I was listening to a radio station this morning on my way to gym. It's a local Atlanta station that plays Christmas music 24/7 through Christmas Day. I love it; it makes my husband crazy. No matter. I park the dial there every Thanksgiving and leave it until the big day is over. During the "talk" portion of the show this morning, the DJs asked listeners to solve a domestic squabble between a call-in husband and his wife.
It seems Dad and his buddies were watching football this past weekend and dropping the F-bomb right and left within earshot of the couple's 8-year-old son. Predictably, the little boy dropped the F-bomb on his mom that same day. And then the problem arose: mom washed the kid's mouth out with soap. The dad was outraged and said that her actions were tantamount to child abuse. Callers came down on both sides about 50/50.
What do you think? Did Mom do the right thing? My knee-jerk reaction is to say that yes, she did. I only say that because I have a child who always loved the shock factor. She would blurt out the most inappropriate things at the most inappropriate times, then revel in the reactions she inevitably got. Come to think of it, she's still that way. In her case, soap came to be the only answer. In my opinion, the abuse would have been in NOT correcting her. Now another of my children? No, I wouldn't have done it. In other words, I think extreme circumstances call for extreme measures.
I laughed aloud when an elderly African American woman called in to the station today to weigh in on the matter. Every other word she said had to be bleeped out, but the gist of her monologue went like this:
"I say hell yeah you have to beat they a**, and when they get older, you have to call the po-lice and get them to take' em away if they back talk." Now I'm not saying she was right, but her words did bring to mind an incident I witnessed at the mall years ago. A mom had all 3 of her boys with her in the mall, shopping. Of course, the boys were misbehaving, trading punches and giggling and just in general annoying Mom. She warned them once; that I did hear. Her warning went unheeded though, and the next thing I knew, she had all 3 boys lined up on a bench, tweaking their ears and, well, there's no other way to say it – she practically beat the hell out of them right there.
Overkill? Yes. Inappropriate and abusive? Yes. They did calm down though, and they behaved quite well for the remainder of the time I saw them, anyway.
With respect to the radio caller this morning, I have an opinion. I think Dad should've had his mouth washed out with soap. Anyone knows that a child will regurgitate anything he hears, especially when he hears it from a parent. What do you think?