Have you ever said or done something to your kids that you later regretted?
Let's be real. In the heat of the moment – when you've been pushed too far after a long day, when you're tired of repeating yourself over and over and over again, when the sass back hits you in just the wrong spot at the wrong time – many of us have lashed out, either verbally or physically.
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Would you act differently if you knew you were being video taped? And that millions of people might be watching you on YouTube?
Texas family law judge William Adams is rethinking the lashing he gave his 16-year-old daughter seven years ago after more than 6.4 million people watched the disturbing video she secretly recorded and uploaded to the Internet. Adams, who presides over child abuse cases, is being investigated by the state's judicial conduct commission and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, while some child advocates shocked by the video are calling for his firing.
His daughter, Hillary Adams, now 23, posted the eight-minute clip on YouTube in late October. The video shows her father cursing and viciously beating her with a belt, trying to force her to bend over her bed to be beaten despite her wails and pleas to stop. At one point, her mother joins in and tells her to "take it like a woman."
The daughter's crime? Illegally downloading games and music from the Internet.
Like many people from my generation, I suffered my share of childhood spankings. I grew up in a very strict household. Yet this video brought tears to my eyes. This was no slap or two on the backside. It's an agonizing eight minutes that starts to feel like mental and physical torture after awhile. The dad's rantings about evil computers make the episode seem even more Draconian.
Is the video a daughter's delayed revenge on an overly strict father? Or the out-of-context result of a father furious at a daughter defying his orders and the law?
Regardless of how you feel about parents using corporal punishment , the real issue here is whether fewer moms or dads would resort to it – or screaming or abusive behavior – if they thought their kids might be filming them.
Few of us (hopefully) get as out of control as Judge Adams, but next time you're about to flip out on your child, you may want to ask yourself: What would 5 million YouTube viewers think?