I just overheard parents punishing their child for the first time. There have been threads like this before, and while I certainly empathized, it never really hit home for me what it is like to be witness to that situation. I had lived with my family, obviously, growing up, and then in an apartment on campus for college, so I have never really been around other families other than family friends, babysitting, etc. and have never seen such a situation before. When I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to get away from the campus area and find something more family friendly (plus I was getting sick and tired of all the booze and partying- baby or not) so I found a complex on the other side of town, large apartment complex but with small individual buildings (6-10 units per building). Mostly young couples and one big family with kids. I wound up with an apartment right by this family. Now I was excited to be living somewhere that I thought would be family-friendly.. but it turns out that most of the young couples here wind up doing the whole have people over-smoke cigarettes-get drunk- blare rap music that my generation so loves (ugh.. nothing wrong with partying whilst young, but my goal was to get away from it.. you think eventually people would grow up, yk?) But that I can deal with.. not ideal but I can deal with it.
But this family- The father has the loudest, most booming voice in the world. Usually I am out in my main room and it's not too bad.. I can hear him yelling all the time and it just raises my blood pressure every time it happens but it's fairly muffled compared to what it could be I suppose. My mom has been over at my apartment and also commented on how one can hear his yelling from the main room (it's often angry/at his kids, but sometimes its playing with them, or watching sports- he just yells, it's not only when he is mad) so this has been a common frustration, and certainly not ideal, but nothing too horrible for awhile..
But just now, I am in the back bedroom on the other computer to get some schoolwork done, and could hear every word. It started with the little boy crying.. now I know that living in a building with families/kids, one will hear kids cry, and I will tolerate their kids' noises, both happy and sad, just as they will tolerate mine when my baby comes
But this child was working himself into a frenzy, and while I don't want to judge, I was sincerely starting thinking to myself- is that how it is when kids cry? Why isn't someone soothing him? Why does it keep getting more frantic? Is this normal? What is going on? Second guessing myself- because I live alone (till baby comes) and I don't know what is normal or what was going on over there- just wondering if this was a normal toddler fit or if this was going to be a problem. I know kids do need to cry sometimes, but it was just getting more and more intense and starting to stress me out and worry me. Finally I hear his mom start screaming, what do you want? What the hell do you want? Shut up! And then the dad comes in and yells to stay in his room and shut up, and then starts threatening to beat his butt. And then he must have hit this poor little boy because his crying turned into screaming at the top of his lungs. And now it is quieter and I can hear him crying quietly.. he is not the only one.. I cannot believe that is considered a mainstream or normal way to treat your child.. it is devastating just to overhear it.
And again, I don't mean to be insensitive, but while reading others post of having experienced this very thing, I never imagined it would affect me so deeply to be in that situation. I guess we really are desensitized.. oh well it's just yelling/spanking.. there's much worse things/true abuse out there.. I don't mean to undermine the struggles of those who have been brutally abused, but to me it's not "just" yelling/spanking.. I just cannot believe some would treat a child that way routinely and think it is normal/okay. I mean we all lose our cool, of course most mamas have moments they regret, and again I don't mean to judge- but it is so hared to wrap my mind around the fact that a parent could ROUTINELY say such things- swearing, threatening, etc. their child- and physically punish them without realizing it is not helpful and that it is surely hurtful to everyone involved. I cannot stop crying now and know that I cannot do anything about it, and that this happens all the time to all sorts of kids, but the reality of that is just awful. Part of me kept wanting to just scream at these parents to go comfort their child, like- why in the world wouldn't that be your first response? and another part of me just wanted to put my head under a pillow so I did not have to listen to that. And I know, my kiddo is not even here, and it is stressful being a parent, I am honestly not trying to judge or be holier-than-thou.. but I truly don't know how I can put up with this, I just moved here but I cannot deal the emotions having to do with hearing this go on, and do not EVER want my child to overhear people talking or acting like this.
I have been on the receiving end of corporal punishment and yelling as a child (according to my parents- and me- it didn't help and made things worse, so in hindsight they realize it was not ideal, and I consider myself to be happy and well-adjusted, but I do vividly recall the experience of having a bigger stronger person take their anger out on me and it is not pleasant.. so perhaps that is why this affects me so much? But on the other hand, whether or not one experienced this as a child, it seems most people would be pretty strongly affected by hearing someone treat someone else like that- child or not- the basic premise of how to treat others is still intact, regardless of age/relationship, yk?
I know a lot of this is nothing you haven't heard or seen before, I guess I am just dealing with my own feelings on the matter since it is a very new experience for me.. so please no flames, just trying to process this..