All the parents I know - except for mine and all the other older parents I know - always tell me that when Mrs. B and I have kids we should never hit them.
And the reason they give is it will harm a kid psychologically and make him bitter and violent and a cannibal and a terrorist and a member of the political party you dislike the most.
But I'm sitting outside our neighborhood Yarshucks Coffee House right now in too-sunny XXXXX,Florida, with Mrs. B and our neighbor Mike, and about 30 feet away from us a very pretty 40-ish woman is standing outside a Chevy Suburban with the driver's door open. A man, apparently her husband, is standing by the rear of the vehicle. Dad is holding one hand on his forehead. Mom is begging, "Please, come on over her! Please! I promise we'll do it later!"
The object of her pleas? A chubby, rosy-cheeked boy, approximately 10-years-old, apparently her son, circling the parking lot on a bicycle, turning increasingly red in the face the more his mom begged.
Sonny Boy's response to his mom? I can't spell it out, 'cause this is a PG-13 blog. But, using abbreviations, he shouted back "Eff you, b**ch, I'm not comin' anywhere!"
He's shouted this at his mom several times now.
Now, he's shouting "Stupid, b**ch; eff you!"
Now she's begging again.
She finally spells out the cause of the strife. "We'll come back and get it for you later!"
"It" was a cell phone from the comm store next to the Yarshucks.
Seriously, I know that "violence is not the answer," or at least that's what a celebrity wearing a milk mustache once said in an infomercial I fell asleep watching.
But if that had been me back in the day, my dad would have walked over, grabbed me by the collar and yanked me off of the bike while it was still rolling. He then would have dragged me back to the car and tossed me by collar and pants into the back seat. Then my mom, without another word, would have climbed back behind the wheel and driven off, pausing briefly to back up and purposely run over my bike. Then as we were driving away and the windows were rolled up so passers by couldn't hear, she'd have turned around and given me the deadly look I like to call "Black Steel," and said "Boy, wait till we get home!"
And you know what? Even though I'm Monday Morning quarterbacking in this post, I don't think my folks' actions would have been abuse.
It's the old soul in me, but as far as I'm concerned this kid is already a quarter of the way to ending up in juvie and later getting hugged by a guy named Sally in adult prison. So it couldn't "hurt" for his folks to cuff him behind the ear once or twice, tell him to shut the hell up, forget cell phones, go ride that bike a few miles to burn a few ounces, and then go home and get hooked on phonics instead of XBox.
Or am I overreacting?
Nah. I'm right ;-)