I stayed home this morning. Usually in the morning I head off to the gym by 5:30am and don’t see my kids until 4:00pm after school. The last couple of days have been challenging with my children – especially my oldest daughter (8 yrs old). She’s been quite emotional and argumentative lately and has been pushing my buttons. I normally can remain the calm one in the household but I’ve unloaded on her twice in the last couple days. It’s been very difficult for her and for me.
I’ve had a handful conversations lately about parenting, in particular loving your kids. I’ve heard about a family in which one of the parents seems unable to show affection to their children. I do not have that problem. My daughter’s know that I dote on them and that I love to give them hugs and kisses. My son’s standard response to me when I tell him I love him or that i think he’s the best is, “I know I know. You tell me all the time!” I’m proud of that.
With the combination of feeling disconnected with my oldest and hearing stories of unloving parents I decided that the best thing I could do this morning was stay home with the family and enjoy my kids this morning. Letting them know that I love them as they start their day. Taking a bit of time with each of them. Apologizing to my oldest for being grouchy lately and committing to being more respectful of her – encouraging her to be more respectful as well.
So – I’m at the coffee shop and I stumble upon the Judge William Adam’s Youtube video (I’ve linked to it but I won’t embed it) in which him and his wife – in my opinion – ferociously beat their 16 year old daughter with Cerebral Palsy. Apparently the daughter illegally downloaded music (who hasn’t) and her dad went off his rocker and beat her with a belt. She anticipated that this was going to happen and hid a videocamera in her room to film the assault. The kicker: Judge Adam’s is a family court judge who “specializes” in parental abuse cases! The video is a disgusting display of parenting and abuse. It has overtones of sexual abuse in that the girl is 16 and both the judge and mother verbally degrade her while abusing her – calling into question her woman (“take it like grown woman”?) The mother adds in a “Today” interview that a “secret family addiction” (daddy likes dirty porn?) is part of the cause of this beating. It is a 7 year old video so the judge will not be charge (miscarriage of justice) but will probably be removed from the bench. It is disgusting but what makes it even more so are some of comments from people who completely and honestly agree with the abuse and even suggest that this couple didn’t go far enough to make their daughter submit.
Parents – LOVE YOUR KIDS! HUG YOUR KIDS! Corporal discipline doesn’t work – it’ll only make things worse. I’ve spanked one of my children once… it was the worst thing I ever could’ve done. I took it seriously. I wasn’t angry at the time – I knew the seriousness of this decision. I’ll never forgive myself for doing it. My daughter still cringes at me if – during a conflict – I approach her. She’s petrified that I’ll spank her again. That is the sickest feeling that I’ll ever have as a person and as a father. I wish I could take it back. I’ve seen how it’s affected her and it’s painful.
LOVE YOUR KIDS! HUG YOUR KIDS!