Discipline vs. Abuse

Recently there was a video making its rounds on social media that showed a father and son. The father starts off very calm explaining that his son had been acting up in school and that he felt some punishment was necessary while also teaching his son to defend himself. Then the video starts and I have to admit that I fast forwarded to the end as soon as I saw how bloody it was because (at times) I’m a sensitive soul and I always hate seeing people get hurt. The video showed the father boxing with his son. I use “boxing” loosely because it looked like someone of superior height, weight, and experience beating up on someone. The father didn’t hold back and landed multiple punches to his son’s face. The end of the video showed the father questioning the son while the son was obviously still bleeding pretty badly asking him if he would act up again in school. I ran across a follow up article on the video today and you can read it here . Basically, the father was arrested and the son was removed from the home as a result of the video. Let me say first and foremost that what the father did is pretty much the definition of physical abuse if you want to get technical. When a child discloses something like that to me I’m mandated to report it because of my profession and license–whether I agree with it or not. I’ve reported child abuse on multiple occasions as it’s been a regular part of the jobs that I’ve had. In no way am I endorsing the father’s method of parenting but I have also witnessed the opposite where parents stay up all night in shifts because they are terrified that their child will kill them in the middle of the night. I can assure you that being scared of your child and what they are capable of is terrifying.  Neither option is ideal by any means. However, in addition to beating up his son who was clearly unable to defend himself, the father took it a step further and posted it on social media so the whole world could see (literally). He mentioned the son’s classmates and teachers as well in the video. That’s pretty humiliating and public shaming as a form of discipline is a horrible decision. But we also have to be honest. A startling number of kids these days do not have any respect for authority figures of any sort. There are too many horrible situations where there has been a conflict that involved an authority figure (law enforcement officer) that turned deadly for no reason at all. Also, by the same token there are also situations where someone was compliant and still ended up “mysteriously” dead. I guess my point is that you can’t really win these days. I think that the father had good intentions. He was trying to teach his (almost) adult son about making better choices and respecting authority and he ended up in jail himself with his child being removed from his care. I don’t have a solution to the problem but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t involve posting a video of a child being hit in the head until he’s bleeding profusely. There has to be another way.

The social media truth

This week I’ve taken a break from two of the most popular social media sites. It’s not been super easy but good in the long run to gather my thoughts together. I’ve never fully understood the point of posting about every single mundane detail that happens in your life. But I admit that it’s interesting to browse and see what’s going on. The thing about social media is that it can have you convinced that you are close to someone when you’re not. Liking their activity or commenting does not mean they are obligated to let you in their real life lives. Social media allows you to be whoever you want to be. You can create an image or a perception of a person that is the complete opposite of your personality. There’s also sometimes even a false perception on anonymity,so in contrast, other individuals might be more honest on social media than they ever are in person. The fact that is ignored by millions is the fact that time spent on social media sites you don’t get back. There are people who make money but the vast majority isn’t paid to do anything on social media. It’s like a black hole of time that you’ll never get back–or even compensated for. I’m not debating the rightness or wrongness excessive social media time but the truth is that too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

Don’t be a Tryer

Don't be a Tryer

I saw this picture posted on Facebook and it made me think. First of all, is “tryer” really a word? I can already see some children’s show character singing to children “be a tryer.” But are tryers really winners? Obviously you have to try in order to win or you’ll lose by default. But I don’t think that the action of trying automatically makes you a winner. I heard someone say that people are not remembered for what they avoided, but for what they’ve overcome. Being a tryer puts you ahead of the non-tryers but it doesn’t guarantee success. Nobody remembers who came in 6th, they remember who won. Being a tryer is a good thing, but you can’t get caught up in the fact that you tried. Make greatness a goal because tryers aren’t winners, but winners are tryers. 

V for Victory

So I made it though the day without any random rages or unexpected tears. I kept my composure and held it together. Cut down on my social media usage so I didn’t bombard myself with things that are in no way related to my present reality. I can honestly say that I’ve had some pretty emotionally (self-inflicted) v-day wounds but I think today was only indicative of a much less painful scratch. I’m in the process of intentionally identifying what I’m feeling because I want my clients to do the same. However, I noticed that today (more like yesterday), I intentionally did not think about how I was feeling. It is definitely a lot easier to talk about something than to actually do it.  I must admit that reading the Facebook statuses of single women provided some humor to my day. It even went as extreme as someone posting that they bought themselves a their own diamond celibacy ring. That’s intense. I don’t think I’ll ever get to that point but its nice to know that somebody’s already there. The day has passed. I set a personal record on being ok and not totally freaking out. That’s big. 

My Pre-Valentine’s/Single Awareness Day thoughts

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It’s that time of the year again. A lot of people are nervous because they aren’t sure if they’ll be on the receiving end of a day set apart to express love. Millions of singles are now contemplating why they are single AGAIN this year. What they did wrong, and what they are going to do to avoid getting sucked into the “woe is me because I’m alone on V-day” annual party in their brain. Other take to social media sites proclaiming that they don’t care what day it is because Jesus loves them and they’re perfectly happy. Yet, no one REALLY believes them. Others are wondering if this is the year that they’ll get engaged to their significant other. He already knows EXACTLY what setting the ring should be and they went looking at rings SIX MONTHS ago. Anxious, Agitated, Upset, Frustrated, Excited, Vulnerable, Bitter, and Sadness are all some emotions that describe this love holiday for some people. The truth is that we all want to feel some type of secure connection to someone else. And most of us like the idea of being treated to something special because someone appreciates and loves you. This also happens to be the time of year when someone gets unexpectedly dumped on the most (supposedly) romantic day of the year. I want to advise all of you to not get caught up in the hype if you don’t want to. A significant other is someone who is significant to you 365 days out of the year and not just one romantic night. Valentine’s day is what you make it. Plain and simple. If you have someone, fine. If you don’t, fine. One day should not ruin your month or year. Love can occur at any time in a year and it’s important to be open to possibilities instead of stacking all your hopes and dreams on one solitary day out of 364 other ones. Decide that you’re okay–regardless of the presence or lack of the presence of a significant other on ONE SINGLE DAY. To the single people, there’s no reason, and I mean NO reason to allow V-Day to depress you for months. Learn more, grow more….after all, February 15th is just around the corner.

Why make it harder for yourself?

I talked to a friend of mine recently who had just gotten engaged. Now this person had just graduated from college and was planning to go to law school. She announced to me that she was not going to get married until after she completed law school. The reason? She wanted her maiden name on her diploma. She went on further to explain that she liked her last name and did not want the name of someone else on the piece of paper that commemorated her hard work. Being in a relationship is hard. It doesn’t naturally come easy for most people because a lot of times they have a different agenda than their partner. I don’t know of a couples that agrees on everything. Come to think of it, being with someone who agreed with everything I said would just make me upset and extremely annoyed. Variety is good, and while you and your partner might not always be on the same page, ya’ll should always be in the same book. With the rise of social media, many couples feel that they should have unrestricted access to the profile and message of the other. Others disagree and argue that each person has a right to privacy. Whatever you agree on, stick to it. Relationships are hard work. Why make them harder?

Relationship Status

We all have a Facebook profile. At least most of us. We use it for many purposes that vary from playing games to finding out what our friends, acquaintances, and perfect strangers are doing. Facebook has a way of making you feel connected with people that you may not see on a daily basis. It makes the world feel smaller and can be a great way to find that long lost friend who you lost contact with years ago. Facebook gives you the opportunity to share your relationship status with the world. Are you single? Is it complicated? Are you in a relationship? Or maybe a domestic partnership? It has gotten to the point that many couples can’t wait to make their relationship “Facebook Official.” After deciding to be in a relationship they race to their respective computers/phone/other device and update their relationship status and tell the world that they now in a relationship with a significant other. This post can be commented on or “liked” by their friends. But at what point is it no longer cool to update your relationships status? Should a couple who has a relationship on the rocks update their relationship status to “Complicated?” Does anyone else have a right to know that you are having problems in your marriage? While I don’t think that’s the case, I know that a lot of people believe differently and use Facebook to post about the other individual and give others information about the fights that they’ve had. This sucks other people into what is going and can be even more detrimental for the relationships. Next time you go to update your relationship status, think. Then think again.