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To Sam

Okay or wrong?

Hello! Sorry this is a very spur of the momment thing and I have no idea what I'm going to say but I just wondered if hitting  a child (I guess hitting hard enough so you bruise...if that helps? Sorry I'm not sure.)  with a shoe and belt, and constantly threatening to hurt them is considered wrong or abusive or basically if that is okay or not? I know I sound incredibly stupid either way, be it okay or not okay. But people today are always argueing whether it is disipline or wrong.

I know he (he being my Dad, who I already dislike) abused my mum. Not in front of us though, but I could sometimes hear her, or catch her cry. The only time I'd really seen him do something to her, and not just hear it, is when he threw something (I can't exactly remember what it was, sorry) and it made her eye bleed.

And my younger brother (who is two years younger) got it much worse than me, the hitting and insults, which I guess now makes me sound rather ungrateful considering I'm the one who is wondering about it in such depth.

But anyway, I know people get it so much worse than us, so I was just wondering this as a passing thought. One of my councellers suspect I get most of my terrible Social Anxiety from him (even though I havent told her any of this, as I didnt see it as important, but what she gathers from my great dislike for him.) and I've only just recently started to think about the way he is now.

Sorry I'm ranting on, I don't mean to! I was just thinking, and I know I come across awfully stupid so I am sorry.

Thanks, and I hope you don't think I am too annoying (I honestly dont mean to be, of course)  B

Ask Sam


Hi B,

Thanks for your letter.

I want you to know you have done really well to write down your thoughts and questions about the way things are with your dad. You don’t come across as stupid or annoying at all, you have shown a lot of courage to get in touch and I’m really happy to hear from you.

You have told me about your dad hitting you and your brother with a shoe or belt and that the hitting is hard enough to leave you with a bruise. I want you to know that it is not ok for anyone to hit you, that is called physical abuse which is wrong and it is not your fault that it happens.

You’ve also mentioned your dad threatening you and insulting your brother. Nobody is allowed to say things like that to you or your brother, threatening someone or insulting them is an example of emotional abuse which is also very wrong. You and your brother have a right to live somewhere that you can feel safe, happy and confident and it is important for you to know that you have not done anything wrong, but what is happening is wrong.

It sounds like your counsellor has some idea that you don’t have a good relationship with your dad and she wonders whether that could be part of the reason you have social anxiety. I’m wondering how it might feel to talk more to her about this. It’s good that you have the support of a counsellor who seems to understand a bit about the more difficult parts of your life, and it sounds like there are somethings that you have not been able to discuss with them yet. Telling her about this when you feel ready would be another important step forward. Writing this letter to me has been a big step forward too.

It sounds like you might have heard people discussing their opinions around physical abuse, some of them feel that disciplining a child in a physical way is OK but ChildLine believes that it is never ok to hit a child or young person. You can find out more about abuse and safety in the Explore section.

I would encourage you to think about talking to an adult in your life who you trust about this abuse. You can talk to a ChildLine counsellor who can support you and help you to consider your options, they will never pressure you to do anything or tell anyone before you feel ready.

Take care,


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