Raising a child can be a large responsibility with a lot of hidden, unwritten rules that can be difficult to suss out. It’s hard to know the right decisions to make at a given moment. But a moment or continued moments of anger or lapse of judgment can not only have lasting effects on a child’s mental and emotional well-being but also land you in a lot of hot water with law enforcement.

When does disciplining a child become abuse in the eyes of the laws of Texas?

What is Defined as ‘Abuse’ in Texas?

Texas has clearly defined acts that are considered abuse regarding children written into the Texas Family Code;

● Any act that induces physical injury to a child, resulting in significant harm or making the child feel the threat of significant harm;
● Harming the mental or emotional well-being of a child, resulting in noticeable or substantial damage to their functioning development, physiology, or psychology
● Damaging a child’s physical, mental, or emotional well-being in a sexual manner or performing a sexual act upon a child, including but not limited to; sexual abuse, indecency, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault;
● Exposing a child to, or producing from a child, pornographic photographs, videos, and other sexually illicit depictions;
● Using certain controlled substances such as drugs or alcohol in a manner that results in physical, mental, or emotional trauma to a child, or allowing that child to imbibe in those certain controlled substances;

These are all examples of defined acts that would be seen as “child abuse” in a Texas court.

What is Considered Reasonable Discipline of a Child?

Every parent must decide what form of discipline their child needs. Some people are unable to discipline their children without resorting to forms of physical, mental, or emotional violence against them.

Within the Texas Penal Code, it states that violence against children in a non-deadly manner is legally allowed if both of the following are true;

● The person dealing out the force is the child’s parent, step-parent, grandparent, guardian, or someone with jurisdiction over the child
● The person dealing force on the child reasonably believes that such violence is needed to protect the child’s well-being or to discipline them.

What to Do if You Have Been Accused of Abusing a Child

If someone has accused you of causing a child significant physical, mental, or emotional harm through your own actions or through permitting a child to be placed in a situation in which they were harmed in such a way, it is time to turn to a lawyer. For help with this troubling situation, call our law firm at 469-423-8467.