“You ain’t really Black if yo’ momma ain’t beat you with the extension cord.”
We joke about it a lot, but how much of a role did spankings play in our lives? I could give you 101 stories about being disciplined from my childhood into adolescence and well into my adult life, but many of the parts would look something like one video that’s recently gone viral.
Bully's mom shows up to class unexpected & does thisWas she out of line?
Posted by Relatable Oddball on Saturday, February 6, 2016
Facebook was on fire with commentary this week when a video viewed with 215,000 shares and 12 million views captured a moment of public discipline from one mother and her daughter, a class bully. The mother is heard at the start of the video telling a class not to influence her daughter to do the wrong things although she is her own person and old enough to understand right and wrong. She instructs her daughter to address the girl she bullied and is struck in the face with a magazine when she doesn’t look directly at her. The mother goes on to speak to the class about keeping their hands to themselves and her daughter apologizes for her action. The page asks if the mother was out of line for showing up unexpected and reacting the way she did. Here was how Facebookers responded:
My daughter was bullied at school by four boys. The next day one of the mothers walked her son up to me BY THE NECK and made him apologize to me, she already had him apologize to my daughter, plus she listed the punishments he got at home. It was easy to forgive him because I knew his mama was taking care of it. Just like this mom. Fifteen years later they are still friends. The other three? Never even said a word! Good job Mom!
Heck NO! She wasn't out of line! She is nipping the problem in the bud and putting her in the position to learn how to empathize. In my day, some parents actually whipped their kids in front of the class if they got too out of hand.
Well sometimes, when a kid is really out of line, sometimes drastic measures must me [sic] taken, such as embarrassing your kid in front of her class. Sometimes that's the only thing that will get through to the child. ... handling it at home is all fine and good, but not always effective. Sometimes a kid needs to feel the shame of her actions in front of an audience in order to get a full understanding of the wrong she's done.
The only thing out of line about this is videoing and posting to social media. Now, that isn't right. The mother in this case did the absolute right thing. She not only taught her daughter a lesson, but surely everyone in that class learned something. Aaaaaand I loved how she clarified that the daughter could hit back if she were hit, so as not to invite possible kids to bully HER daughter. I give this mom an A+
This is clear and udder [sic] bullshit it's always black mothers that think this type of parenting is cool. You never ever see white parents doing that type of shit to their kids and if they do it isn't to the extreme that black parents do it. You guys are applauding when the mother insinuated that she would beat her in front of her class if she didn't do what she wanted her to do........now tell me isnt that a form of bullying in its self [sic]. She wonders where her daughter gets it from. It's cool if she beat her daughters ass at home and then made her apologize to the little girl that's one thing but the whole embarrassing her infront [sic] of the whole class thing is ridiculous hitting her with newspaper ridiculous coon shit. I'm black and I'm from Jamaica my parents used to kick my ass but never no dumb shit like this. I don't care what people say this is dumb s**t.
So, there’s mixed commentary, but the majority came to a consensus that the mother did the right thing and I do too. But the third comment did get me thinking about parents who resort to public embarrassment and appropriate forms of punishment when it comes to discipline. I believe that discipline serves a purpose, if done right, but publicly embarrassing a child sometimes creates a larger problem. Many feel parents nowadays are reverting to publicly shaming their children in the street or on social media simply because “beatings don’t work” and are ineffective. But does humiliating your child help?
For starts, I'm certain that the young lady in the video has learned to keep her hands to herself because she's well aware of her mother’s stance on bullying and the consequences that’ll come from it–mission accomplished–but publicly disciplining your child can create further rebellion, distrust and a broken relationship between parent and child. What distinguishes this video from the hundreds of others that highlight corporal punishment in Black culture though, is that how it’s done draws the line between “abuse” and strict discipline.
The mother not put her foot down on bullying and checked her daughter’s actions, but made the other students aware of the wrongdoing and consequences in putting your hands on someone else. As a parent, we hope that what we’re instilling in our children positively affects them in the long haul. This mother felt compelled to let her daughter feel the effects of karma by doing what was done to her. That’s a life lesson–what comes around, goes around or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Fear of her mother and the consequences that’ll be handed to her should she do wrong again is going to help her with self-respect and respecting others. Through the mother’s intolerance to bullying, she helps her child and she possibly saves the life of another student.
If public embarrassment isn’t your forte as a parent, Dr. Phil suggests parents make a commitment to their child’s discipline and help their children understand the consequences to certain behaviors. One TIME magazine piece offers a crash course for discipling children including withholding privileges and using non-negotiable arguments.
The conversation on appropriate forms of punishment was a hot topic just two years ago when NFL Player, Adrian Peterson, was charged with child abuse after beating his then 4-year-old son with a tree branch. The beating was administered after the boy pushed a sibling, causing cuts and bruises on his body, including his back and legs. Peterson would go on to take a plea deal that would reduce his felony charge to a misdemeanor for reckless assault, but he had the support of thousands of parents who were raised by the Bible or culturally by the belt. Some people will tell you in a heartbeat that spankings saved their life, and others will say that the alternatives to corporal punishment were more effective–either way, the parent has to be the one to set the example and correct their child as they see fit. No one knows a child better than their parent.
I will never judge a parent for how they choose to discipline their child now–no one knows what’s going on at home–but I do believe that just as we impose limitations on our kids in hopes that they learn boundaries and reverence, there should be limits in place for what’s an acceptable form of corporal punishment and what’s child abuse.
How do you discipline your child? Do you think the mom handled the situation appropriately?