Defining The Line Between Discipline & Abuse


Fifty-six was the amount of time that I was able to stomach the altercation that transpired between Ray Rice and his fiancé, Janay. As I sat and watched the video on TMZ, I wasn’t shocked that another story of domestic abuse made the news.

In just twenty-seven seconds, Ray rendered her unconscious as he delivered one swift, left hook, punch to her face. She collapsed against the elevator rail and slid down to the floor. She didn’t move.

I should have stopped watching then, but I didn’t.

I continued to watch.

He pulled her lifeless body across the elevator and towards the door, with one shoe missing and her feet dragging behind her. Then, he dropped her face-first on the floor with a thud. I stopped watching. I was enraged!

I was angry for every victim across the nation who has seen the hand of abuse. I was angry at TMZ for exploiting the video. I was angry at Janay Rice for marrying him a month later on March 28. I was angry that she publicly lashed out towards his team and the media via Instagram, and sent the message to every child in the world that violence and abuse are “what true love is.”


Four is the age of Adrian Peterson’s son, whose body has been at the receiving end of a tree limb, a hand, and a belt, in just the four short years that he’s been alive.

I should have known better than to go researching the latest and hottest NFL trending topic on Twitter, but still, I began scrolling.

Tears filled my eyes before I even started typing. My heart was racing with anger. I knew not to read too many articles and to know when enough was enough. I was prepared, this time, I thought.

I continued to read and I continued to watch.

When I came across a few short lines, among millions of words, that left me fuming and speechless with fury, I wasn’t surprised. As he spoke with police, Peterson’s son said,

Daddy Peterson hit me on my face. There are a lot of belts in Daddy’s closet.

Then, he explains to his mother that Peterson “liked switches and belts” and has a “whipping room.”

I was enraged.

Yesterday, my daughter slipped and fell on the bathroom floor. Today, I am still upset at myself for not being more proactive in protecting her. That’s my job as her mom.

I cannot fathom disciplining my child in such a way that bruises, welts, and cuts, are left on her body. I would never intentionally inflict pain upon her at all.

To Adrian Peterson, though, that’s just the way of life. 

So, the NFL waited a day to announce their commencement with former White House official, Cynthia C. Hogan, until one day after Peterson delivered his preapproved and professionally articulated statement.

A strategic move in keeping a lid on the latest domestic violence hype and Charles Barkley helped defend a culture of abuse claiming,

Whipping — we do that all the time!

Making sure to allude that it’s not a big deal, but it is. 

5.3 Million

The average number of men, women, and children, who will remain or become victims of abuse or neglect by the end of this year is 5.3 million.

According to the US Department of Justice, 1,300,000 women and 835,000 men become victims of physical assault at the hands of their own lovers annually. Black women suffering at a rate of 35 percent higher than white women.

An estimated 686,000 children, in 2012, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, had newly confirmed counts of neglect or abuse — 80 percent of them at the hands of their own mothers or fathers.

Approximately 3 million reports are made annually, which include more than 6 million children.

But we all just continue to watch.

Meanwhile, CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman, an “expert” defines the line between discipline and abuse as a gray blur?!

We blame our upbringing and culture while pointing our fingers at the NFL and the law for what our own hands are doing.

There is a line.

If you are disciplining your child, you are reinforcing positive behaviors and instilling respect. When you cross the line of abuse, you’re not only hurting your children, you are teaching them that it is acceptable and natural to hurt other people.

All states’ laws permit the use of ‘reasonable’ corporal punishment; simultaneously, they all prohibit nonaccidentally inflicted serious injury. —Doriane Lambelet Coleman et al.

If hitting our children results in a culture of violence and long-term disorders due to trauma (e.g. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, racing thoughts, severe anxiety, aggressiveness, relationship issues, suicidal ideation, etc.), those are serious injuries.

If you took your fist and you punched it into the wall would it hurt you? Would you feel it? Yes. If you take a tree limb, belt or wooden spoon, and hit the wall as hard as you could would it hurt you? Would you feel it? No.

When your hands are hurting your child is bleeding and bruised— that is abuse.

That is the line.

As a parent, you draw the line and you do not cross it because you love and do not want to hurt your child.


One famous NFL player had to have a video go viral to get our attention. One is the number of people it takes to speak out and bring attention to important causes.

One is the age of my only daughter and the number of times I held her in my arms before I knew that I would fight to no end to protect her beyond measure for the rest of my life.

There is something to be said of our nation when more than 5 million of our own citizens are being abused and neglected, and we do nothing to rise together and change it.

That is until it’s the beginning of the football season and our favorite players start missing from the field.

15 thoughts on “Defining The Line Between Discipline & Abuse

  1. Awesome post. Grace, I totally agree with you and Marty. I truly believe that these athletes should be held to a higher standard… as well as politicians and other public officials. Our children look up to these athletes as “role models” and “icons” and the NFL and all other sports federations need to draw the line in the sand that no longer will children, women, or even animals be abused. By banning them from playing ever again with stiff fines (donated to domestic violence shelters), the message will then be relayed that abuse of any kind will not be tolerated. Thanks for this awesome post that raises awareness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes ma’am. So true. Perhaps what calls out to me most with the NFL angle are the words “role models.” “idols,” “heroes,” and “icons.”

      It makes you stop and wonder why our children are seeking their inspiration and guidance in empty titles like “running-back,” and “NFL player ____” instead of mom, dad, mother and father.

      And when I look at it that way, an NFL player should be held to the exact same standard as the father who makes my hamburger at McDonald’s.

      Because the minute we start setting that standard, abuse becoming a trending topic and justice only being served with a hashtag, we create the blur, not define the line.

      The line is simple and the same for all if we set it: NO MORE.


      • Amen!! I totally agree with you again. No one and nothing should be idolized but it happens too often in this world. Money, power, fame has become the standard that many reach for despite who they hurt to get there. Abuse of all kinds should never be acceptable and “No More” is the line we should set. I believe that “The Golden Rule” should be the standard that we all live by… to treat all the way that we want to be treated. So simple… but true. If we would all reach out to help others instead of hurt others, this world would be so much better. Many blessings to you Grace!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Being a former pro baseball,player, one who was violently abused by a father intent on stealing my life, athletes, the vast majority are not Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson.

    They are champions of the helpless and under privileged. It saddens me to see any abuse.

    It saddens me that winning has overcome decency and ethical behaviour, it is getting like politics. Money and power rule.

    Hopefully the fans will decide Ray rice will not have an opportunity to make millions on their team.

    NFL teams beware of the female fan and the DAD who is compassionate and ethical. There is much backlash coming for the team who thinks they need a running back at all costs.
    I live and support my daughter and three small grandkids from an addicts red abuse father,Mathis hits close to home for me.

    I never knew how my father could beat me so violently, so consistently so without any concern for me, a small child.

    I hold,Peterson more accountable since a four year old faces a giant.

    One sports announcer has come up with a solution. You make your living playing a violent sport and then use violence on anyone in unlicensed life. You lose the chance to ever play again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh how I wish that solution sounded effective! But the sport does not make the man anymore than a badge and a gun make an officer kill outside of the law.

      Sadly, violence is what we have made our culture. This was topic, these men, went viral because of the NBA’s status and fame.

      The truth is, it should’ve had our attention the entire time. Not because they are football players, but because we still find it unacceptable to abuse.

      The fact the media & people of this country made it about the occupation of choice and now the trend has ended & we’ve already moved on…

      Speaks loads!

      I’m glad there are good men in the world such as yourself who set the bar higher. ❤️


      • Sport or a career is what we do, not who we are.
        As with life and the nightly news, the horrific, the violent the abusive gets the ink,mother headlines.

        I could find many stories of fathers who give back to the community.

        There are numerous former NFL quarterbacks with kids who have diseases. Not hey have started foundations and give freely to those in need.

        They receive,little,publicity and as with loving kindness giving,mother seek no reward.

        Sports can be a platform, it is not who we are.

        An event or career does not make anyone, that is impermanent, fleeting and something we do not leave this planet with.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: 5 Million People| Defining the Lines of Child Abuse & Domestic Violence [Video] | Uncommon Graces

  4. Pingback: [Video] A Real Look at the Lines of Domestic Violence & Child Abuse | Uncommon Graces

  5. Reblogged this on Uncommon Graces and commented:

    A huge thanks to Elite Daily for publishing this article! Abuse, no matter if is to an adult or a child, is not acceptable! It’s about time that experts and the American people started defining that gray blur and start drawing the line!


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