Thursday, March 06, 2008

There, but for the grace of God....

Have you even been frustrated? I mean, really blindingly frustrated? Just outside of all sanity, wanting to throw shoes through windows, wanting to punch someone in the nose, screaming and yelling bloody murder frustrated? If you are, or have been, any of the following things: a child, a parent, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a close friend, a spouse, or a human being, I know you have been frustrated like this at least once in your life. If you're anything like me, it's been far more than just once. God blessed me with a pretty calm temperment, but I'll admit there have been days when I've not kept that temper so well.

As a parent, there have been a handful of times when my patience has been sorely tested by a rude, tantrum-throwing child. There have been shameful times when I've shouted to high heaven at a little face half my size, and 24 years younger than I, but ohhhh soooo SKILLED at pushing every button I've got. There have been times when, thankfully, I have simply walked away, and gotten my own emotions and reactions under control. But, believe me, at those times walking away was not my first thought. I won't post what those first thoughts were, because they are horrid and unforgivable, but they were what they were. I didn't want to think them, they just happened. Thanks be to God that I simply walked away.

This story caught my attention:

ORANGE COUNTY -- Orange County deputies said the mother caught on a surveillance tape powerwashing her 2-year-old child at a car wash turned herself into authorities Thursday afternoon.
Authorities have not released the woman's name.
Deputies said the woman, who is 5-months pregnant, used the pressure washer to calm the child down after the she had a temper tantrum.
"She did indicate to us this was the first time this ever happened. That, she typically uses time-outs. She has used a spray bottle in the past to calm the child," said Sgt. John Allen from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Child Abuse Unit.
The child is being evaluated by a doctor, but does not appear to be injured.
So far, no charges have been filed. However, deputies said they will make decisions based on the doctor's analysis.

If you google this story, you can see the videotape of her powerwashing the little girl at the car wash. Apparently the little girl threw a temper tantrum in the car that so frustrated Mom that she drove to the car wash, stripped the little girl, and sprayed her with a very high pressure stream of water. In the videotape, you can hear Mom telling the child "I am your mother. You don't treat me like that." or something to that effect.

There is no question that this was a completely wrong thing to do to anybody, much less a small child. Whether the Mom will be charged with abuse or not, I really don't know. There are many, many considerations that go into a decision to legally charge a person with child abuse. More often than not, a person does not get charged, despite having done something that is pretty horrendous. I do know for a fact, however, that this case will be investigated by local child welfare services, and I fully expect that a case will be opened, and Mom will be required to undergo parenting education, and anger management therapy - at a minimum.

This mom got frustrated and reacted in the wrong way to her frustration, and got caught. I can only imagine how ashamed and embarrassed she is. And how ashamed and embarrassed her family and friends are. I can only hope that she'll be able to get the help that she so obviously needs.

I've been at that point. No, I've never done something like what she did, but the potential was surely there, as I would imagine it is for a lot of otherwise sane and sensible people. Frustration can lead a person to do many things that they wouldn't imagine themselves capable of.

There, but for the grace of God, go I.


jubilee said...

OK, I so can relate to the frustration this mother must have felt. Though I can honestly say I haven't done anything like power washing my child, you are right when you say that we don't actually know what we are capable of when frustrated until we get caught. There but by the grace of God go I is sooooooo right!

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