The now-infamous viral video of a fed-up father whipping his daughters for twerking has sparked an interesting discussion. While most argued over whether or not the father crossed the line that distinguishes discipline from abuse, positive responses (and there were many) claiming the father “did the right thing” made me question the logic behind being comfortable with man beating his daughter, but not his girlfriend.
Rock with me.
As a parent, I understand the frustrations many of us feel when we are attempting to mold our children into respectful, positive, and happy little beings. We want them to listen to what we say, and execute our demands…without any backtalk or negative attitudes. But unless you are blessed with a super agreeable child, or a robot, this idealistic view of parenting rarely occurs.
The truth is, kids are fully formed human beings with their own personalities, frustrations, and opinions. And while many of us have been taught to squash their little points of view when they do not mesh with our own (after all, the parent is THE boss, right?), the reality is our methods of discipline do not always garner the desired results.
Moreover, for many black parents, far too often our default method of getting kids in line—“whoppings”—trade temporary results for permanent trauma.
And before I go any further, I know someone is going to say, “But I was whooped and I turned out fine.” While this may be true, the fact that you survived being spanked (at best) or outright beaten (at worst) by your parents does not make it right.
I will admit; my views on corporal punishment have evolved. When my son was little I was sure that I would spank him, just as I was spanked, when he stepped out of line. But after actually hitting him with a belt a few times and realizing that 1) I hated it, 2) it was super ineffective, 3) it just made him angrier, and 4) it was useless unless I wanted to actually beat him, hitting my kid wasn’t the most effective way to correct his behavior. Never mind that the practice is totally humiliating, it sends him a mixed message about using violence to get what he wants.
Which brings me back to the video.
While many people cheered this father on for “disciplining” his daughters, these same folks would be horrified (I hope) had a the same man been caught on tape beating his wife or girlfriend in the same way.
But, why? What makes it ok for a father to wail on his daughter, but not his wife?
Shouldn’t our significant others and spouses respect us? Shouldn’t they listen to what we have to say, especially when we only have their best interests in mind? What if they just tune us out when we try to talk?
Most people would agree that hitting a spouse or a lover is universally wrong, and using your hands to solve an issue with someone you love is never the answer.
Unless they are parents; then it’s just discipline, right?