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Friday, February 19, 2010

Cussing Out Our Children

“Shut the F&%k Up!” A mother yelled at her young son and snatched him up by the collar. “I’m gonna tear your butt up when we get home,” she continued verbally abusing him. Oblivious to the people sitting around her, she tore him in half with her ugly words of hatred and disrespect. She left him physically shaken and confused about what just transpired. It was a lesson unlearned and probably he would repeat again.

I tried to focus on the novel in front of me, but my eyeballs starred in the direction of the abuse. My glasses became foggy and my uncontrollable stare met her eyes. She didn’t connect to the energy I was sending her, as she continued the assault.

Her son looked helpless clinging onto his orange chair, which linked to mine. I yearned to hold him like my own son, and rock him in my arms. I became internally infuriated.

I thought to myself, no she didn’t just curse her child out in front of me! I became upset about the situation. But what was I to do?

Being taught to “mind my business” was instilled in me from my upbringing. I was also taught to speak truth to power. Voices of long ago hovered over me stating, “Children belong to all of us. They have no power. Children do not control the means of production. It is our duty and responsibility to make sure their needs are met.” I told the mother not to use the fowl language in front of me. I also said something insightful and rattled of statistics about how children are affected when verbally abuse. I wanted her to think twice before she verbally abused him again.

Sadly, this wasn’t the first time that I overheard a parent curse out their child. As a parent, to step back and reassess a situation in which a child is verbally abused is crucial. The repercussions of verbal abuse can leave a permanent impact on the development of a child. The cycle will undoubtedly continue and live on through one’s first teacher, the parent.

In voicing for the voiceless, advocates looking for assistance can help children by calling toll-free help lines. Prevent Child Abuse is Georgia's confidential, toll-free statewide HELPLINE (1-800-CHILDREN). As parents and advocates for children, we need to speak up for their well-being. We should never mind the “mind your own business” attitude. As a community, we should confront the issue of verbal abuse against children. It is morally wrong to commit this act. I sincerely believe it is our responsibly to protect all children.

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