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Let's Torture Our Children!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Okay, what is *with* people indeed? After having just read the thread below about the child dragging its head on the ground in the swing, I'm beginning to wonder WHAT THE PROBLEM IS in this society that we treat children this way. Does it seem to anyone else on this board that there are a *lot* of people who, for all intents and purposes, abuse their children -- not in the classic, "Where's my belt, you need a whuppin'" kind of way, but in ignoring their children, mocking them, or (in the case of one poster's story below), letting them drag on the ground trapped in the belt of a swing?

I may be an idiot, but from my perspective, it seemed to me for a long time that classic child abuse mostly occurred in families where (largely for economic reasons) the child was a burden or otherwise unwanted. The abuse, inexcusable and wrong, was at least comprehensible: there seemed to be a clear cause and effect going on between a baby they didn't want and abusing that baby, *wrong and f'ed up as that is*.

However, there's this mom of twins I know from playgroup whose husband is wealthy and who, moreover, went through infertility treatments that cost tens of thousands of dollars in order to be implanted with another woman's eggs. Clearly, economic necessity or a financial pinch brought on by a baby is not a stressor in her life here, and if you're going through the hormonal hell that is infertility treatment, having an unwanted baby is not an issue either.

To date, I have seen this woman verbally abuse her boy, who is about two-and-a-half, about three or four times -- roughly grabbing his arms and semi-shaking him, getting in his face, ignoring him when he's climbing up on a three-foot high kitchen barstool/chair, calling him "turd" to his face...but the kicker, for me, was when she put him in his "time out" area. The kid was angry and upset and (unsurprisingly) proceeded to cry. She then started to mock him, saying, "Oh, myyyy! He is soooo angry, isn't he? Look at him!" I left the room and shot the kid a completely pitying glance, which seemed to piss him off even more.

What makes me wonder whether or not I'm overreacting is that no one else in this play group seems to think anything of it. They chuckled along with her at him - and all I could think of was that if *I* were upset by something, it would be utterly demoralizing and infuriating to have someone (my MOTHER!!!) just *laugh* at me.

I don't get it. Am I off-base here??? What the hell is the matter with people? I don't understand how someone who wanted kids, who can afford kids, who spent a shitload of coin to GET her kids, can treat them like this. Would someone enlighten me, please?
post #2 of 12
To date, I have seen this woman verbally abuse her boy, who is about two-and-a-half, about three or four times -- roughly grabbing his arms and semi-shaking him,

In these kinds of situations I attribute it to the parents probable abuse in childhood that hasn't been dealt with and now surfaces.
Doesn't make it right, but it is quite common.
post #3 of 12
I know it is frustrating and infuriating to see how some people treat their kids. I used to react the way you are reacting. I clearly remember working in a hospital and seeing sick children - my heart would go out to them. Then one day I witnessed a mother hit her beautiful healthy little girl for something really stupid. A big ol' whack with a telephone receiver no less. I was stunned and wanted to scream at this woman that she didn't deserve her children. Honestly, there were days when I felt there should be a license issued before anyone could have kids!

But my stepmother is a counseller and she has helped me to see that behind these actions is a wounded child. I am reading the book "Giving the Love that Heals" by Harville Hendrix. He points out how the issues we have with our children relate to how we were taught to view the world, by the actions of our parents. Now when I read about what you described in your playgroup, I see the mother as someone who was almost certainly ignored and mocked like that and has grown up thinking it's "normal". If you can try to see the parent as their child it sorta makes you sad, rather than angry. I'm not trying to justify what they're doing, and of course you feel for the innocent child who will be scarred by this behaviour. But it does help me with the anger part of it...

If it were me, I would never set foot in that playgroup again though. I could not watch anything like that!
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
I feel really torn because I genuinely like the playgroup coordinator and her DH and kids -- they're super-nice, and I have no problem with the other moms, one of whom is also very AP. Thanks for suggesting to see this mom as a child herself -- it helps a little, but hey -- *I* don't feel like I got nearly the love I needed or wanted as a child, but that made me determined to shower my child with all the love she'd ever wish for.

Any suggestions?
post #5 of 12
This is the reason *I* could never donate my precious eggs (or sperm if I were male) I could never imagine treating a child that way sooooo sad poor boy!

Attached Mama~ Jennifer, soul mate to Chris, Mama to Julianna 9/20/96 and Noah Reese....born at home into his family's loving hands April 17th 2002
post #6 of 12
In view of the fact that this mother may be seen as a child, why not use the same proven methods that we use with children.

Find a children's book that deals with the issues you are struggling with. Volunteer to read a story in the group. Make sure she is there. Don't look at her. Just tell the story.

You too, can have an impact.

post #7 of 12

Re: Let's Torture Our Children!

To date, I have seen this woman verbally abuse her boy, who is about two-and-a-half, about three or four times -- roughly grabbing his arms and semi-shaking him, getting in his face, ignoring him when he's climbing up on a three-foot high kitchen barstool/chair, calling him "turd" to his face...
It seems to me that instead of worrying about whether or not you are overreacting, shouldn't you be worried about what may be going on when no one can see her?
post #8 of 12
This is so sad. I wonder what is wrong with the world too. How come children don't seem to need to be treated with love and respect? People treat their kids like this and then we wonder why the world is so violent, and so many people need therapy.

Hopefully this mom will eventually learn. I know that I had a much less than perfect childhood, and that carried over into my parenting when I first had my dd. I quickly realized that I was doing exactly what I didn't want to do to my children. I saw my words and actions mirrored back at me from my children, and it scared me, and I knew it was wrong. I started out parenting very strictly and mainstream. Then I learned that my kids really needed to be more lovingly guided. When I did that, those things were mirrored back at me from my children, and that felt much more right. I wish it was something that I knew when I first became a parent, but I had to learn things the hard way.

I think that sometimes we think that society expects us to use "tough love" with our kids. We fear that if we are too attached they will turn out spineless, lazy, and undiciplined. Its just not true though. When we lovingly guide them they learn to obey us out of love and not out of fear.

Its sad, and it breaks my heart to hear about these things. I really like the suggestion to maybe read a book at the playgroup, or maybe even do a book review of some good parenting books about gentle dicipline. The only other thing I could suggest is to just lead by example. Respond to your own children in a loving and gentle way, and maybe that will help her to see that there are other ways to do things. Maybe you could find some other AP moms at a LLL meeting or something to invite to your playgroup.

Hope this helps!
post #9 of 12
I too wouldnt go back. i would not be able to stand it.
I have my own parenting issues I am dealing with. I lose my temper occasionally ( I think we all do) and snap at my babies at times...I am about a ZILLION times better than I've been in the past. So just in myself I can see healing...that people can change. So we shouldn't give up on a mama, just try to inspire her.
Something that scares me when I see children being treated badly...if they are that abusive in front of people what goes on at home??? When I went through my 'evil mommy' phase of yelling and even jerking around by the arm kind of stuff : I was definately too ashamed to do any of this in front of others. I mean, if they think this kind of behavior is appropriate in front of others what do they think is appropriate when alone with their child???
I agree with what other's have said, that this is just a cycle of abuse...that they are trying to cope with the way they were treated as children. They probably don't realize its wrong (some of them). I guess all we can do is try to be a good example.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Oh, believe me, I HAVE been very concerned about what goes on when they are not in public. Like everyone else, nearly, I put on my happy, smiley face in front of other people, especially other moms, so I wonder indeed what goes on behind her closed door. It really bugs me, as a matter of fact.
post #11 of 12
Be her friend. Perhaps she needs someone to talk to about her frustrations with her child. Maybe she doesn't know other ways to deal with things. She might like to have someone she can be honest with and get some other perspectives and not feel judged.

I wanted my children very badly. So much so, I became a single mom and spent money to become a mother. I have trouble being a good momma, too, sometimes. I find myself repeating the past (mine). It doesn't mean I don't love my children or want to do what is best for them, but I don't always see things thru their eyes. When a person views a bad scene between parent and child it is likely that you feel sympathy for one or the other, or both. If it is the child you are feeling badly for, you were probably treated well mostly as a child and you can easily see what the parent should be doing. If you were treated badly, or not necessarily badly, but as the experts advised then, as a child, you may sympathize with the parent that their child is giving them such a bad time.

Sometimes, when I hear a child having a tantrum, and screaming in rage, the only thing I feel is how angry *I* am. It is a difficult thing to step outside those gut reactions and deal appropriately with the child. I am attachment parenting my girls and I am constantly working on myself and striving to be the parent I want to be and they need me to be and I still have trouble overcoming base emotions and my own upbringing. It must be that much harder for someone who is not as aware or working as hard, kwim?
post #12 of 12
I second (or third?) the idea to casually discuss some good parenting books - the one I'd recommend most highly is 'How To Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk' - it sounds like EXACTLY what this woman needs to hear....
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