Days ago I was thinking about discussions I used to have with some of my university peers about Latino parenting. I remember my friends talking about the various behaviors and language that was aimed at them by their parents. There was belt whipping, cussing, objectifying, disrespect. Punishments were handed out to women for not being home by 10, and many were scolded for absolutely illogical reasons. Yet all my friends saw this as part of being part of a Latino household. “This is just the way it is when you are Latino”. The most bizarre of stories were those where parents hit their children for dropping something and thus breaking it, or when parents punished their kids for breaking some unheard of rule that they never explained. All I have to say to my beloved friends is that their parents are fucking crazy and psycho as fuck.
I never had such stories to share. I was never left red and bruised by my parents, and I was never cussed at by my parents. Before my 4 year old self had a chance to ruin our VCR (yes VCR), my dad taught me how to use it. I remember he used to actually grab my index finger and had me push here and there to see what occurred as a result of pushing specific buttons. Guess what? I never ruined it. The same was true for other items. Most of all though, my parents talked to me. They explained how stuff worked. Unquestionably, at some point I acted my age and did something they disagreed with, but I think my parents never lost focus of the fact that I was in the end still a child, not some adult who deliberately committed a mistake after having committed it before.
Parents need to break bad chains. Maybe part of the absurd parenting is cultural. They were raised that way and thus they raise their kids that way and so on. My dad’s parents were trash, yet he was never like that with his kids. My mom’s parents instilled discipline but with the stick. But my mom was never like that towards me. Neither of my parents have a college education, so it can’t be that, yet I figure someone somewhere just has to connect to their humanity and realize that just because these are your kids it doesn’t mean you can mistreat them. I believe that is the key. Parents blatantly mistreat their kids, and in some absurd validation, children later in life just say that it was done out of love. No it was not. The thought of me hitting my kids with a belt until they are are crying and left with red marks can’t be an act of love. I remember my neighbor used to hit his kid with a belt and yell “hijo de la chingada.” Well one day my dad asked this kid what he wanted to be when he grew up and he said he aimed to be a gangster. In shock, my dad asked him why and the kid responded that he wanted to become one so he could kill his dad. Well he hasn’t killed him yet but the tables have turned and now he beats the shit out of his dad. Not all situations are this extreme but even lesser scenarios have ill effects.
For those of us who will be parents or are, let us use reason and care to parents in the correct manner. I am not a parent, yet I imagine it is a stressing ordeal. Remember, they aren’t your little slaves and they didn’t ask to arrive. Lets find a way to make this a better place by being better parents.