Wednesday

When Does Discipline Go Too Far?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Woman Jailed for Dragging Kid on Leash - Alabama
Melissa made headlines when she was caught on tape dragging her 4-year-old son, Riley, through a Verizon store on a monkey backpack leash. The video was uploaded to YouTube and sparked heated online debates about parenting and discipline.

In her first national television appearance, Melissa joins the Dr. Phil Show via satellite with her attorney, Wade Hoyt, and her mother, Nancy and tells her side of the story.

What is your opinion after hearing Melissa's side of the story?

37 comments:

DownToEarth said...

If my kid was being brat and not cooperating I'd probably drag him through the store as well.

DenverNanny said...

Hmmm... if mom's being honest about this dragging "game", then it might not be that big of deal. HOWEVER, she wasn't looking when she dragging him and he could have easily been hurt. At the same time, he obviously was happy with the situation and even just from the YouTube video you can tell mom wasn't being violent or rough in any way. My first reaction was "wow, good thing that's not a nanny", because then most people prob wouldn't care that the boy's playing. As far as germs, etc mentioned on phil? I've taken kids to service type places before (including Verizon)and they usually end up bored and sitting on the floor anyway so that's a moot point to me. That's why I carry hand sanitizer...

Anonymous said...

irene said,

This is NOT a dog its a human...treat him with respect.
if your child likes to jump you let him jump out the window.??.come on..we are here to teach our kids..this was wrong..this mom is a lazy mom that gives in to winning and teaches her child to ba a spoiled rooten kid..its ok to say NO when need to be..
if you play this games at home..well we cant stop her but in public with this glasscasses and metal corners damm right we call her out on it...
punishment should be...parenting classes

Oh my God said...

Oh Geez. The kid wanted to be pulled. Let her pull him.
When I was little I would beg to be pulled around. The kid wasn't in a leash and collar. It was a soft padded harness and he was having fun.

People need to mind their own business if the kid isn't getting hurt.


And anonymous@ 12:55, "if your child likes to jump you let him jump out the window.??."

That's one of the most ignorant comments I've ever seen on here.

Obviously there is a huge difference in jumping out a window and being pulled around. Any idiot can see that.

MissMannah said...

While I also agree that this is no big deal, anyone with good judgment should be able to figure out that the dragging game should be limited to only at home. In public these days you have to be very careful about what you say or do because there's always someone with a camera phone just waiting to take your actions out of context and make you look bad.

The only thing I have a real problem is that I think a 4 year old is way too old to be wearing one of those harnesses. I only use them with my 1 or 2 year old charges.

Oh my God said...

I agree MissMannah, it should be limited to home. I would never think of doing it in public because of all the judgmental people walking around wanting to cause trouble.

But at the same time, had she told him no and he started throwing a fit, people there would have said she should have just done it, what would it hurt, or that she shouldn't have brought him if she wasn't going to let him play.

No matter what, everyone thinks they have the right to butt into other peoples parenting. He was NOT being abused. He was being humored to avoid a fit and because he was bored. I wish people would just raise their own children and leave other parents alone. (Unless, of course, there is ACTUAL abuse going on.)

Just an opinion! said...

Funny thing my daughter has this same monkey...and she has thought up this same "game"...she begs and begs to be pulled but like poster above says...WE ARE THE PARENTS and we are SUPPOSE to be smart enough to know when to say "NO" you can't do that cause it's dangerous!!

And no I don't think this woman is a bad parent she probably didn't want to fight a fit after a long wait in a Cell phone store and I can totally see where she's coming from...I feel sorry that people get in other's business too much these days!

nanny taxi said...

I did it once a while back with the same monkey leash. She sat down and I dragged her. She was laughing so hard I don't think anyone would have thought she was being abused. Eventually her shorts slipped off so we stopped.

Carmen said...

People need to focus their attention on more important things. From the very first time I saw the video my first thought was that the kid was probably laughing his ass off the whole time.

Its unbelievable to me that this mom could face jail time. All this because someone was bored enough to shoot a super short video without sound so that we can all sit around and speculate about what a supposedly awful mom she is from 13 seconds of footage.

C'mon people!

Village said...

I think it is important for parents to use their intelligence and not treat children like animals.

VAnanny said...

I think we are too quick to judge these days. EVERYONE has an opinion on what parents/childcare providers should and should not do. While this action was mildly inappropriate, it hardly constitutes abuse. The kid looked like he was having a blast. And just like the above posters, I too have used the same exact monkey leash with children who begged to be pulled around. Kids love that stuff. Like MissMannah said, this activity should be limited to the home. Some people just have way too much time on their hands. Perhaps these people should be out trying to catch real child abusers on video instead of making a mountain out of a mole hill.

And 12:55: I genuinely think there is a vast difference between playfully dragging a child and letting him jump out of the window. That is little extreme don't you think?

Janet English said...

If you pull the kid 6-9 feet and it hurts, he'd get up. It's simple. He wouldn't just go along for the ride like this kid. I believe this mother, so what if she didn't look around she knows what was behind her, he is fine. There was loads of space. And who cares about germs. What bull.

I think this title is misleading and should be changed. This is not about discipline going too far.

Marypoppin'pills said...

Janet English
It is the title of the Show to Dr. Phil's Interview with this Mom... the same Interview that is likely helping most people have a more forgiving opinion for what she did.

mom said...

MY first thought when I saw the dragging was, 'This looks like what my kids used to do to each other...for fun. Hmmm...I wonder if I ever dragged any of them?" If they asked I'm sure I probably did. The kid looks to be having fun. They LOVE this stuff. MIne tended to do this at home on the carpet (also got great joy out of dragging one another around in the plastic laundry basket with a dog leash tied to it), but if we were in an uncrowded place and it seemed like it wouldn't disrupt other patrons, I might well have allowed them to do this there...or done it myself if they asked. Anything to make those outings a little more fun for the kids is fine by me. What are they supposed to do, stand like statues? And in phone stores it is very typical to see children playing on the floor. It takes FOREVER in there sometimes.
His mom may just have enough spatial awareness to know when and where to turn to keep him form hitting the corners, even without looking back. And if she erred in her estimation and ACCIDENTALLY bumped him on something, Im sure she would have felt just awful...but it's still not abuse, and definitely not criminal.

I'm all for catching abusers...but really, just actual abusers. Not people who are playing with their kids in a way that the kids really enjoy but that some busybody doesn't happen to care for. Too bad the photographer of this little game wasn't on the Dr. Phil show.

nannyneedsanap said...

One day my four year old didn't want to leave pre-school. He was all bundled up in his snowsuit, laying on the floor in the hallway refusing to move. Sure I could have picked him up and he would have kicked and screamed and had a tantrum. Instead I made it fun. I grabbed the hood of his snowsuit and dragged him the hall. He laughed so hard, he forgot about not wanting to leave and stood up and walked out the door with me. I'd hate to think I could have gone to jail for that!

mom said...

The more I look at this video, the more I am appalled that it got as far as it did.

Even if it was a way to get him from point A to point B if he refused to walk himself (which it isn't in this case), it didn't hurt him at all. She's not hitting him. She's not yelling at him. She's not yanking him by the shoulder or threatening him. Maybe if he was bare backed and getting a rug burn it would be different, but he's not. Maybe if she was yanking him angrily it would be different, but she is not. Maybe if he was yowling in pain and she kept on goingit would be different, but he is not.

Meanwhile, other people do things like leave kids home alone, beat them, burn them, mentally abuse them, take drugs in front of them, lay around sloshed all day while they should be caring for them, and on and on and on...and the system too often gives those people a slap on the wrist..or maybe takes the kids away for just a little bit while the parents take a parenting class, and then send the kids back into the home for more abuse. And yet somebody is actually considering trying to send this mom to prison!!!?? Crazy!

Momkat said...

This is a lot like the parents who were arrested because of the bathtub photos. Law enforcement spends a lot of time on junk like this...meanwhile kids are left to live in dangerous situations until true disaster happens. Look at the Jaycee story. Neighbors called, the cops visited...and no one bothered to investigate the backyard. Where is the common sense?

Anonymous said...

To respond to "oh my god"...
you dont get it..accidents happen very very fast and then its toooo late..i am RN in a emergency room and about 1 year ago we got 3 kids that were killed by her mom.she backed out of the garage and she drove over all 3 of her girls. she told us later they did not wanted to get off the sled so she pushed them to the side and look what happend." mind your own business" tell that to the neighbor of the 3 girls..she watched it all and said nothing..and NEVER will forget that moment.. you are the adult and YOU and her should have more brain... you sound very ignorant...
we should wait until she pulls the kid until he hits the corner then the fun is over..come on wake up.. ( its was very close). then what..you will still say its ok???
come on get with it..its an accident waiting to happen...

Vanessa said...

The kid seems pretty content in my opinion. The video doesn't show any type of abuse.

Oh my God said...

Annon at 1:03,

Are you honestly comparing a bumped head to being ran over by a car?

And I sound ignorant?

mom said...

Guys,
The point is that, with all of the REAL, cases of child abuse an neglect going on out there, the rest of us really ought to have better things to do than scrutinizing and passing judgment on one another's parenting styles.
If it's not harmful to the kids, it's nobody else's business, really. And for apparently half the country to get up in arms about the way this mom PLAYS with her child is nuts. This is not a situation where there was a realistic possibility for serious injury. And he didn't even bump his head, which means...DUH...mom realized where the corner was and steered around it.
How many of you have pushed a child out of a swing by accident? Tripped one? Accidentally scratched your child?
Once I was ice skating and grabbed my six year old by the arms and pulled him along forward as I skated backwards. I thought he would like it, but he was scared. I assured him he was safe...until I caught a dimple in the ice, lost my balance and ended up basically throwing him across the ice. He splayed out on his belly like a starfish and spun in circles as he careened out of control halfway across the rink before coming to a stop...terrified and in tears. (Not to mention fairly miffed at me.) Did I feel really bad? Yes! But God forbid somebody with a camera phone had been nearby. I might then have ended up in jail instead of being home to do all of the nice mommy things he needed me to do for him. Sometimes accidents do happen, but we can't live in bubbles.
My kids and I talk about fond childhood memories all the time. I wouldn't be surprised if one day this little guy from the video has fond memories of his "monkey rides." (That is, if the people who are rudely accosting his mom in public are not doing it in front of him and making him feel bad about them.)

And BTW, anybody idiotic enough to verbally attack this mom in public in front of her child is doing that child far more harm than anything than they think might have happened in that phone store.

djembé said...

I think it is important for parents to use their intelligence and not treat children like animals.

Well DUH. This child wasn't being treated like an animal so what's your point? Sheesh idiotic sentiments like this are why shit like this gets completely blown out of proportion.

MinuteMuggle said...

I agree with MomKat:

put me down for what she said!

Phoenix said...

When I was a kid I loved being pulled around, I would lay on blankets and get pulled, I would hold onto legs and get pulled.

Hey you know what I also did... I had mom on one side and dad on the other. They both held my hands and lifted me into the air so I could swing!!!

Guess what today that would be child abuse because they were pulling my arms right out of there sockets and I would be scarred for life!! Too may idiots are too absorbed in their own dimented little world that they don't even know when a child is laughing. Everyone should get a grip! mind their own damn business, and if they don't like it... well eff em.

mom said...

Hi Phoenix! Yes, the dreaded arm swing torture! I had forgotten all about that.
We did that to our kids too. And tossed them up in the air an caught them too (Although I must admit I tossed them gingerly, with the ever present thought of shaken baby syndrome on my mind.)

My husband brought me a video right after he taught or daughter how to ride bike. It consisted of her falling on the pavement at least six times, dragging herself, unassisted, out from underneath the wreckage and trying again. A couple of times she wiped away angry tears. (This undoubtedly coincided with her "I do it myself" phase.) The video is ghastly looking and I questioned my husband about how he could possibly have let her do that. He sad, "Awww. She had fun! She wanted to do it." Then my daughter piped up and told me that she had fun and didn't get hurt. Her main concern was whether I was proud of her for learning to ride a big girl bike all by herself.

VAnanny said...

Angel, you do know that the person in this post was the mother? It was not the nanny!

Marypoppin'pills said...

VAnanny
It was SPAM. Angel got kicked to the curb.

oh well said...

Children don't get scarred for life if their arms are being pulled out of their sockets, but they do need to have it pushed back by a professional to recover the use of their limb. I had a kid who was prone to it at some point so I am not a fan of the arm swing.
As for the video, I suppose the kid is having fun and that the mom is coping as well as she could (I think mothers should be allowed a touch of harmless insanity once in a while). I do not think that her behavior is quite appropriate for the situation, though.

cali mom said...

If that's the totality of "her side of the story" (that he allegedly begged her to drag him across the filthy floor through the store full of strangers and...out to their car, across the evenn filthier parking lot?!) I'd say that yes, I am definitely in favor of forced sterilization, even in such a case as this where it's too little ttoo late.

A tiny bit of stating the obvious for parents too stupid to think of these things beforehand: plan ahead. Bring a stroller for a child who may get too tired to walk, don't drag a tired child on boring errands and be surprised when it gets problematic, if a 4 year old proposes a bad idea, explain to them why it's a bad idea and figure out a sensible solution. As an adult and a parent, that's your JOB.

cali mom said...

To clarify, I don't think she should get jail time but I am glad she has been publicly embarrased for her complete lack of judgement.

Yes, my son loves to play that game at home too, but if he wanted to play it in a Verizon store, I'd say a)Boisterous behaviour like that is not appropriate in public, b)it's too germy on the floor here c)people might not undersand that we were just playing and c)you're a big enough kid to deal with walking a short distance back to our car even when you're tired. I can totally understand the parallel between letting a kid jump out a window and letting him get dragged across the flooor through a store just because he wants to. It's a bad idea that a parent shouldn't cave in to.

etereia said...

Oooh, give the woman a break. The kid is happy, the mom gets to avoid a fit, the child is, at least, gathering germies from the floor and not from a public bathroom handle, for example...people do get a little too overzealous sometimes.

Deb said...

I agree with Cali- bad decision, hope the mom learns from this.

Mom, I really wish you'd quit with the "DUH". You seem so charming otherwise.

hello said...

Just a mom that probably lost her patience. As my child gets older it does seem to get harder at times

Anni said...

On the internet, all moms are bad and subject to scrutiny from other moms.

Differences in parenting? NO SUCH THING!

Lola said...

Mom~

That reminds me of a time we took the kids to the skating rink. One of the girls was taunting her brother, who was very nervous about how sharp the ice skate's edge is. She was saying he was gonna cut himself, haha. I assured him that while the edge was very sharp and you had to be careful with it, that he was going to be fine and though it could cut you, that it wasn't going to happen (I was trying to give him confidence to get on the ice)......

well wouldn't you know, fifteen minutes into the skate session, he falls and his leg twists up and the edge of the skate goes right into his other leg, gashing it horribly, blood everywhere. He had to go to the emergency room and get stitches!

I felt like a big jerk....I had told him it wouldn't happen, and it did...but it wasn't my FAULT. True you cannot live in a bubble.

Lola said...

I am not defending the mom in the video, though. I think what she did was stupid.

Emily said...

I think it's hilarious! What is the big deal? Even if he was misbehaving and wouldn't get up or something, i would have done that. He was obviously not hurt in any way either.