Let’s Face It, Some Kids Just Need to Get Hit
Let me start off by saying that I do not condone what Adrian Peterson did to his child. I think it was malicious and excessive; the marks on his back, buttocks, and genital region clearly show that Peterson acted with excessive force, and that is child abuse. But, there is a thin line that divides child abuse and disciplining your child, and some kids need to get disciplined.
Noisy, loud, rough, and disruptive were some adjectives my teachers used to describe me back in elementary school. No matter how many times they told me to do something, no matter how many times they placed me in time out, no matter how many recesses I missed, or field trips I didn’t get to go on, I just didn’t listen. Now you can obviously understand the difficulty, embarrassment, and confusion my parents went through. So gradually my mom started implementing physical punishments; a twist of the ear when I wouldn’t listen, a spanking when I would curse, a couple hits with the belt when I would fight with my sister. And gradually I started to listen and respect what my parents would tell me.
I firmly believe that the punishment should correlate with the child’s age; and no matter what Peterson’s 4-year-old kid did, he did not deserve that kind of beating. At four years old, your brain is nowhere near developed. Everything on Earth is pretty much still new to you and you have very little grasp on morals and ethics. Now if it was his 17-year-old son who had robbed a bank, I think this punishment would have sufficed, but what could a 4 year old have possibly done to deserve this treatment?
Beating your child doesn’t always mean that you’re a child abuser. Since this story broke, there’s been a bit of a backlash on Black culture, calling for a change in the way we discipline our kids. Whether you are Black, White, Korean, or Bolivian, if you feel your child needs to be disciplined in a physical manner, then you are within your right as their parent to do as you see fit. But, if you cross that thin line between discipline and abuse, like Adrian Peterson, then you should receive the full force of the law. Groundings, firm lectures, and lost privileges don’t work for every child. Yes, my parents beat me. Yes, it hurt. Yes, it did teach me a lesson. And yes, I am the person who I am today directly because of them. They implemented a strong moral structure from a young age, and taught me lessons that I will use for the rest of my life. Beatings don’t equate hate, just as kisses don’t equate love. Some kids don’t respond to verbal training, just as some kids don’t respond to physical. We cannot paint every parent who hits their child as a monster, because it’s simply not true.
Trevor Smith (@TSmith1211) is a homegrown DMVer studying Journalism and Graphic Design at American University. Upon graduating he has hopes to work for the US State Department so that he can travel, learn, and make money at the same time.
Featured image courtesy of [Mike Mozart via Flickr]