Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard, seen, or talked about the Adrian Peterson story. How he used a switch–a tree branch with no leaves–to give his 4-year old son a “whooping”. Why did his toddler son deserve to get beaten, bruised, cut, and scarred with a branch? He pushed one of Peterson’s other children. He was indicted in Texas by a grand jury on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child.
You are also probably aware that the Minnesota Vikings deactivated Peterson from Sunday’s game against the Patriots. And then on Monday, decided it was the right thing to do to activate him again, stating ” they will let the legal process play out before deciding on further action.”
Whether or not the Vikings letting him play while this case plays out is the right thing to do or not isn’t what I want to talk about. Although, I believe the Vikings failed BIG TIME in their decision, especially in light of the Ray Rice domestic abuse case and video–and the way it was poorly handled, by all parties. I understand, legally, there is a process that has to be played out. But, there are images of his son’s injuries AND he has admitted what he did to his son. Sounds to me like he should be sitting. But, again, that isn’t the issue I want to talk about.
I want to talk about how we, as a society, discipline our kids. Peterson doesn’t believe what he did was wrong. He even said so in a statement he released. This is the way he was disciplined by his father growing up, and this is the way they did things in the south–where he was raised. We all live in different cultures in this country. Things are very different here in Philadelphia than they are in Texas, or Arkansas, or California, or even in New York. And things were completely different when it comes to disciplining kids when I was a kid, or when my parents were kids. I got spanked. A lot. If I misbehaved, I got spanked with a wooden spoon. Not to the point of bleeding. Not the point that I was scarred physically or emotionally. I got the point. Did I ever get hit with a belt? Nope. A switch? Hell no. Now? Spanking in general is frowned upon in society. It’s what happens over time–things change. Ideas change. The way we carry ourselves in general changes.
Just because my parents spanked me, does that mean I’m going to automatically assume it is the correct thing to do and spank Sophia and Maddie when they are misbehaving? No, it doesn’t. Between Sarah and myself, we can decide what is the best way to discipline our kids. And that most certainly won’t involve hitting them with an instrument. Will they need an occasional spank to the bottom? I don’t know, maybe? But, that is for us to decide. What isn’t for us to decide is what constitutes child abuse. You beat your kid with a switch? That sure as hell is child abuse. What 4-year old can defend themselves against a grown man or woman wielding a branch? They can’t.
Again, I understand, it is a cultural thing. But that doesn’t mean you need to continue the trend. You are an adult. You have a functioning brain and can look at a situation and say “you know what, I know my parents hit me with a switch, but I’m not going to do that my kids.” And you choose another way to discipline. Cris Carter said it pretty damn well on ESPN over the weekend.
Nobody wants to have kids that misbehave. Nobody wants to have kids that don’t understand discipline. How can we tell our kids that it’s not OK to hit others when we hit them? There is so much violence in the world today, on TV, on our streets–why do we need to bring that into our homes? End the cycle. Don’t hit your kids. Don’t hit your spouses. Just don’t.