Dr. Helen

Really? I Would Call This Mom the Mother of the Year

Paula Bolyard, a writer here at PJM, has a post on the Baltimore mom who smacked her kid for joining the rioters. Bolyard states, “Am I the Only One Who Thinks Smacking Your Kid Upside the Head Is Bad Parenting? I’m all for discipline, but that mom in Baltimore isn’t exactly #MomOfTheYear material.” Her reasoning?

In the video we see the single mother of six grabbing her teenage son by the neck and smacking him several times in the head. He escapes her grasp momentarily, but she comes right back at him, collars him again and hits him. He shakes her loose and tries to walk away, but Toya follows him, screaming, “Get the f*** over here! Did you hear what I said?” I’m just saying we shouldn’t be celebrating a parent losing her cool with her kid and the incident most certainly shouldn’t be propped up as the model of great parenting.

Folks, this is not #MomOfTheYear material.

You know, I think this is mom-of-the-year material. This is a woman who has had enough of her kid acting like an idiot and putting himself in a very bad and possibly dangerous situation. This mother let her son know that she did not approve of what he was doing and when he tried to walk away, she let him know that he had better listen to her. She used strong words to do so. Mrs. Bolyard compares this act to her own lack of ability to control herself with her kids:

I’m ashamed to say that there were times I totally lost it and looked way too much like Baltimore Mom. Good gravy, I’m thankful there were no cameras on me at the time! I’m ashamed of those moments and I’d be horrified if someone called me “Mom of the Year” for the times I lost my cool. Those were my worst parenting moments, the times I failed my kids and had to apologize to them and ask their forgiveness — certainly not anything I’m proud of.

Maybe Mrs. Bolyard lost her cool in her own circumstances for reasons that were uncalled for; this happens to parents and is not a good thing. But to compare an uncontrolled act of parenting to the justified anger that this Baltimore mom had in this dangerous and outrageous situation is wrong. To call it poor parenting is to misunderstand the difference between good parenting and feelings of guilt for lacking control. This mother was in control and she was teaching her son that his behavior warranted a strong response. I say a smack on the head here was the least of this teen’s problems. If in the end he resents his mother for it, so what? Better that than end up in jail or dead because his mother was too concerned about appearing controlled. This situation called for a strong reaction and this mother was brave enough to rise to the occasion. It was an act of good parenting.