It Takes a Village, but a Sane Village

As a single mom I find myself receiving parenting advice from my village regarding disciplining my child. What stands out mostly are comments like, "You better get a handle on that boy," "You better check his behavior," "You better make sure that boy knows you his momma,” and “You better make sure that boy understands you're the parent!”

Believing my village would not fail me, I finally did it. I did what I believed everyone wanted me to do. I let him know who was in charge, that’s right, I spanked his 3rd grade backside for "borrowing" what didn’t belong to him, his sassy mouth and for plucking my last nerve. Heeding the awesome village advice, I showed him who was boss; I made him fear me first and God second.

Well, it worked. My wonderful child went to school the next day and apologized to his teacher and classmate for his actions. I could not get him to do such a thing in the past by just talking to him. The embarrassment of his first set of actions was substituted with relief that I prevented a future kleptomaniac. I thought, “That's my boy, he owned up to what he did and made amends.” I also spoke to myself, “I must say, I am raising an honorable young man. I'm a proud mommy, stick with me kid we gonna be alright.”

Yet, there was one part that my ingenious little mastermind left out. He went to after school and shared his butt whooping with anyone who listened. He showed them the scratch on his pinky, and the whelp the belt left on his side.

When I came home from work I was greeted at the door by a parent I recognized from the PTA. We exchanged pleasantries, but little did I know she worked for the county and was called to my home as the emergency caseworker. My heart sank. Plus, I was pissed I didn't make my bed and wash the dishes before I left the house that morning. I think I should tell you this woman was already irking my nerves because she and I were on the same committee at school. Ain’t this a hoot!

Anyway, while standing there I could not understand what was being implied or explicitly stated. Abuse!? My mind was racing, “Are you kidding me? This over privileged child has everything his heart could desire. I have worked my backside off for him. I have done everything under the sun to provide him the best home possible and you want to accuse me of child abuse? I tell you what! You can have him and you had better take him now because when he turns into a teenager and really becomes a true terror, I do not want you or anyone else telling me I didn't do my job as a loving mother and raise my child correctly!!”

Let’s flash forward to the scene where I’m crying and venting on the shoulders of two members of my village. This village, which originally encouraged me to take control of my child’s behavior, was now giving a new set of wisdom. One stated, "Why on God's green earth would you wait until you got so angry to spank him?” Another said, “Wasn't there another way you could punish and chastise the boy?"

What!? “Well, did you offer me a different way to chastise the boy? Err NO!” Now, I'm not blaming anyone for my actions. I did it and I would do it again if the situation called for it. But wait, here’s the plot twist. This was the same village that put the smack down on my backside whenever I got out of line! Are you kidding me! A better way? Did you show me a better way? I digress.