In Loco Parentis is a law term meaning, “in place of parent”. In place of parent… that seems to be very fitting. I as a man with no children I’ve been a bit reluctant to speak on this, but being that this is becoming a trend I’m now forced to weigh in. There’s something inherently wrong with how so many of these parents are thinking that it’s “good parenting” to publicly humiliate their children using social media. I begin to wonder where is all of this coming from? Why is this becoming a trend? Is this actually a better alternative to getting an old fashioned whipping?
Looking at whippings versus public shaming, I think the former actually is the lesser evil. I can attest from my own experience, my parents hated whipping me, and always reaffirmed their love for me and what the mistake was. I always knew why I was getting whipped, and the whipping never just came out of nowhere. Most importantly, getting a beating was never done as a means to publicly humiliate. Whatever you do to run your house, stays in your house. I think that’s a key thing missing here. While one can argue that there may be an inherent bullying behavior with whippings, there’s definitely NO question that it’s there with child shaming through social media.
I’m going to get this one out now — each video I see eerily reminds me of a video of an insurgent beheading a helpless prisoner. As both a war vet and psychology researcher, I get chills up my spine on the similarities:
While these are vastly different scenarios serving radically different purposes, the psychology is parallel; this isn’t about discipline, this is about some sort of revenge. Another parallel is this — much like the Stanford Prison Experiment or even Abu Gharaib — you actually learn more about the captor than the captive. The punishment chosen by the parent here tells you more about the mother than what she really wanted to show. Ironically, in committing to social media punishment she showcases her own critical failures as a parent. For starters, the child being 17 years old in the ninth grade is walking-talking proof of a categorical failure on the parent. Honest question: where was she? What was she doing when he first began the ninth grade? I also take note on how well the parent dresses in these well-prepared humiliation sessions. Why is she wearing a pseudo-freak’em dress? Is she a parent with flawed priorities which allowed this child to slip? Is her concern real or fake?
This whole deal disturbs me because the social media — the internet — is forever. These idiot parents are using a permanent humiliation tactic for a temporary problem. It is a strange thing is it not, that she doesn’t partake in a video of her going over his homework, joining Parent/Teacher meetings, ensuring his success? Here’s a couple of problems I identify with this trend:
And the list goes on. This stupid mother (and all those who follow, man or woman) probably didn’t think about how this may effect the kid’s professional growth as an adult, forever being remembered on social media as “momma’s little troublemaker” may prevent him from obtaining a job. As this is a form of bullying, a child will probably end up becoming a bully himself, as children who are psychologically abused are more likely to make fun of the weak, more likely to start fights in school, more likely to annoy teachers. As an adult, he will also be more likely to enter into a profession that demands violence, or criminal behavior which offers the same. Children who are humiliated through social media will end up having long feelings of anger, helplessness, despair, longing, anxiety, and pain will find expression in destructive acts even against themselves (e.g., drug use, alcoholism, prostitution, mental disorders, suicide). As a matter of fact, there’s been one suicide case due to a father using social media as a punishment tool. Izabel Laxamana died at the age of thirteen. She felt she had nowhere to go.
Long story long, this practice of humiliating a child in public view was a tactic used in American Slavery. Back then, the slave mother would often beat their child in front of the slaver owners in a way to convince the slave owners that they don’t have to lay hands on the slave child. This is where the perverse “I’m doing this for your own good” logic comes from. After long after many graves have been dug, many years have passed, parents still say this, either prior to parental brutality or interment punishment. Parents may say this without ever even knowing where did that logic come from.
With that being said, there is an edge of society which enjoys a form of voyeurism here, inflicting humiliations upon black youth. There is a perverse pleasure a sizable group of white people take when viewing black youth being beaten, abused, humiliated and punished. I think it needs to be said that if we are to put anything on display, we need to know who the core audience is first. So there it is… these videos aren’t even for me, for they sicken me. These videos are for white people. The only difference is the superficial changes in society; instead of doing for a white slave owner, they are doing it for the white police officer, the white judge, the white prosecutor, the white lawmaker, and the white public who continues to think that black parents don’t exist, who continue to vote with white racial animus towards Afro-Americans at each ballot.
These parents need to quit. There is more than enough data out there that proves that this doesn’t work, and a parent shouldn’t need a child to commit suicide for basic human respect. I am glad there are parents coming out fighting for our children, letting the stupid ones know that they are wrong.
“…there’s no way in the world I would ever embarrass my son like that… Good parenting is letting your child know that you love them regardless of what they are and who they are, and showing them the way by example.” ~ Wayman Gresham, father, magnet school educator