Imagine someone is sitting on a couch, drinking a cup of juice, watching TV, just chilling, when suddenly she despite all care accidentally spills some juice on the cushion. Someone else sees this and screams at her for doing this. Doesn’t matter the spiller felt bad enough already for having done so. No, this other person felt the need to scream at her.
Goodness, I can see the second person not wanting her couch cushions stained but lighten up!
Oh, have I mentioned the first person is the young daughter of the second person?
Yet somehow that makes a difference here.
And there’s excuses for such different treatment. Had the spiller been the close in age sister or friend of the screamer, we’d have little trouble seeing her behavior as problematic, going nuts on someone for a small accident. Yet when the spiller is a child and the screamer her mother? Suddenly it’s all about “teaching her what she did was wrong”. And if there were a third person seeing or hearing about this scenario and dared to speak up saying “goodness, it was just an accident, not the end of the world” then would come the well-worn “don’t interfere with how I deal with my child!”
It’s considered virtuous perhaps to intervene or speak up, even if a total stranger, when you happen upon someone treating another in a harsh or abusive way. When it’s an adult treating a child in a harsh or abusive way, however, then the “correct” thing to do is ignore it and stay out of it.
Continue reading “Common Decency”