I Saw the Root Causes of Abusive Behavior in a Young Boy
Published: Monday, October 21, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 21, 2013 14:10
Since I’m taking a class at MSUM, I take the bus from NDSU to the Ground Transportation Center and then from GTC to MSUM on every other weekday. Often times I like to observe people when I travel by bus because I’m fascinated by their looks and the way they speak, and I like to detect their unique charms and disguises. I feel like I can never get bored by looking at people.
However, last Wednesday when I was riding the bus from GTC, I experienced something rather shocking.
While I was riding the bus, I saw a family of a mother and four children. Two of the children were boys and the other two were girls. The girls were younger and the boys were older. The youngest girl sat on one of those stroller wheels. She must have been three or four years old. The other girl sat by herself and on her hand there was a packed sandwich that she tried to nibble but she could not break the package.
The boys were approximately six to seven years old. Throughout the bus ride they were trying to play around. The mother was carrying a bag full of groceries and she was trying to take care of all of her kids at the same time. The kids were making various noises in the bus and one of the young boys was trying stand up from his seat and jump around the bus.
The mother pushed him violently to the seat and screamed at him asking to sit down. He fought fiercely to get away from her iron grip the more she pushed.
“Stay there!” she screamed.
And then something happened that left me speechless with utter incredulity.
The boy screamed the F-word at his mother, so loud that the entire bus became silent. But even more shockingly, I saw hatred in the little boy’s eyes. A feeling that was putting him in extreme agony.
The mother tried to act calmly, and she talked to one of the students in the bus.
“This is how my little sister talks.” She smiled in an unusual manner. I felt like she was trying to justify this horrible situation by implying that her son learned these words from her own sister. Even though she was trying to act calm, I saw signs of panic in her.
She was trying to convince the people around her that she was a good mother by trying to be over cautious. But the more she tried, the more she lost control of the situation. The boy that screamed was silent. He was crying when he was shouting at his mom, but now there was only calmness on his little face. This calmness was an unusual and unjust one—in other words, a reconciliation achieved by violence.
The image of that young boy sitting in silence stuck with me. I’m not a parent and I have no idea how to do parenting, but by observing this incident I saw how a young boy learned to be violent. And I what if, as an adult, he would continue this abusive behavior to his children? I pray for his safety and well being and education now, but I don’t know what will happen.
Over and over again in the media, we hear about men committing violent crimes. I’m not trying to use this incident to justify the violence committed by men in this world by any means. There are many social, political, cultural and personal factors that contribute to violent behavior in men. But I’m showing you a root cause of violence in how young men learn and practice abusive behavior and how parents are responsible for it.
The boy learned that abusive language was the way of revenge. If young boys are to be raised like this, how can we expect them to be loving people?
We have to look after our young boys and raise them with unconditional love so they will not learn violence as a form of reconciliation. There is not a special formula to teach this kid to get rid of his abusive behavior.
I’m not a parent but I know from all the truths that I know in my life, showing love, kindness and respect will change his life.
The other day, I was walking on the NDSU campus. I saw another young boy with a father. The boy was tall enough to stretch his arms to reach one of those hand sanitizers that you see close to the MU the salad bar. The dad was patiently waiting until the boy put some sanitizer on his hand and the dad lowered his whole body and showed the boy how to use the sanitizer.
When I saw this, at once I knew it was love. An unconditional act of love of a parent.
Samantha is a senior majoring in journalism.