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greg-hornI’m sure by now you’ve read about and/or saw the video of a father, Greg Horn who walked in on two of his daughters, age 12 and 14 who were “twerking on camera”,(i.e. gyrating of the lower body in a lascivious manner, similar to dance moves usually performed by strippers: For those of you who are visual learners, see an example here) for a video camera. Consequently this father immediately began “whipping” them with a cable cord. The entire whipping incident was caught on video. Of course the video (WARNING: it’s a bit graphic) went viral and as a result, the father has been charged with child abuse, child endangerment, and more.

There have been very strong, mixed, reactions to the incident. On one hand you have those who believe the father’s actions were entirely inappropriate and abusive. On the other hand you have those who believe the father was justified in disciplining his daughters considering their behavior.

I wrote on this last year when a video of William Adams was published online containing graphic footage of him beating his daughter with a belt as punishment for improperly using the internet.

Now, I grew up in the age where what they are now calling “corporal punishment” was the customary practice of discipline throughout society. Things are very different nowadays when it comes to how a parent may lawfully discipline their child; back in the day, getting “whoopins” or “spankings” was very common.  Parents used belts, switches (from trees), flip-flops, paddles, or whatever else was within arms reach when children were out of control.  I remember our school deans used to “paddle” children who were frequently in trouble.  Laws have changed so much over the years, the differentiation between “abuse” and “discipline” is unclear and confusing. Now, those who use this form of discipline get the side eye and are frequently being labeled as “abusive”.

The defining lines that differentiate child-abuse and acceptable discipline vary across the country. Generally, parents do have the right to physically discipline their children so long as they are reasonable, and don’t cause bodily injury. “Spanking” your child with your hand or an object, for disciplinary purposes will probably not be considered child abuse unless it becomes unreasonable or excessive. Generally, child abuse is defined as a cruel or inhuman corporal punishment or any injury that results in a “traumatic condition”.

In the Greg Horn case, so many things (other than the whipping itself) went totally wrong in this situation.  There are several things parents should learn from this situation.

  1. Who in their right mind would video and/or allow someone to video this stuff????? SMH…
  2. Know your children, especially your teens.  So many parents have no idea what their children are doing, who they know, and what they know, because they “don’t want to talk about it”. Talk to them about inappropriate behavior and the consequences for such.  These young girls are learning to “twerk” from somewhere.  My guess is probably on tv, the internet,friends, at parties, etc. We have to teach and encourage our children to do better. Re-direct them to role models who are doing the opposite of what you don’t want them doing.
  3. Even if we do know and talk to our children, there will be several instances where they won’t listen and will do the unexpected.  We parents know that.  So, when this happens, we have to stop, think, and address the situation appropriately.  Now, I’m not saying that I don’t believe in spanking. HOWEVER…physically disciplining your child when you are angry, before you have had the opportunity to reflect, is NOT A GOOD IDEA…Especially if you’re a grown man (because of the heightened level of strength when angry).  In this case, Greg Horn was so angry that the force used left injuries on the children,including open wounds.  Parents must remember, the goal is to teach your children discipline, not to cause serious injury.

Since I don’t know anything about this family and the specifics of their household, it’s hard for me to say whether Greg Horn’s reaction was reasonable. Sometimes all some kids need is a lil butt-whooping to re-direct their  behavior.  But, I can say that his actions seem to be excessive, as he allegedly caused serious injury to these girls.  If It were my child who came home with marks and bleeding,  I probably would’ve freaked out like their mom did and called somebody. Not sure if this is the first time this has happened or if it was an isolated incident. There are so many things to be considered.

I personally do not know how I would have reacted if these were my daughters.  I do know I would have been very upset, as I’m not  raising and/or allowing any 12 and 14-year-old “hoochie mamas” or “strippers in training” in my house.  I must admit, my emotions were mixed while watching the video as I couldn’t help but cringe as I watched it thinking 1)”ouch!!, that must have hurt….but also 2)I bet they won’t do that again.”

What about you? Do you think Greg Horn properly disciplined his girls? How do you think you would have reacted?