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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Whip Him Upside the Head?

Photo courtesy of: think4photop,

During the Baltimore upheaval two evenings ago, one young thug in a black hoodie with his face covered got what he wasn’t expecting: his mother! She came at him, raging like a crazed mama bear! She slapped him upside the head. She pulled the scarf off his face.  She yelled at him. She pulled his hood off. She shamed him in front of his peers.


He was looting and being violent. He was breaking the law, and she wasn’t going to have any of it.

This mom is praised for going out there and doing something.

But, what’s wrong with this picture?

I’m not against the mother telling her teenage kid what for. I’m not against her shaming him for what he should have been ashamed of--and not done in the first place. I am certainly not against this woman taking action, although I’m not in favor of her methods.

Having lived more than fifty years observing human behavior, I’ve noticed that the moms and dads who hit their kids upside the head haven’t trained their children when they were little. When they slap at their kids’ heads, they're at the point of anger. They’ve had enough. They are reacting in violence.

It’s more than that. It’s a lack of discipline—both self-discipline and child discipline.

How much better it would have been if the young, hoodie-clad guy in our story had been trained calmly from the time he was little about what is right and wrong. At age sixteen or whatever he is, he would have been home studying or at school practicing sports instead of looting and rioting. He wouldn’t have thought of shaming his mother. He might even have had a job and understood the value of private property, respecting other people’s businesses.

The kind of hoodlum behavior exhibited in Baltimore is a sad reflection of the lack of training in the home. The few minutes of filming that I saw from Baltimore featured mostly teens. They are, no doubt, living with their parents and not on their own. Their hoodies, jeans, and name-brand sneakers were paid for by their parents. It means they are still responsible to the authority of their parents!

I don’t completely fault the parents. I imagine there are a lot of single moms out there, doing their best to work and parent, and they are finding it very difficult. Maybe this mom is one of them. I don’t know.

But, after seeing the video clips of this mother whipping up on her son’s head, I think maybe, just maybe she would have done better to warm up another part of his anatomy once in awhile when he was small.

The Bible says,
  • My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. . . .We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path (Proverbs 1:8-10, 13-15). Doesn't this sound like the Baltimore situation?
  • The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother (Proverbs 10:1).
  • He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes (Proverbs 13:24).
  • Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).
  • Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him (Proberbs 22:15).
  • The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame (Proverbs 29:15). 

Your thoughts and comments are welcome.


  1. In France, a "claque" on the head or face is not seen as a disgraceful action, but spanking is. Go figure. I have seen many parents give their child a smack, and it bruises my heart, to think that all they are doing is reacting instead of acting. My prayers go out to this mom and so many others who are at this point, and don't realize that there is a better way. More difficult, yes, but definitely better.

    1. How interesting to see it in a different cultural context! I'm not sure what it is here in Spain. Yes, you feel for her, don't you? Thank you, Susan, for your comment.

  2. "But, after seeing the video clips of this mother whipping up on her son’s head, I think maybe, just maybe she would have done better to warm up another part of his anatomy once in awhile when he was small".
    Love this quote!
    I can remember my Mom saying that if you train them right when they are young, the teenage years will be a joy, not heartache.

    1. We LOVED our kids' teen years. It was so nice not to have to watch them every second like we did when they were small. I'm not trying to bash this mom. Who knows her story? I just thought something different needed to be said about the incident. Thank you, Carole, for your comment.

    2. I know you weren't trying to bash this mother. Your post was excellent!
      We are just entering the teen years, and (now that I'm over the "shock" of having a child this old!) we're looking forward to this next phase!

    3. Thank you. I'm shocked someone as young as you has a teen! :o) They grow up so fast! I'm still in shock we have grandchildren! God bless!

  3. Proverbs 29:15 is the verse that pops into my head too. But, I don't fault this mother. She was obviously reacting out of fear, anger, and desperation, but I think she was doing the best she could--at least she was trying to remove her son from that bad situation and that took some passionate mother love. Peer pressure (and worldly influences) is a strong force and especially when the family structure is weak it draws the weak. Pray for strong families and homes where Christian values are lived and taught.

    1. I totally agree the mom was doing the best she could. She probably has had struggles we know nothing about. The right response from any Christian is to pray for families and try to help those who have huge challenges. Thank you, Rose, for your thoughtful comment. God bless!

  4. I don't believe early training will always prevent teens from making bad choices. Satan has a way of tempting even the best of us into doing stupid stuff. I can't judge the mother's training. Obviously, she loves her son and wants what is best for him. Kudos to a fierce mother willing to brave the riots in order to find her son and point him home.

    1. Absolutely, she was doing the best she could in this situation. Peer pressure is very strong. Thank you, Sunny Faith, for your comment. God bless you!


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