IS THIS RESPONSIBLE PARENTING?

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Alfred-Stephens@NightCafe,AI [Author’s Image]

Abuse is never deserved; it is an exploitation of innocence.

– Lorraine Nilon

A few months ago on TikTok, a video went viral where we could see a mother physically and verbally abusing her son because the child’s father had left her for another woman.

However, in 2022, a total of 15,068 reports of child abuse were brought to the attention of the Agency, which is the highest ever recorded over 10 years and is of grave worry.

McIntosh Harvey said regrettably, since the start of the year, approximately 4,279 reports were made to the Registry, with behavioral issues, neglect, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse ranking the highest. Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA)

Last week, Tuesday, I was out shopping when I stumbled upon a very

disturbing scene, that made me question our role as parents. Is it our

duty to dehumanize and destroy the innocence of our nation’s children or

nurture and instill in them self-worth and esteem?

I heard something that sounded like a whack.

It took a few seconds, that was when I heard him scream.

I walked over to where the commotion was going on.

And noticed a large woman standing over a small child. I witnessed her smack the poor child with such brute force. The only thing the child could do was let out a high-pitched sound, this time in the form of a shriek.

That sent a shock wave through me. And made my stomach drop.

“Shut up!” she barked at the child.

Unable to control his emotions, the poor little boy continued crying, not out of disobedience or stubbornness. But I guess out of fear and intimidation, and the fact that he was being physically assaulted, by this obese woman.

Because, after all, he was being abused physically and verbally.

But she didn’t stop there.

Then the boy did the unthinkable: he urinated on himself.

"Is what this now?” she demanded an answer.

"I am sorry, Mommy." he apologized.

This angered the irate mother, who was spitting out expletives to gain control of the situation, and she continued to smack the child with clenched fists a couple more times, each time shouting, “Shut up!”

“Do you hear me shut the fuck up?”

“No, Mommy, no more, please,” he begged between sobs.

I just knew I had to get her to stop hitting the child so hard. After all, she was the reason he relieved himself that way.

The rational part of my brain kicked in: Where is responsible parenting here? Is this responsible parenting? This was clear her behavior indicated the thoughts that she was having.

There is no excuse for failing to act as an adult in protecting our children. Then and there, I decided I had to take some sort of action to make this mad woman stop, and this made me scream at her, “Woman, this is wrong!”

Alfred-Stephens@NightCafe,AI [Author’s Image]

I glared at her and took out my cell phone to videotape it.

In the periphery of her vision, she could see what I was doing.

She advanced towards me and stood in my way to block out what she was doing to the poor child. I dared her to touch me. Because I wanted a reason to hit her so badly. I know this wouldn’t solve the situation, but just maybe, it would make her come to her senses.

The mother’s voice raised as she started hurling insults at me. Stating that I should mind my fucking business. This woman was acting as if I had no place being there, much less to talk to her. Somehow, I convinced myself that this was my business, whether she liked it or not.

I tried to make sense of what this woman was doing to the poor child. But nothing made sense.

I could see the child running behind a parked red Toyota pickup truck for refuge, as she focused on me.

I guess she eventually thought it best to ignore me.

So, she turned her attention to the boy once again. Looking around for a few minutes until she spotted him behind the vehicle.

“Who told you to move?” she demanded.

"Nobody, Mommy," he offered up.

"So you ruling me?"

"No, Mommy, please, I beg you."

The young boy, who appears to be not more than six or seven years old, cowers in fear as his mother’s rage boiled over. Her eyes blazed with fury, her hands clenched into fists as she unleashed a torrent of abuse upon this defenseless child’s body.

“Useless! Stupid! Worthless!” she yelled angrily, mingled with expletives. With each blow and insult, he flinched, tears streaming down his cheeks as he tried to shield himself from the onslaught of her fury.

The child screams, cuts through the chatter in the street. Soon, a large crowd gathered. Some of them began to video the scene. Others started calling her out, “Infant killer.”

“Mother from hell.”

A large man casually dressed, yelling at her to go and look for the boy’s daddy. Walked up to her and shoved her. Challenging her to come and hit him instead.

She argued with him about doing whatever she wanted to do with her son. But she didn’t make any effort to get physical. Like what she tried to do to me.

This woman's attitude towards the situation was cruel and indifferent. She didn’t care, a clear manifestation of this woman’s capacity for cruelty.

As I shook my head, something kept telling me that there was more to what she was doing to her son than just trying to discipline him.

This doesn’t make any sense, I mumbled to myself. This was something that would never make any sense.

I thought that this only happened in TikTok land. But sadly, this is the real world.

She swung her hand, striking the boy across the face, leaving a red mark in its wake. The boy whimpered, aching for the harsh words and blows to cease. Which was long overdue.

The man grabbed her arm and applied some amount of pressure on it. She tried to wrestle with him, but she was no match. The crowd shouted their disgust at her once more. He eventually released his grip on her. Threatening to beat her up if she hit the boy again.

The sun stood still in the midday sky, across the busy suburban street. I, along with the other irate onlookers, watched as the boy, limping, was dragged down the road by this monster.

I wondered what the child did that was so terrible to deserve such a beating. Would the beating continue once they got home? Were there any sane persons residing in this home? If they were, what have they done to prevent this type of punishment? This was a perverse form of correction. The type of discipline that has taken root in to our society, as irresponsible parenting.

It was not knowing that got to me. I went back to my life, at least I tried to. How do you return to normal after witnessing something like this? I pray that he will not be damaged for life.

It should be noted that sadly in Jamaica, this type of incident is only videotaped and commented on. And only in severe cases someone intervenes or it is reported.

Thank you for reading

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Sumaya Ali [Veronica Thompson-Smith]
The Literary Underground

Nurse. Volunteer. Writer. Publish my works. Chocolate addict vernaann2@gmail.com Follow me@Twitter-valiqa_ali. Facebook@Sumaya Ali.Instagram.com/vernaannswine