Shaming Kids or Saving Their Lives?

When I was growing up, parents were parents and not friends (if you’re lucky, the friend part comes later). Parents saw to it that they raised adults, not perpetual children. We children of that time, learned our manners, our habits, our values, our responsibilities from our parents. There were definite consequences for misbehavior–the rules were consistent and when we got out of line, we were punished appropriately. I’m not talking spanking or being locked in a dark closet–I mean sensible, reasonable, ‘did you learn anything?’ type of punishment.

This seems to have gone out of favor these days. Parents who act like our parents did are constantly accused of being too mean, too bullying, too restrictive, and so on.

Personally, I applaud the following two mothers who refused to let their children get in trouble; Ms. Graham of Baltimore, MD, and Val Starks, Denver, CO mom, as outlined in the following quotes:

“In the video Ms. Graham is seen repeatedly hitting her child. The initial blows appear to be part of her effort to physically drag her son away from the [Baltimore, MD] rioting, which is certainly understandable…..Graham should be praised for being a caring parent with pure intentions. If more parents dragged their teens away from violence, the world would be a much more peaceful place.

A Denver mother’s (Val Starks) video on Facebook is going viral after she shamed her 13-year-old daughter [on Facebook] for posting racy pictures and saying she was 19 years old. “You’re 13,” the mother says to the girl. “So why does your Facebook page say that you are 19?!”

I’m sure that that young girl was embarrassed nearly to death by that, but I see a mom who would rather embarrass her child than have to identify her raped and brutalized body in a morgue.

We know that our brains do not fully develop until age 24; up til then, we can make some pretty stupid decisions. It is our parents who keep vigilant to keep us safe and who remember to be parents, not best friends. A child may have many friends, but only one set of parents.

When I was in grade school, there was a candy store right across the street; a huge temptation to us all. We were strictly told not to leave school property to go there or anywhere else. One day a girl not only went over there, but she stole candy. The owner reported her to her parents and to the principal. The principal took her by the hand, told her to keep her other hand open, displaying the candy she’d taken.

He walked her to each and every classroom, opened the door and explained that this is what a thief looked like. Harsh? By the standards of that time, it was right and just punishment. This was the ’50s, and parents raised adults, not entitled babies. If the child did something they knew was wrong, there was punishment–swift and effective. I don’t know if that girl ever stole again, but after seeing that I decided I would never steal anything, ever.

Maybe the next time a riot breaks out in Baltimore, that boy won’t be part of it, remembering how his mother literally slapped some sense into him. Perhaps that young girl will some day get over her embarrassment and anger at her mother, but live a long life.

God bless the parents who actually parent!

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