When I was a kid, and still pretty young, I realized my parents were crazy.
There was a moment that I remember, although I’m sure it’s not an isolated incident. We were in the car, going somewhere or coming back, all of us, me and my brother, my two sisters, and my parents, in the big family car, Mom and Dad in the front, kids in the back, either the Meteor or the Parisienne. This would have been in the mid to late 1960s.
My brother was hyper as Hell, he could get on your nerves, and had gotten on Dad’s. He’d gone too far; he knew he was in for it, and so he got scared and started crying. This was at least partly from real fear, maybe partly a ploy, something kids do to try to tell a parent that they’ve made their point, but he was really crying. Dad apparently found this noise to be not any less irritating than my brother’s preceding noise, and growled (perhaps you’ve heard this one before?)
“Stop crying, or by God, I’ll give you something to cry about!”
To my mind at the time, the child, my older brother by a year and a half, was already crying from fear, and my father’s solution was simply more fear. This seemed unreasonable to me; I was crying also, and I too was only more afraid and only cried harder after that. That may not have been the only time, but it’s the one I remember the most, and I decided in that moment that grownups were crazy.
The difference between me and most people, between me and you, is that I’ve never changed my mind about it. To reverse myself about that is, definitively, to become crazy. To join the ranks of the mad, and I’m not doing it. My eyes were clear in that moment.
Now, I know you’ve all been there too as kids. I hope I can in some humble, respectful way, suggest that if you have changed your mind in that way, that you reconsider, retrace your steps, and start again. Support the sane, frightened child you once were and reject the madness that we call ‘parenting, discipline, punishment, consequences.’
Support the child you once were, and support the children in your world now.
And support me too! Follow me on Twitter. I will continue to try at least to put something out in this topic weekly.