Monday, February 11, 2008

Not Really Sure About This

I just saw a news story about an eight-year-old boy who had misbehaved in school. As punishment, his mother made him stand outside the school, near the road, with a sign that said, "I was rude to my teacher" on one side and "I will make good choices" on the other. He did this for three hours.

Please don't get me wrong. I am beyond thrilled when I see any parent actually disciplining his or her child. Working in retail and volunteering at my own childrens' schools, I have seen the results of parents who think kids should never hear the word no. And I would call myself a fairly strict mom. I ground, I take away privileges, I say no to certain R-rated movies and M-rated video games. And, though I'm inviting censure from experts, as if they really read my blog-

Yes, I'm willing to admit it, internetz. Horrible creature that I am, I spanked my kids. But I did it in private. Haven't had to do it in years, though, which I think was the whole point, right?

I know that sometimes extreme parenting is called for. I'm reminded of a young African American man who stood up at some talk show and proudly announced that his mom beat him up and saved his life. He told the shocked crowd that when he was thirteen, his father had been gone for years, and the gang he started to hang out with reinforced the "ain't no woman gonna tell me what to do" machismo some teenage boys go through. This mamma told him he wasn't to go with those gang bangers, and he defied her. She had discussed the violence, the danger, etc., and he still defied her. One night when he was going out to them, she ran, jumped, and landed on him. She literally beat the crap out of him. Then she told him, "Now we're going to see your gang friends, and I'm going to watch while you tell them exactly who put this hurt on you." He was so embarrassed, and so shocked, he quit seeing the gang who was trying to recruit him. He's now in medical school, married, and has a good future.

But this boy who was rude to a teacher- he's eight. And I know he'll get over it; it wasn't that harsh, but it was humiliating. He should be disciplined, and made to apologize; but surely there was a way to handle that privately and net the same results, right?


Bernita said...

"He should be disciplined, and made to apologize; but surely there was a way to handle that privately and net the same results"


StarvingWriteNow said...

It seems young, but I suppose it depends--was it a first offense? Or is he a habitual snotrag rude boy that needed a reality check?

Robyn said...

I am all about punishing in private, Bernita.

If that was the case, Beth, I could see it. But nothing in the story said he was habitually snotrag rude- love that phrase! Neither did they say if the teacher was mini-Hitler; I've dealt with those, too.