“You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, or drive a car. Hell, you need a license to catch a fish! But they'll let any butt reaming a*hole be a father”. That quote (from the movie Parenthood), comes back to me on a daily basis – who knew how dialed in it would be in the year 2014. I don’t know about you, but I can’t keep up with all the outrageous parenting stories I’ve been reading about lately. There’s Adrian Peterson and the “corporal punishment” debate, the shaming your kid method and making your kid drink until they are hospitalized.
I’m not sure what’s going on with parents and their abusive parenting methods, but they are just plain creepy and yes, I’m judging. I grew up in Texas, and the HS that I attended used “licks” as punishment, with a wooden paddle. Can you imagine that today? Your child comes home and tells you that the principle “hit” them? When I saw the Charles Barkley interview on CBS about Adrian Peterson, when he said, "I'm from the South, Whipping — we do that all the time. Every black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances." I agreed. It is a Southern thing but that doesn’t make it right. Sexual abuse happens too, doesn’t make it okay. There’s much debate about whether or not this is a racial thing– a geography thing, or just plain child abuse? I never think it’s okay to hit a child because it’s a form of torture and humiliation. What do we think is going to happen if we “hit” a child in order to get them to behave the way we want them to? Violence begets violence. I was never a fan of time-outs, in fact they are just stupid, but you have to find a way to reach your kid, without inflicting physical harm. It’s why the men that beat women (Ray Rice) do what they do. It’s how they were raised and it’s how they are going to raise their own kids. I don’t think Adrian Peterson thought he did anything wrong when he beat his son, because that’s what he knows. At what point does Adrian see that causing your child to have open wounds on his little body, isn’t right? If you grow up with limousines and caviar everyday, that’s how you think the rest of the world lives. If you grow up and your father beats you everyday, that’s how you think rest the world lives. You know what you grow up with.
How about when parents want to demonstrate their point, so they make their child stand at school, holding a sign with their punishment saying things like: “I hit my sister and I like hitting girls, or I’m a bully”. While some parents agree that this type of punishment is effective, I think it’s disgusting. What’s the goal? If you shame a child, how is that helping them? Some will argue that it’s the only way to get through to your kid when nothing else works, but I don’t believe they’ve tried everything else. Those parents should have to stand there with a sign saying, “I’m a bad parent and I like to shame my child”. Let’s see how they like it.
Did you read about the dad from Mississippi that caught his 15 year-old son drinking alcohol? He thought it would be a good idea to make him drink until he passed out. Apparently the boy wound up unconscious and in the emergency room. I just want to get in that dad’s head and understand what possessed him to practically kill his own kid in order to teach him a lesson. Does that make sense to you?
Unfortunately, we can’t hand out common sense when someone becomes a parent. Hopefully these incidents will gain enough attention that we start educating people on how far is too far. All these disciplinary measures are taken to excess. I might get my psychology license because there’s going to be a lot of kids on someone’s couch dealing with all their issues later in life. What say you? Email me at email@example.com.