Monthly Archives: August 2014

It’s never ok…

Standard

It’s never ok to physically threaten your child (or anyone else’s for that matter).

I’ve wondered for the last few hours if I should even write about this anywhere. I worry that someone might read it & recognise who I am writing about. That it might get back to them. That I might have to look over my shoulder…

What is the big deal?

I wasn’t prepared to stand by and say nothing as I watched a parent verbally and physically intimidate and threaten their child…

I was in a playground with a very trusted, much loved friend and our children playing nearby. For over an hour we had listened to shouted & screamed commands and watched arms grabbed & kids yanked or pushed about…

And then I watched a child already frightened, clearly distressed & sobbing, pushed to a seat and screamed at and heard the words “I am going to hurt you in a minute, don’t push me today”…

It’s never ok…

I asked the supervisory staff when they thought it appropriate to intervene, if it was acceptable to physically threaten a child. I was told they were monitoring the situation…

The parent doing the most aggressive shouting and being the most physically violent clocked that I had been watching, that I had spoken to the supervisors…

She asked if I had a problem.  I couldn’t turn away.  And in less than a heartbeat, I heard myself quietly say “Yes.”

In my mind, in my heart, the words: It’s never ok.

She turned her anger on me. What was my problem? What was I looking at? She marched towards me and shouted her confrontations in my face. My heart was pounding.  I honestly felt sick.  And all I could do was listen to my quiet voice saying “It’s not ok to physically threaten a child”…

More shouting “…It’s MY child, MINE not yours, MINE…I can do WHATEVER I LIKE!…”

And in spite of wanting to find my kids and run away, I stood there and that quiet voice again “It doesn’t work like that. It’s never ok..”

The supervisory staff stepped in between us and said what I believe should have been said to that parent from the outset “This isn’t ok here, this is a play area, there are children, you can’t do this here”.  Not ok to threaten me, to intimidate me.  Not ok to confront an adult ready to answer back.  He clearly felt that he had to intervene.  But a few minutes before they had all watched that behaviour, and physical aggression,  directed at the child.  Why?  It’s never ok…

More shouting. I found myself oddly calm saying that I was sorry if I had offended that parent by not agreeing with their parenting choices.

Then I sat down and shook like a leaf and pulled my youngest son close as he whispered to me that he felt frightened…

As we left, my eldest son told me that he had been worried that the parent might attack me and that he had been planning how he might help me if they did. He is too young to have to think that way. It’s never ok…

I told my children that I was sorry they felt scared. They said they were already scared of that other parent and that all the other children had already been watching. It’s never ok…

Please don’t think I am brave, nor a vigilante, nor that I make a habit of this sort of thing. Please don’t imagine that I sit in judgement and consider myself a perfect parent. I make my own mistakes. I lose my rag.  I get it wrong.  But I NEVER threaten my children physically. I have called my husband out for behaviour that I considered bullying and he is a very kind, gentle and deeply loving father. I called my parents out when I was a child myself and disliked the way they disciplined my brothers.  I have called myself out for shouting and have apologised to my children and told them how sorry I am, how much I love them and that it’s never ok…

There is a level of concern in my heart that I made it worse for that child, that the parent marched them home even angrier and took their anger at me out on their children.  That might be true.  But I hope that child also saw that, even briefly, someone was willing to stand up for them.  It matters that child knows that people care about them enough to speak up.  It matters that child knows that treatment is not normal, not acceptable, not ok…

It matters that parent knows that their behaviour is  not normal, is never ok…

Silence condones, it allows people to assume everything is alright.  I’ve walked away before and wished I’d had the courage to say something.

So today, I couldn’t say nothing.  I had to act, to say something, because every child matters.  I was not violent or aggressive.  I just stood there and used a quiet voice.  I was trying in some way to show that child love.  Because as a mother, I cannot do anything else.

It’s never ok to verbally intimidate someone until they cower in fear.

It’s never ok to assume that because someone did that to you, or you saw someone else doing it, you have a right to behave that way.

It’s never ok to treat your children as possessions. They are not yours, you were gifted and blessed with an opportunity for love and the chance to embrace life. Don’t assume that means you can say or do anything you like to them.

It’s never ok to stand by and not act in defence of our children or someone else’s.

This mindful thing, this parenting thing, this living your truth…it’s hard and it’s scary but it’s never ok to stop striving for love.

Shanti, shanti, shanti

OMx