Wednesday, October 18, 2017

When Discipline Becomes Abuse

Discipline vs. abuse.. Where can we draw the line?
I don't know about you but my ass is black and growing up, my ass was grass.
If you missed what I'm saying, I got my ass beat when I did something wrong or stepped out of line.
'Getting beating' is what we call it over here.
Discipline, they called it.
'It'll make you better', they said.
But let's be real, it wasn't really beneficial to be beaten for every screw up I've had. 
I'm just saying if you're tryna make a point to your child about a mistake they made, punching them in their head isn't really the best way to do so, you know?
I never really realized the negative effect it had on me and most people don't.
Most of us say 'I used to get my ass beat all the time but you don't see anything wrong with me right?' 

Lol.. Yeah okay.

When I listened to Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. album, I found myself shook.
Real life shook when I heard FEAR.
If you look up the lyrics or listen in depth (I did both), you'd see the break down of three different instances of fear in his life.
The first verse is about a young child with a strict mother:

"I beat yo ass, keep talkin' back
I beat yo ass, who bought you that?
You stole it, I beat yo ass if you say that game is broken
I beat yo ass if you jump on my couch
I beat yo ass if you walk in this house
With tears in your eyes, runnin’ from Poo Poo and Prentice
Go back outside, I beat yo ass, lil nigga
That homework better be finished, I beat yo ass
Your teachers better not be bitchin' 'bout you in class
That pizza better not be wasted, you eat it all
That TV better not be loud if you got it on
Them Jordans better not get dirty when I just bought 'em
Better not hear ’bout you humpin' on Keisha's daughter
Better not hear you got caught up
I beat yo ass, you better not run to your father
I beat yo ass, you know my patience runnin' thin
I got buku payments to make
County building's on my ass, tryna take my food stamps away
I beat yo ass if you tell them social workers he live here
I beat yo ass if I beat yo ass twice and you still here
Seven years old, think you run this house by yourself?
Nigga, you gon' fear me if you don't fear no one else"

I hope y'all get the point so far but if not, lemme elaborate.

The whole 'fear me and nobody else' thing is a dud. 

I feel like getting hit was just a way for me to listen when really the whole purpose of discipline is to educate your children and teach them right from wrong. Not take away their power or make them feel small.

I don't wanna make this a race thing but yeah, I know many times we've seen white kids screaming at or being completely disgusting to their parents and your black ass was there like "man my mummy would beat me to grits" and she probably was there looking at you like "yeah, I wish ya black ass would." Time you ain't even do nothing and she ready to tear ya head off.

They grow up differently from us obviously due to their privilege; they live as though the world is theirs for the taking. 

We grew up always being told to act right because we were born with targets on our backs.. 

And then we end up getting punished in a pretty violent way when we slip up or step out of line.. Getting whipped with belts. Yeah, y'all getting hit with memories of your grammy telling you pick a switch, a strong one. 

But what did slave masters do to their slaves to keep them in line? Oh? That's tea.

But for real though, black families have this thing about instilling 'fear' in their kids with these harsh punishments to keep them from going wayward.. Not knowing that that same tactic is what may cause them to stray. And this is something that has been passed down from generation to generation.. The solution to every problem is a good old fashioned cut ass. A lot of the times I was 'disciplined', I really didn't learn anything. All I got was a sore body part and a lot of thoughts about running away lmaoooo. 

I've seen children humiliated in front of the school, in front of their friends and peers, in public places like the mall or movies.. Slapped, punched, kicked, stomped, whipped.. All in the name of teaching them a lesson. My parents always told me it was all done in love and for the greater good but.. My head must be real hard cause I don't see how. You embarrassing me tryna prove a point really puts a strain on our relationship; you can't expect me to trust you the same or at all after the fact. The only thing being taught is how to fear and resent you long after childhood.

And let me briefly touch on verbal abuse.. I heard a saying before that goes 'Your parents are the first people to break your heart.' Don't talk down to your children please. For any reason. It's never okay. You can say get over it or toughen up as much as you want but it's not that simple. Then.. You wonder why they're so secretive or they don't talk to you about anything.

Mutual power & respect: a concept. 

Hear me out cause I know y'all probably wondering where on God's green earth am I trying to go with this.
Yes, I believe 100% that you should respect your parents/elders but I also believe that they should give you something to respect. Too many times you would find adults out here doing the things they tell their kids not to do with the excuse being 'don't do as I do, do as I say'. For me, that was always pretty confusing because if it's so wrong for me to do, why are you doing it?
-dry hacking cough-
 I said it.
Be the example you want your children to follow.
Furthermore, give your children the leeway to express themselves. Stop making it seem as though it's disrespectful to stand up for themselves when you'd encourage them to do so when it comes to someone other than you. As long as you're both communicating effectively and respectfully (adding this because I don't want y'all to think I'm here for screaming matches because I'm not), I don't see any room for issues to arise. Let them have a voice but also teach them it's okay to respectfully disagree when your opinions differ. I'm also a big fan of learning from other people's mistakes so I encourage you to tell them about similar situations in their life that you may have faced at their age. A word to the wise is sufficient.

Anyways, listen.
I'm not trying to tell anyone how to discipline their children or to not discipline them at all but we have got to outgrow this mentality that these types of punishments are the only way. The intent may be good but this is not the way to go.
Because honestly, I've seen situations where anger takes over and the beating goes way too far.
Why not avoid that altogether?
And don't tell me I'm overreacting when that one time your old lady bark your ass with that 2x4 still ringing in your head. Now you cringing. That's PTSD. Good day.
Train your children to make healthy choices from a young age. When they make mistakes, help them understand that it's a part of growing up. Build a relationship that's big on mutual respect.

Side note: I said ass a lot in this, forgive me.

Idk, this is just how I feel about it. Shoot me.

Um, yeah. Be safe out here guys, the world is crazy. I love ya!

Hearts & hugs,



  1. You really found a medium or at least I'm just really realizing it. Ya speaking mad truth in this I got goosebumps a few times. Keep it up 10x10 100%

  2. " The whole 'fear me and nobody else' thing is a dud.
    I feel like getting hit was just a way for me to listen when really the whole purpose of discipline is to educate your children and teach them right from wrong. Not take away their power or make them feel small "

    I think that this speaks to a bigger issue of powerless and transference of that feeling of powerlessness in The Bahamian society and even in the Afro-Caribbean diaspora and even in some extents in the African American reality as illustrated in Kendrick's lyrics. We're perpetuating a system meant to keep up powerless and frustrated with ourselves so that we never realise the plan and rise above. Great post!