The recent drama surrounding Adrian Peterson has sparked a lot of conversations about the correct way to discipline your child. The Minnesota Vikings running back is already facing felony charges in Texas for child abuse, but his name came about in a previous incident back in 2013 involving a 4-year-old son.
According to KHOU, a Houston-based television station, there were text messages between Peterson and the 4-year-old’s mother that included a picture of the child with his head covered in bandages, suggesting that there was a wound there.
The messages were as follows:
Mother: “What happened to his head?”
Peterson: “Hit his head on the Carseat.”
Mother: “How does that happen, he got a whoopin in the car.”
Peterson: “I felt so bad. But he did it his self.”
Peterson’s lawyer said that the accusations were over a year old and that no authorities took action, and Peterson’s father said that he had never even heard of that report.
As for Peterson’s current charges, he says that he was only disciplining his child as he was disciplined as a child, but is that really an excuse? When does reprimanding our children go to far—when their backs are broken? When does the excuse of how things were in earlier days become insufficient?
Back in the day, the motto was literally “no pain no gain”, and parents used anything from pots and pans to extension cords and switches to spank their children with. To this day, parents are going to the extreme to teach their kids a lesson. It seems as if African-Americans have embraced the same techniques for discipline that were used to nullify their ancestors. Research argues that hitting children actually kills their esteem and suppresses urges to challenge authority or take risks in fear of being punished. This sounds like the relationship of slave and slave master to me.
But does the fact that it was normal back then make it appropriate? Are all of the extra “tools” necessary in a whooping? Why isn’t an open palm to the leg enough to get the point across?
I understand the need for teaching our children right from wrong, but to what lengths will we go to do so?
Do you think Peterson’s actions are justifiable?
Share your thoughts.