So, I’ve been pitching in as the "Real Talk Mom" over at Momtourage, doling out, well, real talk to moms looking for help dealing with their parenting dilemmas. Recently, a mom wrote asking for advice on how to talk to her kids about the Chris Brown/Rihanna domestic violence incident, and I think I did a pretty decent job giving her some solid talking points—talking points I had to give my own daughter to help her make sense of all the gossip and innuendo she’d been hearing about the incident in her 4th grade class.
Now, I expect tweens and teens to say dumb stuff like what the kids were talking in last week’s New York Times “Teenage Girls Stand By Their Man” story; 9th graders, whose mamas are clearly falling down on the job, were flat out saying Rihanna got what she had coming for making her boyfriend mad, and that Brown shouldn’t be punished because he and his girlfriend had kissed and made up. “So he shouldn’t get into trouble if she doesn’t feel that way,” one girl said. “She probably feels bad that it was her fault, so she took him back.”
Imagine my shock, then, when I got a gander of the raucous e-shouting match over at Momtourage, where presumably grown women—mothers!—are suggesting that maybe, just maybe, Rihanna got what she had coming because she hit Brown, and that she was equally culpable for the whipping that allegedly led to her looking like this:
What in the world is wrong with people?
The fact of the matter is that while none of us ever wants our child to have to face such heady issues at this young of an age, they ARE talking about the incident, and it's our duty as parents to help them understand how to process the stories floating around. I feel reasonably confident that I've taught my daughter that she shouldn't ever physically hit ANYONE—girl or boy—in anger, and that it is NEVER acceptable for a boy/man to hit a girl/woman—period. No matter who said what/who hit who in that car that night, the bottom line is that Rihanna should NOT have emerged with her face looking the way it did. NOBODY deserves that. And I especially don't want my son thinking it's okay to do that to a woman, or my daughters to think a man who would do that to them should be forgiven and taken back.
How many little girls are learning different—from their mothers? And why would any mother think it’s okay to have her daughter date/love/stay with/defend a man who settles arguments by beating his woman like a grown ass man? What happened to the "teachable moment" thing--you know, when you use an incident like this as an example to impart your wisdom and family values on the kids? Can someone please help me make sense of this?