Child abuse in regards to Dungeons and Dragons IRL, how should such things be handled.

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lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
@GreyLord

Thank you for sharing what must have been a difficult story. I can certainly sympathize; as I have related before, I run games for teens on occasion (always with the goal of having them run the games on their own, because, despite my occasional frequent posting here, I do have a lot of other stuff I am doing!).

So far, I have been exceptionally lucky in that the parents in my community think that D&D is amazing; they have a recollection that the people that played D&D were "nerds" and ended up doing pretty well in life. More importantly, they appreciate anything that gets their children reading, writing, doing math, and talking to each other without electronics. In a way, it's almost like an academic enrichment for them .... you know, sports and band and piano lessons and D&D.

Regarding your particular situation, however, I would say that this does not constitute child abuse (not in America). If the child is being cared for (fed, sheltered, not physically beaten), then the manner in which they are being raised is completely up to the parents.

For better or worse (this is a matter of opinion) parents are largely allowed to raise children as they see fit. Just as religious parents can't stop you from allowing your own children to play D&D, you can't stop religious parents from keeping their kids from playing D&D (or trick or treating, or so on).

Your options are fairly limited. You can, and should, support the kids to the extent they come. If you believe it necessary and are willing to put yourself out there, you can have a respectful conversation with the parents and explain why your game would be a positive - even invite them to watch a game, if they want.* Other than that, hope for the best.


*Given your strong opinions, this may not be advisable.
 

S'mon

Legend
Point is, you don't ever want to rock the boat of a family dynamic, even if you personally don't agree with it or don't see any danger. That way leads to big trouble for you, including but not limited to to restraining orders, arrests, and civil suits. Not to mention the horrible position you're putting the kids into. You're literally setting them up for failure, because they have to live with their parents, you don't. So each time you encourage them to break the rules, they are the ones who have to suffer the consequences, not you.
Yes.

You remember Robin Williams in Dead Poet's Society? Don't be that guy. No matter how much Hollywood valorises him. Thanks to him, there was a boy dead at the end of the film. Don't be that guy.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
The kid has told you he can't play with your group. The parents made it clear their kids can not play with your group. So ban the kids from your table. And not even close to child abuse.
My rules, which I tell parent(s) who drop off kids, is the kids must maintain a C average to play at my table.

edit to add
This comes about from two incidents long ago. 1. Had a neighborhood kid who was dropping in to all our games. Parents said he had to maintain a B average. He got so involved with playing with us and creating pcs his gpa dropped to D but he changed his report card for 2 six weeks. Glad I was not the home owner when they came calling. 2. Fellow college student GPA when down 1 when they started playing. We started asking did he do his work before playing before deciding they were an adult.
 
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5ekyu

Adventurer
I would strongly suggest not gunning up like that. Not only is it highly unfriendly, you could end up with a counter accusation of kidnapping - which is one of the reasons you should not entertain minors in your home without having spoken with their parents directly - and this whole thing can escalate in a hurry.
My point was to speak to an attorney as a defense, not gunning ip.

These adults have gotten involved inbetween parents and children and a subject of content is involved. They describe the parents in rather serious ways. Before talking or interacting further I would touch base with an attorney and likely get told "stay out of it".
 

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
I hope you don't inflict the nightmare that is being investigated by Child Protective Services on that family over them not wanting the kid to play D&D. You could well destroy that family by doing that.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
As a filler in so people know what was done at the time...

None of us did anything at the time. We were more stunned than anything else. This WAS a PUBLIC venue...anyone can come play in the game, watch, or not.

The language the parents used and tossed at us and others could be considered abusive, and even towards adults would probably be considered harassment and enough for charges in and of themselves.

That they used this towards their children is concerning. That said, we did not do anything. We were more stunned than anything else.

The kid had come because he did not want to suddenly disappear for no reason I suppose. He wanted a chance to explain (more to the other people at the table than I) about him not being able to come anymore.

It was afterwards I started to get a tad angry at what occurred, as well as thinking these things may actually be abuse. We tend to try to forgive our parents of a LOT of things, but looking at things if done to us as adults...and what would be crimes against us starts to seep in.

If I had saved for months (let's see, this kid got some allowance, at $5 a week, just for the PHB we are talking around 2 and half months, plus another few weeks for the other books, we are looking at 4-5 months worth, he personally saved for that and spent HIS money he had saved) for something and then someone TOOK that item from me and destroyed it....I'd call that theft and destruction of property. As an adult with my monthly money that would be far greater than a felony or Grand Theft.

Not giving any recompense, and then suddenly cutting me off from my friends...not a crime per se...depending on how it was accomplished.

That said, I've done nothing, but I know people here have gone through things like this. Looking back it really did seem abusive to me. If I had parents yelling at me, destroying my stuff, and threatening to kick me or my relatives out of their homes...it just felt like abuse to me. I don't know if you've ever had that feeling when someone is around of something going on...looking back on it I got that feeling. Like something just isn't right.

If they were willing to act like this in public towards their children, it also raises the idea...where there's smoke...in many cases there is fire.

The type of abuse it would seem to be is not the physical type, but what people call Emotional Abuse.

from signs of child abuse

Emotional abuse
Emotional abuse happens when people consistently say things and behave in a way that conveys to the child that they are inadequate, unloved, worthless, or only valued as far as the other person's needs are concerned.
This can have a profound, long-term impact on the child.
Examples include:
  • not allowing children to express their views and opinions
  • ridiculing what they say
  • silencing them
  • frequently shouting at or threatening them
  • mocking the way they are or how they try to communicate
  • giving a child the "silent treatment" as a punishment
  • limiting physical contact
  • telling them they are "no good" or "a mistake"
  • preventing normal social interaction with peers and others
  • ill-treating another person in front of the child for example, through domestic violence
  • bullying, including online bullying
  • "emotional blackmail"
All types of maltreatment will include some level of emotional abuse, but it can also occur on its own.
Signs of emotional abuse
Some of these signs may indicate that a child is experiencing emotional abuse:
  • appearing withdrawn, anxious, or afraid
  • showing extremes in behavior, for example, compliance, passivity, or aggressiveness
  • lack of attachment to parent or caregiver
  • age-inappropriate behavior, for example, sucking a thumb
That said, I have done nothing on this currently. Except for our stunned silence at what we were seeing and watching, none of the group have done anything. We didn't know these kids except for when they came to our group and gamed on Sundays.

We've never had anything like this happen before in this group. However, I haven't called CPS or taken any other actions so no one in the thread has to worry that I've gone that far as of this posting. I didn't quite know how to react at the time, though looking back at it now, with how aggressive the parents were part of me wished I had simply gotten up and punched them to let them know I wasn't a child and if they WANTED a Fight, I'd give them the fight that they seemed to so want by egging us on. Even without the child there, there's a certain type of behavior you have towards others in public, and egging them on to a fight is normally not one of them. Then again, with children, youth, and others present I probably still wouldn't as that would be an inappropriate example for them. Part of me wished I had done that though.

As I said, we didn't do anything. We didn't even really speak. We were just stunned and sat there watching it and listening. I still haven't taken any actions over it.

The incident DOES highly bother me though. Perhaps I am wrong, but it really sounded and feels like abuse to me. How can a parent simply take something someone has worked that hard for for months, destroy it for no good reason without returning any money or recompense of any kind, isolate them from some friends, and we call it good?

Maybe I am oversensitive on this stuff and my exposure to this has been light. If this is the light stuff, I imagine heavier stuff would just enrage me.
 

Parmandur

Legend
As a filler in so people know what was done at the time...

None of us did anything at the time. We were more stunned than anything else. This WAS a PUBLIC venue...anyone can come play in the game, watch, or not.

The language the parents used and tossed at us and others could be considered abusive, and even towards adults would probably be considered harassment and enough for charges in and of themselves.

That they used this towards their children is concerning. That said, we did not do anything. We were more stunned than anything else.

The kid had come because he did not want to suddenly disappear for no reason I suppose. He wanted a chance to explain (more to the other people at the table than I) about him not being able to come anymore.

It was afterwards I started to get a tad angry at what occurred, as well as thinking these things may actually be abuse. We tend to try to forgive our parents of a LOT of things, but looking at things if done to us as adults...and what would be crimes against us starts to seep in.

If I had saved for months (let's see, this kid got some allowance, at $5 a week, just for the PHB we are talking around 2 and half months, plus another few weeks for the other books, we are looking at 4-5 months worth, he personally saved for that and spent HIS money he had saved) for something and then someone TOOK that item from me and destroyed it....I'd call that theft and destruction of property. As an adult with my monthly money that would be far greater than a felony or Grand Theft.

Not giving any recompense, and then suddenly cutting me off from my friends...not a crime per se...depending on how it was accomplished.

That said, I've done nothing, but I know people here have gone through things like this. Looking back it really did seem abusive to me. If I had parents yelling at me, destroying my stuff, and threatening to kick me or my relatives out of their homes...it just felt like abuse to me. I don't know if you've ever had that feeling when someone is around of something going on...looking back on it I got that feeling. Like something just isn't right.

If they were willing to act like this in public towards their children, it also raises the idea...where there's smoke...in many cases there is fire.

The type of abuse it would seem to be is not the physical type, but what people call Emotional Abuse.

from signs of child abuse



That said, I have done nothing on this currently. Except for our stunned silence at what we were seeing and watching, none of the group have done anything. We didn't know these kids except for when they came to our group and gamed on Sundays.

We've never had anything like this happen before in this group. However, I haven't called CPS or taken any other actions so no one in the thread has to worry that I've gone that far as of this posting. I didn't quite know how to react at the time, though looking back at it now, with how aggressive the parents were part of me wished I had simply gotten up and punched them to let them know I wasn't a child and if they WANTED a Fight, I'd give them the fight that they seemed to so want by egging us on. Even without the child there, there's a certain type of behavior you have towards others in public, and egging them on to a fight is normally not one of them. Then again, with children, youth, and others present I probably still wouldn't as that would be an inappropriate example for them. Part of me wished I had done that though.

As I said, we didn't do anything. We didn't even really speak. We were just stunned and sat there watching it and listening. I still haven't taken any actions over it.

The incident DOES highly bother me though. Perhaps I am wrong, but it really sounded and feels like abuse to me. How can a parent simply take something someone has worked that hard for for months, destroy it for no good reason without returning any money or recompense of any kind, isolate them from some friends, and we call it good?

Maybe I am oversensitive on this stuff and my exposure to this has been light. If this is the light stuff, I imagine heavier stuff would just enrage me.
Yeah, emotional abuse can be way, way worse than what little you are describing. As stated by others here, 12 year olds do not have property rights, legally the parents destroyed their own property. And chastising people viewed as threats to their children might be kooky, but nothing to be done.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
Yeah, emotional abuse can be way, way worse than what little you are describing. As stated by others here, 12 year olds do not have property rights, legally the parents destroyed their own property. And chastising people viewed as threats to their children might be kooky, but nothing to be done.
Where are people getting the idea that the property of kids is the property of the parents? Because I'm not so sure...
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
None of us did anything at the time. We were more stunned than anything else. This WAS a PUBLIC venue...anyone can come play in the game, watch, or not.
Yep. Chewing kids out in public isn't usually considered prime parenting, but it happens.

The language the parents used and tossed at us and others could be considered abusive, and even towards adults would probably be considered harassment and enough for charges in and of themselves.
Okay, here's a thing that lots of folks on EN World don't get - you typically need repeated or extended instances, establishing a pattern, to be considered harassment. F'rex, saying one annoying thing to you here on EN World isn't harassment. Following you into several threads, and doing that same thing may be so.

It was afterwards I started to get a tad angry at what occurred, as well as thinking these things may actually be abuse. We tend to try to forgive our parents of a LOT of things, but looking at things if done to us as adults...and what would be crimes against us starts to seep in.
Except, when they are totally not. Taking the property of an adult is theft. Taking a thing your dependent child considers their property is not. I know you probably get this, but it bears stating - the relationship between parent and child is not like the relationship between two adults - a parent has rights over their child that would not be legal to exercise over another adults without their consent.
 

S'mon

Legend
Where are people getting the idea that the property of kids is the property of the parents? Because I'm not so sure...
Well that blog post is discussing it in the case of two divorced parents fighting over their rights over the child! Which messes it up especially as the courts may tend to see the mother as the 'real owner' of the child.

There are circumstances where children can legally truly own property, but that doesn't mean a child who buys an RPG book with their pocket money 'owns' that book vs the parent. In English Law (which US Contract Law derives from, except in Louisiana I think) a child cannot enter into a Contract for non-necessaries, so technically when a 12 year old buys a book from the FLGS, they're not 'really' buying it! So who owns the book? 'Ownership' can be a fuzzy concept.

Anyway in practice a court is not going to stop a parent taking books away from their child.
 

S'mon

Legend
The incident DOES highly bother me though. Perhaps I am wrong, but it really sounded and feels like abuse to me. How can a parent simply take something someone has worked that hard for for months, destroy it for no good reason without returning any money or recompense of any kind, isolate them from some friends, and we call it good?
Pretty sure everyone here is calling it bad. Bad =/= illegal. Parents have wide latitude to be bad parents. Because, to paraphrase Churchill on democracy, parents are the worst possible people to raise a child - except for all the others.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Whether or not a child can have property rights- and at what age- probably varies from state to state. However, one should not assume that just because a kid possesses something that they actually own it. It could be the legal property of the parents, who then give the child conditional permission to use it.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
The language the parents used and tossed at us and others could be considered abusive, and even towards adults would probably be considered harassment and enough for charges in and of themselves.
This part really stands out to me even more than the rest. Are you arguing that someone who says something you don't like or are offended by is grounds for arrest? Even between adults? Seriously?

You might have a problem running into a thing called the 1st amendment with having a government official arrest someone for calling you a sinner/loser/bad person/whatever. With what you described, there is nothing remotely coming close to being illegal there.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Are you arguing that someone who says something you don't like or are offended by is grounds for arrest? Even between adults? Seriously?
It can happen, but it’s a high, high hurdle.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
It can happen, but it’s a high, high hurdle.
I know not every type of speech is protected, but what he's arguing would essentially remove the right for people to protest, as literally every protest would be grounds for charges because things said at every protest, someone finds offensive. And things said during protests are much worse than what he described in the OP.

There's a big difference between sustained harassment, and having different views on the world. Even if the other person is wrong. Being wrong isn't a crime.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I know not every type of speech is protected, but what he's arguing would essentially remove the right for people to protest, as literally every protest would be grounds for charges because things said at every protest, someone finds offensive. And things said during protests are much worse than what he described in the OP.
With respect, we don't actually know what was said. If it contained threats, for example, it could be actionable.

And, let us not overstate things - some countries in Europe have Hate Speech laws, for example, where some offensive statements are legally actionable, but people there still have effective protests.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
I know not every type of speech is protected, but what he's arguing would essentially remove the right for people to protest, as literally every protest would be grounds for charges because things said at every protest, someone finds offensive. And things said during protests are much worse than what he described in the OP.

There's a big difference between sustained harassment, and having different views on the world. Even if the other person is wrong. Being wrong isn't a crime.
Context & details matter.

Right now, there’s a guy in jail for making terroristic threats. He made a shooting a gun gesture at someone during a heated discussion.

We’ll find out how this shakes out if/when it goes to court.

Calling someone a satanist might not seem like much, but in certain places, that might be akin to putting them in someone’s crosshairs. The hosts of Top Gear got run out of a town it the USA’s Deep South for having cars painted with pro-Hillary and pro-LGBT slogans.

An accused satanist in a similar region might be at a greatly increased risk of bodily harm.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Context & details matter.

Right now, there’s a guy in jail for making terroristic threats. He made a shooting a gun gesture at someone during a heated discussion.

We’ll find out how this shakes out if/when it goes to court.

Calling someone a satanist might not seem like much, but in certain places, that might be akin to putting them in someone’s crosshairs. The hosts of Top Gear got run out of a town it the USA’s Deep South for having cars painted with pro-Hillary and pro-LGBT slogans.

An accused satanist in a similar region might be at a greatly increased risk of bodily harm.
They didn't get run out of town. The producers edited that to make it much worse than it was. They were driving around all day before finally someone at a gas station confronted them. Also, risking confrontation doesn't mean you can be arrested for it. In order for the analogy to be apt to what he's been arguing, the police would have arrested Jeremy and Co. They did not.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
I wasn’t comparing the Top Gear crew to the Americans. I was comparing the folks at the gas station to the people who called the OP a satanist.

In that TG episode, the gas station manager “calls the boys” on the TG presenters in response to their jokey slogans. That call was “incitement to riot”, unprotected speech publicly calling for someone to harm another.

(See also the South American special where the crew was pelted by eggs, rocks and bricks over a perception they were being provocative about the Falklands conflict.)

Similarly, publicly calling someone a satanist in certain communities could be an incitement to riot*. We can’t know for sure, of course, not having been given a location. But neither can we dismiss this in an offhand way as “merely offensive”. Nor can we hyperbolically expand the tension here between free speech and safety beyond the confines of this encounter. We simply don’t have enough to go on.



* not probable, but possible
 
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