I am thankful everyday that child services never came and took me away from my family!

Dramatic opening statement, right?… I’ll explain further. Our politically correct society has gotten so soft that parenting methods that were once tolerated are now frowned upon, and by frowned upon I actually mean have potential criminal culpability.

Some of the changes are of course good. Child safety and awareness has grown leaps and bounds over the years and no bit of nostalgia can argue against keeping children safe from inherently dangerous technology and human practices.

There were no child seats when I was kid. Hell, I am old enough to remember a time when fathers and grandfathers drove down New York City streets with toddlers in the laps holding the steering wheel. There is no argument suggesting that was okay. Yet, it wasn’t just the super reckless, the rules for child safety in cars were, let me remember… none. There were no car seats when I was kid. There were no passenger airbags. In fact I remember being as young as three riding in the front passenger seat. If we stood up in our seats and didn’t get down at the command of the adult driver, it was normal for them to just stop short causing us to hit the dash or glass: hood lessons 117.

I don’t know if parents were “allowed” to hit back then but considering that catholic school nuns often hit insubordinate students with rulers, I think it is safe to say that corporal punishment of kids was widely accepted if not exactly legal.

My mom was next level. She whipped me…literally. At the age of five I told her the belt didn’t hurt anymore so she literally removed one of the African artifacts that she had hanging and channeled the plantation overseer! We lived in a studio apartment at the time so my maneuvering from the whip was difficult in such a confined space. Thankfully she lacked Indiana Jones’ endurance and my punishment did not last too long.

My brothers and I got beat regularly. Anger was usually the catalyst and we knew how to push her buttons. Acting out in public, acting out in school, breaking stuff at home, usually occurring during our multiple punishments for acting up somewhere. We brought the Brownsville out of her regularly and eventually our growth and increased pain tolerance made it so that she had to break out the bigger guns, literally and figuratively, to let the inmates know that we would never run the asylum.

It was way crazier then these brief descriptions. I am saving some of the better stories for the book, but let’s just say, while we may not have feared my mother, we had a healthy respect for her crazy. I am making light of the corporal punishment my brothers and I received, but by no means am I advocating or making light of anyone that hurts children. Child Services has a crucial job to protect the interest of children, who generally do not have the right to otherwise speak up or protect themselves.

I grew up in a different time. My mother’s methods may not have been ideal, but we probably deserved 90% of the beatings we got. They all taught us lessons and respect and a single women used some unconventional methods to keep three rambunctious boys in line in some of New York City’s roughest neighborhoods. We are all fairly well educated, mostly productive members of society. My mother did an incredible job, and any less strict and harsh, I can confidently say may not have worked as effectively on us.

Again, I am not advocating beating children, though it is clear some kids out there could definitely use lots more discipline through various means. Children need to be protected, but let’s not be so politically correct and soft to lose our abilities to reasonably enforce discipline and manners within our kids today. Timeouts were never going to work on my brothers and I. We needed discipline and thankfully today’s rules of engagement with children did not apply to my mother and my generation, because there is no telling what path it could have lead to for us.



#childservices, #generations, #discipline, #badkids, #kids, #parenting, #mothers


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