Mom Drags Kid On Leash, Gets What She Deserves

Think about it

(Photo: gandt.blogs.brynmawr.edu)

Let there be no mistake: While I recognize the attempt at humor here, I still find this sign to be deeply offensive. I am a father. (Photo: gandt.blogs.brynmawr.edu)

Being a parent can be an amazing journey. It can also be an exhausting one, particularly when it comes to handling situations like tantrums in public. I am a father or two young children, so I have firsthand experience dealing with some of the difficult times in a young child’s life. Being so unable to process strong emotions that you lash out in mind and body is a difficult place to be, but it is a place that every child will visit at some point in their development.

The rainbow of tantrums

There are as many theories about how to handle tantrums as there are are breeds of dog. I have found the book “The Science of Parenting” by Dr. Margot Sunderland to be of particular value in my quest to become a better father. Buy a copy. If you need money, try payday loans and payday loans with no faxing.

The book advises that when you are in a public place and your child is stuck in the middle of an implacable tantrum – and I say “stuck” in a tantrum instead of “throwing a tantrum” because I subscribe to the theory that kids aren’t always trying to manipulate their parents – you must act. Not in a way that is inappropriately forceful, but in a way that shows the child that you can handle the situation and that they are not alone.

Not alone?

That’s right. When they’re very young, children have not developed the ability to regulate the toxins that build up in the brain when they’re under stress. They cry and scream because that’s the only mechanism they have. But if a tantrum is extended and the child is truly inconsolable (not throwing a “Little Nero“), the toxin buildup can actually cause lasting negative change to brain chemistry. A parent needs to gently but firmly remove the child from the public place and try to find a quiet space where they can help the child calm down. Such is a parent’s job. Old school discipline (or ignoring the problem) was never optimal.

Mom drags kid on leash: not gentle, more than firm

Tom Henderson blogs for Parent Dish that mother Melissa Catherine Smith-Means, 37, of Gaylesville, Alabama was arrested April 21, 2000 for first-degree cruelty to children. As you can see in the video below, she dragged her child through a consumer electronics store in Paris, Georgia. Clearly Smith-Means was fed up with something in the child’s behavior, but she violated the trust her child has in her as caretaker. She took her anger out on the youngster. It’s not something a parent should ever do to a child, and Smith-Means is paying an appropriate price.

Henderson’s position on the matter is that yes, Smith-Means acted inappropriately, but he softens his stance with a bit of understanding. “I reserve judgment,” he says. “We have a court system to determine what was really happening in that store — and in Smith-Means’ head. I can well imagine a mother who ran out of options. Perhaps she told a difficult child that he would either come peacefully or she would drag him out.”

And that means she HAD to do it?

I’m horrified by that kind of reasoning. I know that’s not exactly what Henderson is saying, but there are parents out there who practice this kind of consistently hard discipline. I’ve seen it happen from afar and I’ve seen it up close. Once, my wife and I even reported the caregiver to Child Protective Services, which is not a step that I take lightly.

What is it that you’re attempting to do with Smith-Means, Mr. Henderson? Why are you even attempting to offer an explanation? So that outraged adults can experience some kind of closure? This has everything to do with the child and the violence inflicted upon him. That’s why Melissa Catherine Smith-Means is and should be in jail.

Love your child

(Photo: graphics.iparenting.com)

(Photo: graphics.iparenting.com)

I’m happy to hear that you’ve never done anything with your own son like what Smith-Means did to hers. Sure, parents are human and they will make mistakes. But as a parent, you must make a commitment that you will never raise a hand to them in violence. By doing so, you rob them of their childhood, possibly more. Neither psychological torture nor brute force are acceptable ways to discipline a child. Levity can be a welcome ingredient in teaching a child in a difficult situation, but that kind of gentle teasing hardly constitutes psychological torture. It’s up to the parent to know the difference. If they don’t, they need to seek growth by reading books, attending parenting classes and possibly even speaking with a counselor. A child deserves as much care.

Do the ends justify the means? Henderson, you can’t be serious!

I can’t believe how Henderson concludes his horror story of a blog post. He asks readers this question: “If the child was acting out, do the ends justify the means?” As a father, I can’t imagine a universe where such treatment of a child – or even a dog – is justified. If a parent hasn’t learned how to control their own anger and think that an evil child is attempting to persecute them for trying to find a little “me” time at the story, then that parent needs a lot of help.

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Related Video:

(DISCLAIMER: If you care about children, you may find this video to be disturbing)

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