Normally I’m posting a cute pic or video of O or Jake on Wednesday’s. After all, Wordless Wednesday’s have become somewhat of a tradition and maybe even a staple in a Bloggers (well some) arsenal of posts. However, today I’m diverting a bit and may come back to Wordless Wednesday later today or tomorrow.
I haven’t been paying much attention to the news these days. With my job, the work I’m doing with DadsTalking, this blog, and of course spending as much time as possible with my family leaves little zero time for anything else. Last night I was sitting down with The Boss after the kids finally went down to sleep. She shared a story with me from CNN that just got me so fueled I felt like I needed to vent about it.
If you haven’t heard the story it goes something like this. An 18 year old girl and her boyfriend are getting stoned at their house. What? That’s not so bad? Oh right, well let me fill you in on the rest. So, add to that a 22 month old baby boy. Now add to that; they decide it would be funny to take masking tape and tape up his hands. They tape up his hands in such a way that he can’t move his fingers. In fact, they take it a step further and leave his middle finger exposed. Isn’t that so funny that a 22 month old can flip you off with his entire hand taped up sans his middle finger? What the hell is wrong with these people?? That’s not the end of it, it gets much worse! Then they think it would be even funnier to physically tape him to the wall! They take his sippy cup and tape that above his head. He’s literally hanging, stuck to the wall with tape! Once they let him down they leave the sippy cup taped so that he’s struggling to reach it. It’s just high enough out of the way that he can’t reach it.
What the fuck is wrong with these people??? How could you do this to a baby? To anyone? This is their child! Can you imagine being tormented in this way by your own flesh and blood? At 22 months old? I’m almost at a loss of words, almost!
To add insult to injury the mother receives 10 days in jail! 10…TEN!!! Plus? She’s allowed to serve them over the weekends! Seriously!? Really!? How is this even possible?
Before we jump to the conclusion that this was done because they were stoned let’s just nip that in the bud. It’s not something I brag about but having been stoned most of my teenage years I can tell you the thought of harming someone else, let alone my own flesh and blood never once occurred to me. This goes so far beyond smoking a little bit of weed. These two people have some sick mental issues. The fact that this mother received 10 days (and on the weekend) is almost as disturbing and speaks to the weakness in our judicial system and laisser-faire attitude we take when it comes to punishment.
I think there’s too much going on to actually understand what would bring these two kids to do something like this. Should we blame their parents? Society? Drugs? Obviously, watching a CNN video is not going to give us this insight.
Can I punish these two kids?
Can I change our Judicial System?
Not likely (at least not single-handedly)
So what can I do? What can we do?
Well, as parents I think we can have the greatest impact. Obviously, the best way to prevent this type of abuse from happening to our kids is to not do it! Beyond that though I think the focus needs to be on how to prevent our children from ever thinking this is appropriate as they grow up. I’ve heard of bullying your peers, children the same age, etc. Bullying your own children is in a completely different league all together.
I want to start by teaching O and Jake to love their self. I’ve never met anyone who enjoys hurting other people that actually loved themselves. Abusing others feeds a hurt in the abuser. Even as I write this I still can’t imagine how much hurt the two kids had to do this to their own children but it’s obviously there. I want to teach them that respecting others is to respect thyself. This is a fundamental principle that needs to be instilled at a young age. They’re just not going to embrace that if up until 15 years old they learned different. I suppose I’m lucky in the fact that both of my children are still two years and under in age. They haven’t formed many of these constructs yet nor have they formed negative fundamental constructs that would affect them in the future. However, it is my responsibility and in my power to ensure that those fundamental building blocks are there. Those are the things that will carry them into adulthood. I can only imagine the lack of support these two kids had while they were growing up. I think it’s also important to have a zero tolerance policy on this type of thing. That is to say that it’s made abundantly clear that taking joy in anyone else’s pain (let alone your family) is never acceptable. That of course will be more of a challenge once they are in school. They’ll be exposed to many children teasing and/or laughing collectively at one or more children. Since parents aren’t in school 100% of the time, that fortunately or unfortunately falls on the teachers to handle. Then again, it’s our responsibility as parents to ensure that the teachers are holding others accountable for the rules that “we” want to set.
Of course, I’m not going to cover all the ways in which we can prevent our children from ever growing up to do this. I wanted to shed some light on a story I heard that sent pings of anger down my spine. I wanted to open up a dialogue about what and how we think these types of acts can be prevented. I may not have all the answers but this much I know…
We as parents are responsible for teaching our children the fundamental building blocks of healthy relationships. Our children and our society demands that we do. Not cut out for it? Tough shit. You should’ve thought about that before you had kids. Aren’t in a healthy state yourself? Go get help! We can’t teach our children to form healthy relationships if we can’t do it ourselves. We need to take back what has been taken from us. Our children deserve these gifts of education. If we fail in parenting then ultimately who fails are our children. We can’t rely on other people to turn our children into healthy beings (mentally or physically). Yes, we can rely on other people for support but not hand off responsibility. It sickens me that news stories like this are still popping up all the time. What do you think our role as parents play in this? How do you plan to ensure that your children don’t grow up to be these two kids in the news?