My family and I were walking out of the convention hall after spending a couple of hours at the annual car show. Hundreds of people were entering and exiting. A family of six briskly followed the herd in front of us. Two women, one twenty-something, the other early 40's, had four kids under twelve in tow. They looked like mother and daughter. The youngest child, a little girl about three or four, trailed behind them. It was obvious the little girl had trouble keeping pace with the rapid steps of the older people in front of her. She walked directly behind the younger woman who was talking loudly to the older lady. The woman quickly turned around and shot her eyes at the little girl behind her, "Bitch, you better GET your ass up here!" I saw the fear and panic in the little girl's face as she speed-walked to the woman's side. The mother yanked the girl with such force, my arm hurt. The child seemed fearful, but she didn't shed a tear.
I felt a lot of things: shock, anger, dismay, a sense of urgency and duty. I opened my mouth. But my husband and sons simultaneously grabbed my arms. My husband warned me in a whisper, "Leave it alone..." He was right. But I couldn't let the mother get away with it. She then glanced at me. Her eyes asked me, "Bitch, what you staring at me for?" I said nothing. She turned around with the child's little arm in hand, and dragged the little girl as they continued to walk ahead. The older lady's contemptuous look co-signed the act. The two women continued their conversation.
Chances are the older lady did the same thing to her daughter when she was a child, and now the young mom is passing it down to her daughter. Abuse, whether verbal, physical, emotional or sexual is often a generational thing.
That wasn't the only time I heard a parent curse out a child. And I bet you've
witnessed similar moments yourself. That's one reason why I wrote, "Raising Hell or Raise Them Well." It's my contribution to addressing the state of emergency that's ruining under-served families. In Chapter Three parent points "Don't Let Curse Words Do Your Talking" and "Resist Name Calling" offer alternate ways to communicate to your kids.
I know this book will not save the world, but if it motivates just one parent to up their parenting game, then I've succeeded.
What would you have done in this situation?
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