There are some parts of the world where community child rearing is a common practice. Where the guardians of another family can, and would be reasonably be expected to, discipline the children of another, were they to behave in some socially unacceptable fashion for the culture in question. In fact, in some of these cultures, should the parents of the disciplined children ever find out, the other parents/guardians, etc would get an apology, and kids would be disciplined again once they got home for disgracing the family in public.
The US of A, however, is not such a culture, which is a fact which seems to have completely escaped the subject of today’s post. I’d like to introduce you to Mr Roger Stevens:
This man, took it upon himself to silence a crying, two year old girl, Paige, daughter of Sonya Matthews, at a local Wally World, in a rather unusual way. By slapping her across the face. Not once, but several times. Now it doesn’t take a genius to realize that if a complete stranger walks up to a kid and starts smacking them around, the complete opposite will occur. The kid should be reasonably be expected to actually get louder. Not quieter. A fact which apparently seemed to have completely escaped captain sourpuss over here, since he then tells the mother “See, I told you I would shut her up!”. No, really. The police report is below if you don’t believe me. What an absolute moron…
HOWEVER, it must be said, that Mr Dourface is not the only one at fault here. His actions were absolutely despicable, but, there is yet another person who was, at least partially at fault, for this incident. Paige’s mother, Sonya Matthews. I have said on many occasions how I see so many parents let thier kids get away with murder, and as much as I hate the circumstances that lead to the ridiculous events of this case, this is no exception.
We do not see anything in the report about what happened between the first time Mr. Stephens accosted Ms. Matthews, and the point at which Mr Stephens apparently lost it, but my question is, why was she not held accountable for her childs behavior? It seems like parents nowadays simply allow their children to do whatever they want. I have seen many, well behaved two year olds. Well perhaps not exactly “well behaved” but much better managed.
But they are not “impossible” to train, and there are numerous excellent printed and Internet guides for dealing with the “Terrible Twos” and lots of strategies for dealing with temper tantrums, crying fits, stubbornness, etc. But what I see are parents taking the easy way out. Letting them do whatever they want. Ignoring them, etc. And before any parent starts dropping the “Parenting isn’t easy” line, I must remind you that (in most cases, anyway) it was *your* choice to have kids, or to engage in activities that could result in having kids.
You cannot turn around after the fact and use it’s difficulty as an excuse to burden everyone else with the consequences. You should have thought of that before you decided to take your little roll in the hay. But once that baby pops out, It is YOUR responsibility, as a parent, to avoid imposing the difficulties of parent hood on society at large. And as much as I despise people like Mr Stephens, he did *not* deserve to have to sit there and listen to someone else’s kid wailing who knows how loud, and for how long, and probably giving him a migraine, just because Ms. Matthews did not or could not, figure out a way to quiet her child down.
I have often gotten flack for stating that childbearing should be considered a privilege. A privilege that not everyone deserves. I would almost go so far as to say if there was a way to do so without it being abused, parents should be legally be REQUIRED to at least take classes to help them understand how important raising a child is, learn the responsibilities they take on when they do so, and ways to handle the problems, like these, that invariably occur in the child rearing process.
There is no formula that works for every child, but if parents had more options, more training, perhaps a better understanding of what is happening and how to handle it, incidents like these could be avoided, and more importantly, society would be better off, because we would be raising more well adjusted kids.