:20 reads, “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”

Parents are to teach their children how to make good choices and to become responsible citizens. To this end, parents are to discipline their children, but that discipline should be founded in love.

Psalm 127:3 teaches that children are a heritage from the Lord.

Proverbs 22:15 states, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.” In verse 6 of this same chapter, Solomon provides general wisdom stating that when a child is trained in how to live, when he is older he will continue on that path.

Proverbs 13:24 reminds us that involved parents who love their children will discipline them. It states, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”

In Proverbs 29:15 parents are reminded that when children are not disciplined but allowed to do whatever they want, then the children bring shame to their families.

This being said, Ephesians 6:4 reminds parents that they are not to be so strict that they actually lead their children towards rebellion. The verse reads, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

This same phrase occurs in Colossians 3:21 where Paul writes, “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”

The Bible expects parents to act responsibly while raising their children. They should not neglect them or physically harm them. They should lovingly teach them how to be responsible human beings.

Parents should seek what is best for their children and not seek their destruction.

Proverbs 19:18 states, “Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.”

What can you do about it?

If you are a childcare provider or parent, regain control before disciplining a child. If you suspect child abuse, report it to your local Child Protective Services Agency. If you struggle with abusing children, seek help through mental health facilities, community centers, or local churches.

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