Cultural Differences in Disciplining Children

TitleCultural Differences in Disciplining Children
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsLadenson, R
Corporate Authorsof Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, IIT
Date Published03/1997
PublisherCenter for the Study of Ethics in the Professions, Illinois Institute of Technology
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsDiversity , education , professional , professional responsibility , SOCIAL , Social Work
AbstractYou are a social worker in New York City. One morning you receive instructions to investigate a child protection situation involving a West Indian mother and her twelve year old daughter, living in a West Indian neighborhood in Brooklyn. The daughter has reported the mother. These are the facts so far as you can determine. The mother hit her daughter with a shoe several times, causing some minor bruises and a little swelling, because she discovered that the daughter spent time hanging out on the street rather than going to the library to study, which she told her mother she was going to do. Corporal punishment has been forbidden in the New York Public Schools for over thirty years. It is common in the West Indies, however, although parents generally are careful not to bruise their children or to hit them so hard that swelling occurs. The mother works fifty or more hours a week, and devotes twenty hours a week to a college program. The mother was worried that without corporal discipline her daughter might end up in trouble with the law in the streets. As is common among West Indian immigrant families, the mother came to the United States first, with her daughter following her years later. The daughter says she is resentful about being left behind, and feels she doesn't know her mother very well. Do you report the mother for child abuse? If so, why? If not, why not?
NotesCase from the March 6, 1997 Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. Copyright Robert Ladenson, Center for the Study of Ethics at the Illinois Institute of Technology, 1997.
Full Text