Parental Abuse or Religious Indoctrination, which Interferes More with...

...with kids' attempts to build self-confidence?

The question assumes they both exist; they perhaps don't.

There are too many variables--the kids' health and ages when the abuse or indoctrination start, their relative harshness, do they reinforce each other, how long they continue, and more--so objectivity isn't possible. That's okay.

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Abuse of a child leaves unseen scars that never seem to heal. The physical damage may heal, but the emotional disruption results in altered brain development that does not. A culture that supports child abuse and that does not seek to stop it is diseased. 

I can agree with that 100%, Joan, and the basis for my agreement is my own experience as a kid.  The real shame is that, apart from maybe Dr. Spock and his book (which I doubt my parents even had), there wasn't a lot of genuine, professional guidance as to how to raise a kid 60 years ago, and I'd wager that there was a surfeit of: "my parents raised me this way and I turned out all right" going on.

And no, those scars don't heal.  There is anger and resentment and outright rage in me which I will likely carry for the rest of my life, no closure, no resolution, zip, and I know exactly where to point regarding how and from whom I got it.

Joan,

I agree....even some scars are too volatile to open up and perhaps best left closed.

Don't the two go hand in hand. Religion tells parents spare the rod spoil the child. I actually can't say that is in the bible but it's attributed to it. And other harmful things. An eye for an eye. Homosexuals? Ditto. But they never follow these verses to the end. Evangelicals cherry pick. I've found little of value in the bible.
And I still maintain that religion is the root of evil.

There can be a correlation between the two, Kathy, but it isn't perfect.  My father was religious, though hardly a fundamentalist.  He WAS an egotist and a martinet and utterly convinced of his own rectitude.  How much his dominance of his four children was a product of religion and how much came from how he was raised, I have no idea.

Religion may not be the birthplace of all bullies, but I have no doubt but that a fair number can cite it as a significant source.

Kathy I also agree with the correlations. Here are also a few of the biblical verses that say to use the rod:

"Those who spare the rod hate their children, but those who love them are diligent to discipline them." - Proverbs 13:24
"Folly is bound up in the heart of a boy, but the rod of discipline drives it far away." - Proverbs 22:15

That is just from my notes as it took me reading the bible 3 times to start my questioning.

Thanks Gary. I'm never good at recalling chapter and verse.

Gary S, those scriptures sound like child abuse to me, especially the last one.  It seems to me taking a rod to a boy does just the opposite of what it says.  I think it's counterproductive.

My guess is that parental abuse is worse than religion, even though I think religion is evil.

My parents were very loving and kind.  My dad was the kindest man I've ever known.  Never spanked us, never hit us, never threatened us, never swore at us, never said an unkind word to us.  My mother was almost that kind as well.  

They took us to church all the time where we were indoctrinated because they were also indoctrinated when they were young.  So far, I'm the only one to have broken-out of that indoctrination, and I can see the harm religion has done to me and my parents and 5 siblings, but from what I've seen from other people that had abuse from their parents, parental abuse seems to be worse than religion.

Spud, Your parents were wise to use non-violent means to raise you. I do agree, that even as gentle parents, they passed on their indoctrination to you and your siblings. 

Child abuse occurs in religious and non-religious families, in rich and poor, educated and uneducated families. There is no status in our culture that has no violence in child raising. When it occurs, it needs to be treated as abuse, not discipline. 

I'm glad you had such gentle parenting. It shows in your gentle nature. 

I think sometimes it depends on the culture the child is raised in. For example, some South American tribes put 12 years old through the coming of age rite by wearing gloves filled with bullet ants. Bullet ant stings is listed as the most painful sting known.  It would be child abuse if that was practiced here in America.

While the toughening of hands might be a necessary element of living in parts of South America, there are other means to that end which would not require what amounts to torture and abuse ... which is what that is.  Maybe those who practice it haven't thought in terms of alternatives, but the fact that it is abuse remains.

...Loren you are right, of course.

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