Sunday, April 26, 2009

So help me, I will turn this car RIGHT around

I don't know any of the real particulars of the New York mom who got so irritated with her kids she put em outta the car, and ended up arrested.

And I really can't remember for sure if that's something my parents did to me and ChefBabyBrother.

But that's kinda the point: I don't remember.

It certainly SOUNDS like something they woulda done -- and maybe they did -- but if they did, I must not have been too irreparably scarred.

I had a fairly typical 1970s Southern childhood, which means I occasionally got spanked; my mouth got smacked on multiple occasions; and Yes, voices were raised. There were no "time outs." My Dad didn't hit us -- he was what we called "a Shaker" -- people used to get confused as to how that could've referred to his religious orientation, but we just meant he LITERALLY shook us. Luckily it was long after we were babies or he might've accidentally scrambled our brains. But there wasn't a lotta research on that back then.

We also rode without car seats and weren't even forced into seatbelts til maybe 6 or 7, which we bitterly whined about.We even ate potato salad that had been out in the sun and holiday turkey that sat on the table unrefrigerated all day. Sure, it was a kinda stupid time. But most of us survived.Maybe not everybody, but something's gotta cull the herd. That's Darwin.

I would never hit a kid today any more than I would allow a child to drink a Coke. It isn't the current style of child-raising -- and that's fine -- but the word "abuse" got way too fashionable and liberally applied sometime around the 80s and seems to continue.

People lost their minds when Alec Baldwin got caught on tape calling his daughter a Pig. Admittedly, Not Nice. But MAN, that is SO the least of what I periodically got called growing up. Everybody got in on the Act -- parents, Nuns, teachers -- whatever. It didn't end up in the News (though I'm sure I sent out MULTIPLE press releases -- to absolutely no avail). Apparently, I just needed an Agent.

There was a good amount of arguing, but there was NOT a lot of room for debate -- despite my carefully crafted pie charts and presentations artfully crafted to educate my parents as to the ignorance of their ways -- designed to PROVE I was RIGHT and they were WRONG.They were SO not interested.

It was a dictatorship. They were NOT our friends.It wasn't a flawless system, but by and large, it worked.

Nowwwww, I should also say, I was a Researcher in criminal justice for YEARS before I ended up at my current gig. So I would never, ever trivialize or minimize abuse. It's real, and it's under-prosecuted.And it's a whole other discussion for a whole different day.

But it isn't the same thing as a garden-variety parent doing a garden-variety stupid thing, in the heat of a garden-variety stupid moment.

If my parents were to be judged on their WORST moment EVER (to my way of thinking) it would be the time they made me stay home from a skating party AND sent me to bed without Chico and the Man. I'm not sure what I did to merit such a disproportionate, outrageous punishment, but I would be willing to bet it somehow related to an accusation (almost assuredly unfounded) of me "smartin' off." (If you can imagine.)

Out of all the moments of discipline I endured as a kid, THAT is the one that haunts me to this DAY. Yeah, I would even say it SCARRED me. And if I coulda somehow gotten Walter Cronkite's phone number, believe me: you woulda known ALL about it.

1 comment:

  1. My kids don't remember if I ever did put them out, although Jess thinks it might have happened -
    "..sounds like something you would have done". She does remember putting her brother out after she got her license and promotion to chauffeur. By and large, I think kids were better off when parents had the last word, and the respect of their children.