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Tough Love or Abuse?

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Nov 22, 2002.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Grady Machnick, a Los Angeles County sheriff's sergeant, and his wife, an elementary school principal, are on trial <a href="http://www.latimes.com/templates/misc/printstory.jsp?slug=la%2Dme%2Dparents21nov21011422&section=%2Fnews%2Flocal">in an unusual child-endangerment case</a> that may force the justice system to define just where 'tough love' ends and criminal acts begin.

    They are charged with misdemeanor child endangerment and felony conspiracy for what authorities describe as premeditated psychological cruelty, for which they could face up to three years in prison.

    The Machnicks said that positive reinforcement failed to correct the behavior of Grady Machnick's son (now aged 16), so they decided to try more serious measures. When the boy failed to clean up after the dogs, Deborah Machnick placed dog feces in his backpack before he went to school. She also took nude photos of him and threatened to plaster them around the school. When the couple suspected their son of stealing cash from them, they forced him to leave the house at 4 a.m. and stay out until the afternoon. Deborah would give the boy additional homework and make him finish it outside. If he didn't, he had to sleep outdoors all night.

    In a holiday letter sent last year, the couple wrote, referring to their son, 'There are times when parenthood seems like nothing but feeding the mouth that bites you.' Deborah Machnick, who had recently earned a doctorate in education and was known at her school for her efforts at motivating students and boosting their self-esteem, has been moved to an administrative post where she now has no contact with children; while Grady, a supervisor at the Men's Central Jail in L.A., has been placed on unpaid leave.
  2. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    I find it distressing government tries to take over the parenting of children. I find it equally distressing some people are allowed to be parents in the first place.

    I have been a witness to horrible child abuse. I've also seen kids rebel and blame everything on their parents. I hope the police have a solid case, since they've taken this action.
  3. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Whoa. Good post!

    I was actually thinking that people will come in and start solely blaming the parents--and believe me, they should be blamed.

    But the child abuse laws scare the crap out of me.

    Remember that woman who beat the crap out of her kid in the parking lot? She has issues, she needs some therapy, but did she deserve for them to take away the kid?

    Now, I am sure I MUST have missed something in the whole video, but from what I've seen the beating was extreme but to an extent of taking away your bones and blood?

    I don't know folks, perhaps I am cold hearted, and uncaring male, but these laws remind me too much of the old country I cam from, if you will.
  4. RRedline

    RRedline Veteran MMember

    It sounds to me like the entire family has issues. The son is probably a real asshole, but I couldn't imagine doing the things those two parents did. If they were so desperate that they felt it necessary to do the things they did, they should have sought therapy.

    I have seen many families where the parents feed off of the children's angst, and the children feed off of the parents' frustrations. It's a perpetual cycle of abuse from both parents and children. If the child were only ten years old, I would place almost all of the blame on the parents. However, I am tired of people acting like sixteen year olds are little kids who need protected from everything. These young adults are mature enough to be trusted on our streets driving cars and almost old enough to join the military. Let's not assume that this boy is "just a victim of abuse."
  5. jamming

    jamming Banned

    We really don't know enough about this to pass judgement, it could be just as Rredline said or it could be something else. Since I deal with represent the children in court proceedings as a Guardian Ad Litum, it was a great surprise to me what some of these out of control kids were capable of. Parents are also taught that they should be able to control their child or they are not fit parents, sometimes the parents are overwhelmed. Not most of the time, but a significant number of times that it cannot be just assumed that it is all one way.
  6. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    Call me uneducated but I am seriously missing something here. The mother has a doctorate in education, the father is in law enforcement and yet neither one of them can find an alternative method to discipline an out-of-control child?

    What is wrong with this picture?

    They have no knowledge of agencies designed to help parents in these situations? Too proud, wilfull, arrogant, or stupid?

    The whole truth lies somewhere buried in this sad tale.
  7. jamming

    jamming Banned

    Probably too Proud, just as increduous as you are to their careers, think what they would have to admit to other or themselves about their own competance.
  8. mike

    mike mesmerized

    too proud, better than everyone else, or a multitude of other things, such as what their occupation demands of them-which they could not provide to their own...
  9. Coriolis

    Coriolis Bob's your uncle

    I don't know. There's got to be something seriously wrong with someone -- an adult no less -- to put dog shit in their kid's book bag and threaten to post nude pictures of him at his school (not only distasteful, but illegal, no?). That, to me, indicates serious coping problems and a good case of psychosis to boot. And, assuming this is all true, this is probably not the first time the mother, or father, has tried to use some radically messed up approach to enforce discipline.

    While it's true that the kid may be a bad apple (as was said by others, we don't know the whole story) but haven't we all argued here about how bad kids are generally a product of a screwed up home life? I wouldn't be so quick to blame the child in this case.
  10. LissaKay

    LissaKay Oh ... Really???

    Child abuse takes on many different faces. Most of us think of cruel and sadistic beatings when the topic is brought up. But bruises, cuts and scratches heal. But far more harmful and injurious is mental and emotional abuse. The wounds cannot be readily seen, the healing takes many, many years, if it ever occurs at all.

    My concern in this story is the harm that was done to this boy's self-esteem and the damage done to his relationship with his parents. The actions that were taken are sickening enough. But put yourself in this boy's place, in his mind. His parents, the very people that are supposed to love him unconditionally, protect him and defend him, they subjected him to humiliation, degradation and shame. Children should be able to trust their parents implicitly. When that trust is broken, it is difficult, if not impossible to repair.

    What lessons was this boy taught?
    "I didn't clean up after the dogs, so mom put dog poop in my backpack. Therefore, mom thinks I deserve shit."

    Not, "Gee, this is what I get when I don't clean up the yard." It's not a logical and natural consequence.

    Being forced to eat leftover food, banned from his home, and being treated like the family pariah is NOT discipline. It does not teach the child better or alternate behaviors. It only serves to create hostility, resentment and anger.

    The primary duty of every parent is to teach their children how to be successful, responsible adults. It's not an easy job and some children make it harder than others do. Some parents have better skills than others, some have more personal coping resources to deal with the tough times, or more imagination to come up with effective discipline techniques. But it can be done, and there are available resources to assist parents.

    Before anyone replies with, "You make it all seem so easy. Get with the real world." Let me tell you, I know what it is like to parent a difficult child. I also know first hand what happens to a child that is abused by a parent. I have seen the bruises, welts and scars. But those are gone. What lingers is the anger, hatred, distrust, damaged self-esteem, apathy and desire for self-destruction. I tried for years to rescue my son from a living hell created by his father and step-mother. But no one would listen. I had no witnesses to any physical abuse. It wasn't until his father took a garden hose and viciously beat my son where someone else could see it that the state finally stepped in and did something about it. But the damage was done, I am left to deal with the fallout, and my son will never be the same joyous, always laughing, gentle, sweet little boy that he was. He is now an angry, out of control, mistrustful and very troubled teen trying his damndest to crawl out of his pit of despair. Ask him about his father ... he will scream, "I hate him! I wish he was dead! I never ever want to see him again!"

    No ... on second thought, don't ask him that .......
  11. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Don't think anyone was, re-reading my post I can see how one can derive at that conclusion, but let me re-iterate that it's not the child to blame but the entire family. From the parents to one dumb kid who doesn't understand that rebelling that early will not get you anything but shit in your bagpack.

    My angle was a bit OT, as to how the abuse is looked upon by the government and perhaps not applicable in this case.

    It is late though, perhaps I will see a totally different post in the morning. ;)
  12. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    Ethics you're not serious with this comment, are you?

    The lady beat the little girl in the head - punched her full on in the face. When the little girl tried to get away, she grabbed her, pulled her back, restrained her, and kept hitting her. This was her punishment for talking in the store about a previus return or some shit like that - the woman turns out to be a freaking CRIMINAL, with a few alias'. How would you react if you caught your criminal wife punching one of your children at age 6 full on in the face? I'm pretty sure you'd never trust her alone with the kid again.
  13. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    Rredline , how normal do you think a person could be if they're brought up by someone that is so deranged as to put DOG SHIT in their child's bookbag and take nude photos of that child and then threaten to plaster them all over their school? How normal could a child be if they're taken out of their house at 4am, to sleep outside - and if they don't satisfy the twisted demands of their parents, they have to sleep outside the entire night????
  14. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    OMG, exactly Demi. You've put so eloquently into your post what I couldn't even come up with the right words.

    I'm sorry about your son (I remember the story too well), but you have first-hand knowledge of what mental abuse does to a child.

    It's like taking a brand new puppy, and beating him with broom while wearing a blakc jacket every day for months. When the dog is an adult, he's going to be a viscious and mean dog to anyone wearing a black jacket or carrying a broom - because that is what he's been taught.

    Passing around a family Christmas card basically stating how you hate your son and wish you never had him WILL screw up your child. Bet on that.
  15. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    Wait a second ethics - forgetting to clean up after your dog is not rebelling - it's being a kid.

    Not cleaning up your room isn't rebelling - it's being a kid.

    So then you're saying every time you didn't clean up your room as a kid, you were rebelling, right? Not "I had better things to do, like go out and ride bike with my friends" - you were totally rebelling against your parents, right?

    Am I the only one that sees how twisted these parents are??
  16. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    Twisted? They are nuts.
  17. BigDeputyDog

    BigDeputyDog Straight Shootin Admin Staff Member

    As the father of two children (one adult son who recently married, one teenage daughter who believes she is an adult), I am appalled by the actions of these two professional people. I am not a learned man with many initials after my name, but I know in my heart that what these people did was wrong.
    Parenthood is not an exact science, there is no definitive handbook for rearing a child. All good parents try their best to be fair and honest, loving and caring when it comes to raising their offspring. Good behavior must be rewarded while bad behavior must be punished, but abuse is not an acceptable method of punishment.
    All children are different. Some are very willing to please their parents by exhibiting good behavior and manners, while others are hellbent on displaying defiance and rebellion. However even the sweetest child can display a mean streak and the hellion can be very thoughtful and loving. The challenge is to raise these children to the best of our ability and hope that they turn out Okay
    I am a proponent of conscientiously applied corporal punishment administered with an equal dose of loss of privilege. Most situations when my children were younger could be handled with a time out, a loss of play time or a simple Go sit on your bed until I come talk to you. There were a few instances that called for an immediate application of my hand to their backside. This was never done in anger, nor with malice. One of the phrases I remember most from my dear departed mother was God made my hand to fit your butt and she test fitted it quite often.

    And yes, Misu not cleaning your room or picking up the dog crap can be a means of rebelling I know, Ive done it myself ;)

    BDD :{)
  18. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Well, I didn't exactly see the punch to the face, neither have you. No one did. They assumed it was to the face because quite frankly, no one saw the girl's face. She could have been hitting the back seat near the face but fine, if you think she was punching her to the face, then I agree, it was too far.

    A six year old throwing a full tantrum in a store can make people do some crazy things. I do not propagate that action, nor agree with it, but I do understand it, although I've never done it and would never think of doing it.
  19. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    If the punishment was dog shit in my school bag? Hell ya, I am rebelling.

    Look, if you know the punishment will be the wratch of dog poop, I doubt that bike ride with friends is looking anything great. ;)
  20. Misu

    Misu Hey, I saw that.

    Ethics, the point is the punishment shouldn't be poop in your bag. The point is that parents should never pass that fine line between discipline and abuse. The fact the mother had a Ph.D in child education (which means she took hundreds of hours of course work on child psychology) only goes to further show this woman was more prepared than the average parent who doesn't have the luxury of this type of education.

    This woman totally understands what her position as a mother and teacher means to a child, especially in the formative years. The fact she thought up these twisted punishements makes it even more incredible. We may not know all the details, but I'm willing to bet money that regardless of this kids' actions, his parents were going to react with something sick and twisted - a child is a product of their upbringing and environment (unless there is something mentally/emotionally wrong with the child - in which case the parents had the obligation to take him to the proper doctors and get him treatment).

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