Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hitting: Always wrong

A downer post today. Head to yesterday’s post for pretty nature pictures. I’m doing a post every day this month, so I’ll probably be back to my regular nonsense and/or pretty pictures tomorrow.

I had a post half-written (OK, half written in my head, anyway), but this distracted me, and then made me watch in disgust, and then sickened and saddened me until there wasn’t room for anything else.

It’s a “father” -- a judge, no less -- hitting his 16-year-old repeatedly with a belt. Go watch it if you want to see it for yourself. I’m not posting the video here. The upshot: seven years ago, a child downloaded some stuff onto the family computer. Her father decided this was a good reason to beat the crap out of her, humiliate her, and demean her. Apparently, he’s continued the harassment, and/or she’s in the process of dealing or needed some leverage against him, so she just now shared it.

It’s sick. He’s sick.

And you know what? It’s sick when anyone hits a kid. For any reason.

At all.

I know this is over the top, even for people who endorse corporal punishment. I know some people have “planned spankings” and go to great pains to never do it out of anger. I know we’ve done it that way for ages. Heck, I was spanked for lying. I turned out OK. Most parents, spanking parents included, mean well.

To which I say, so the hell what? Matters of degrees don’t make “only a little assault” or “a small burglary” OK. We’ve been doing all kinds of things for ages that we eventually come to realize are bad, and we often muster up the integrity to stop doing those things. And as for the parents who mean well -- every medical study, every psychological study, every kind of study or observation done by anyone who’s not a psychopath; has concluded that spanking never solves the problem (even disobedience), and often makes things worse. And hitting to any large degree at all is abuse.

The judge wasn’t disciplining his daughter; he was beating up a kid. Congratulations, asshole.

Hitting other adults isn’t OK. Hitting children in schools isn’t OK. Children hitting other children isn’t OK. We need to stop hitting our own kids. It’s reprehensible. This guy is way more reprehensible, sure, but it’s sickening any time it happens.

Today, my son frustrated me. He refused to listen. When he did listen, he did the exact opposite of what I requested. He downloaded forbidden games onto my work computer, right after I stood in front of him and told him not to, for one. And the brattiness continued. Throughout the evening, he ignored me, moped when I tried to make him happy, and generally acted like a punk.

I wasn’t angry.

I was frustrated, sure. I probably didn’t handle it as well as I could have. And OK, maybe I was a little angry, if you want to call it that. But if anger is lashing out -- even wanting to lash out -- then no. If anger is using your displeasure to bludgeon the other person, literally or figuratively, then no. Never.

I want to make him obey sometimes, sure, but mostly I want to make him happy. I want to make him learn, and make him see things, and make him happy, and make him a responsible, compassionate, smart, ambitious man. (If you follow 99 percent of what I write about him, you'll see that this is usually the direction he chooses.) But you know what? I can’t make him any of these things. I can guide him. I can love him. I can’t force him. And I’ll never try.

If you ever feel anger toward a child -- real anger -- then, well, I would feel sorry for you, if I wasn’t busy feeling sad as hell for the kid. If you actually hit your child, my would-be sympathy goes out the window. Let’s all quit it. It’s wrong.


FireMom said... Best Blogger Tips

I feel ...

I've seen and read and witnessed a lot of crap over the years. My husband has come home with horrific stories.

But this...

This pushed me past some normal ledge of understanding. I am the one who always tries to find the good, who tries to have compassion. And I have none. Not a lick. (For the father, obviously.)

We're struggling -- mightily -- with our youngest and his surprisingly strong will as of late. But it involves a lot of time out, a lot of revoked privileges and a lot of talks about good choices, bad choices, consequences. It involves yelling now and then because, hell, I'm human.

But the thought of hitting my child -- any of them -- in that nature made me physically double over. I felt guilty for WEEKS for smacking his hand away from the grill once after I told him twice to stay back. I'm in the no hitting camp and I just can't understand his attempt at justification that it wasn't as bad as it looked. My mind just can't even go there.

Kim Hosey said... Best Blogger Tips

@FireMom: I want to hug you, and your whole family. I really get the strong-will battles, the occasional temper flare-ups (my son's and mine), and the guilt that lasts for days after I yell. It's messy, and imperfect, and damn difficult ... but I think we do it the best way there is. Love, and restraint. A whole heaping lot of both.

I can't imagine what kinds of things your husband has seen. Any harm to any child is heartbreaking. How someone could not only cause it, but willfully cause it, and then justify it ... I don't even know what that is. The intent to break her spirit was almost worse than the physical blows. I agree; I can't wrap my mind around it either.