||October 21st, 2017 Saturday|| Conversation I heard while talking a walk on the big public nature trail: The first time this family riding bikes passed me: 5-6 y/o boy: Could we stop and eat? I'm hungry. (this was right by a rest stop with a picnic area) Mom: No, we're not stopping. We have to go (x) distance. You keep talking like that, and you're not getting any sandwiches. The second time they passed me: Mom: You're getting your turns when we get home, right after we eat our sandwiches. 5-6 y/o boy behind her: (brother) doesn't have to get his beating. He already got his beating for the day. Mom: He already got his daily beating? When? Are you talking about when I punched him earlier? 5-6 y/o: No, not that. (brother) sprained his ankle earlier. Mom: Oh, so if you sprain your ankle I don't have to whip you anymore? I don't think so. Come on. We have to keep doing laps. Your brother's taking so damn long. *starts blaring music loudly while getting more agitated* 3-4 y/o on bike finally catches up after three laps around the parking lot by the trail Not once did this woman ever have her kids in front of her. They lagged behind her. The younger boy was barely within her sight for a while until she did several laps around the parking lot. She didn't watch her kids as they crossed the street. Once her friend and her son (who was still ahead of the younger boy) caught up to them and she saw the younger boy was finally in view, she stopped talking to the kids all together and didn't look at them or even look if they were behind her at the crosswalk. She just kept on going while the 3-4 y/o still was a pretty good distance behind her. That crosswalk is at an extremely busy road and people like to speed down it. So, I caught up and ran a little ways behind the boy to make sure I saw he actually crossed the road. I could only laugh nervously at what I saw. The way the woman talked to her son reminded me too much of my parents. Daily beating. Watching the little boy try to get his younger brother out of getting whipped was all too familiar. I was left disturbed that this woman was so casual about admitting she beats her kids daily. And she made a preschooler with a sprained ankle go on a long biking trip and still planned on beating him later. After lunch, of course. If she'll let them have it. They better not complain about being hungry. Ugh. Afterwards, I felt guilty. Wasn't there anything I could do? But there wasn't. If I said something to her, she'd probably make a scene and nothing would really be accomplished. That might actually make whatever punishment she had planned for them worse. Then I felt angry. And then powerless. My wife and I had a conversation once about how if we told other people about a lot of things that happened to us as kids, your average person around here wouldn't see anything wrong with it. Abuse and neglect are common here, completely normalized. Hell, it's normalized to criticize parents who refuse to beat their kids are "shitty parents with misbehaved children". Nevermind all the copious amounts of research showing again and again that physical punishments and neglect, even if minor, can have longstanding, negative effects on children. That's what their parents did, and "they turned out fine". That's why they keep beating children. Because they're fine. This little preschooler, being forced to go whatever distance Mommy wanted, with a sprained ankle, and the only reward he's getting out of it is a goddamn sandwich that will be his treat before a beating he knows is coming.