Just Another Rant About Child Shaming and Emotional Abuse

It’s four days until Christmas but I’m not feeling very “Christmasy” today. No, it’s not just my Seasonal Affective Disorder rearing it’s ugly head, although… since today is the darkest day of the year, that’s not doing so great either, but that’s another issue.
No, today I’ve just reached a boiling point with a subject dear to my heart and I need to vent about it.
Now, first off; I’m not posting this to shame anyone or call anyone specific out. It’s a general disappointment in an entire culture within our society and that’s all. If it hits close to home for you, I recommend you take a moment and evaluate that for yourself before you lash out at me or try to explain why it’s not that big of a deal. Holding up a mirror to negative behavior is never fun, but it is always necessary. Literally no one else seems to be doing that in this case, so I guess it has to be me. So fine, here is me… denying this behavior and asking others to follow.

So… there’s this meme floating around Facebook right now. Here it is:

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-7-21-33-pmWhy do people think it’s okay to joke about hurting children and damaging them emotionally? Why is that acceptable?

Take some of these “funny” memes running around these days about making children cry and change the word “children” to some thing else – a minority or gender or sexual orientation, perhaps a mental disorder. Is it still okay?
Of course not! It’s racist. It’s sexist. It’s bigoted and you’d be shamed off Facebook and probably lose all your friends.
What about Jimmy Kimmel’s Halloween candy “prank” of telling your children that you’ve eaten all their candy? Is that funny? To watch your child crumble into tears and feel like you can no longer be trusted? To purposefully watch your children suddenly lose faith in you as a parent along with the loss of something so important to them is literal, actual abuse.
Again; try exchanging it with something else and see if you still think it’s funny:
Give a lonely, aged person living on a fixed income in the ghetto $10,000. Tell her she can buy what she’s always wanted and needed to make her life secure and more comfortable.
See her light up with thanks and joy, even tears and praise to God for such a miracle. Then, go out and have a great time with her as she goes to all the places she’s never been able to go to fill her world with things she never thought possible. Then the next day, when she wakes, be there to see that you’ve taken it all away. When she asks you what happened to it, tell her, “I threw it all away”.
Now, here’s the funny part… Wait for her to believe you. Wait for that deep feeling of heartbreak to wash over her. Let that pain sink in until she crumbles under the weight of your actions. Then, just to make it extra funny, let her sit there a while as you record her reaction. THEN, when she’s fully reached a point of devastation, confusion and broken trust, tell her it was all a joke and her things are just fine and it was all just a joke.
Is that okay?
What if those shows where the people come to build homes for families in need had a “day two” where they PRANKED them by taking it all back and told them, “oh sorry, it was just for the show, it’s not real… go back to your ghetto”, all while still recording it for a laugh?
Would that be funny?
No. It’s disgusting, emotional abuse. All of this is terrible.
So, why is it okay to “joke” about child abuse? Why am I told, “geez it’s just a joke” when I voice my opinion that these memes are not funny, they are amplifying a culture of abuse and it’s not okay??
I honestly don’t understand the darkness some people have in their hearts that they can see these things and be okay with it. It’s not okay, guys.
Please… stop child shaming. Stop perpetuating the culture of emotional abuse upon children.
There is nothing funny about hurting a child, physically OR emotionally and those of you who suffered emotional abuse know how deeply it hurts, how life-altering and shattering it can be… don’t share this stuff and make others feel it is okay to do it.
Ok, moment of honesty – I’m all for dark humor. Seriously – but that’s not what this is. This is perpetuating a culture of child-hate that is unacceptable and I admit, I used to do it, too. Before I had children of my own, I was totally right there with my dark, cynic heart, perpetuating the negativity and laughing at things like this. I’m not saying I was always above this, I mean I had a bumper sticker on my car that read, “Santa isn’t real” on my car when I was 22! Now, I deeply regret that I had a hand in perpetuating that culture of destroying the magic of childhood but at the time, I didn’t see it that way. It was just funny and I couldn’t understand why people took it all so seriously. It’s a dark-hearted world where hurting others is so deeply ingrained in our society, we don’t know to be repulsed by it.

These things SHOULD repulse us, not make us laugh and it wasn’t until I had children of my own that I realized how deeply this was true. This world treats children, as a citizen class, absolutely terribly. They are treated like objects, possessions and worse. If they act out, we drug them. It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I could see it so clearly. It hurt to see how people saw these precious beings, the adults of our future, as nothing more than annoying inconveniences. Nothing of value, worth little more than to be something to laugh at and tease.

What’s worse is that I see so many people who are “activists” for those all around the world who need help… they fight for animals, they fight for minorities, they fight for acceptance of disabled people and those with autism. They fight against bullies and apathy and they ask people to relate and honor those who suffer from chronic pain or depression or addiction. They fight for equal rights and inclusion and justice in nations where women are mutilated and in places where families are murdered for their faith… but then, these same people post crap like this and it just baffles me.
Guys, you can’t have it both ways. Either you care about humans or you don’t. Either you stop pretending you care about people or stop this culture of hate wherever it is. You can’t fight to protect victims of abuse then turn around and perpetuate and laugh at abuse. It doesn’t work that way.
We perpetuate that culture when we dismiss the value of our children. We perpetuate that culture when we allow ourselves to laugh at emotional abuse in all its varied forms.
We cannot hope to elevate the value of our children in the eyes of the world unless we can stop perpetuating these subtle cues to tear them down and hold them under our boot heels and what is possibly even more important; we wonder why our children don’t have any empathy- we wonder why they are so easily swayed by “the dark side” and why there are sooooo maaaannnyyy buuuulllies out there?
Apathetic parenting and playing cruel jokes on our kids is part of the reason, guys. Kids are a blank slate. They live what they learn and if they learn it’s “fun” to play cruel jokes that make others cry, they will LIVE that and repeat it.
One last thought; please, just think about this and consider one final thing; that what might be “just a joke” to you, could actually be someone’s reality. By laughing and sharing, you are agreeing that it’s okay.
Is it? Do you want your kids to know that you think it’s okay? Do you want them to learn that laughing at others in pain is just fine and it’s okay if you don’t “mean it”?
We’ve got to be better than that guys. Our literal future on this planet depends upon it.

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