Did you ever take a video of your toddler saying a swear word, either on purpose or accidentally? A two-year-old in Omaha has been removed by protective services after a now-viral video of the parents cussing at him resulted in a joint investigation between Omaha police and Child Protective Services. A Facebook post by the police cites "safety concerns" as cause for removal.
Honestly, I couldn't watch much of the video because it hurt my heart.
See for yourself:
I feel like I need to wash my ears out with soap. This is no monster-ass kicking three-year-old. That's some serious... stuff... coming out of that baby's mouth.
The story takes a turn, however, when you focus in on how the Omaha Police Officers Association then posted the video on their website for the following reason:
"We have an obligation to share it to continue to educate the law abiding public about the terrible cycle of violence and thuggery that some young innocent children find themselves helplessly trapped in."
If we're pointing fingers at people for making bad choices with words, the use of the word "thuggery" (which they attempt to defend) needs pointed at as well -- -- along with their posting of the video, with the child’s face clearly shown.
Willie Hamilton, executive director of Black Men United in Omaha, said the police union didn't have to post the video to promote discussion about helping families overcome poverty. "It's almost like the kid was abused twice: once by the people in the video and once by the police officers association."
I remember, in my old house, I’d often hear a neighbor cuss at her sons, repeatedly. Every time one of those words would escape her lips while I was in earshot, my heart broke. For the boys, for the mother, for my own boys hearing the exchange just because we happened to be playing outside in our own yard. I'm not saying my kids have never uttered a cuss word. There was the phase of "shrunk" coming out as the f-word, which we giggled at and maybe encouraged. Each of our sons has managed to repeat a not-so-clean word, overheard on days out with their great-grandfather.
But I've never thought to direct foul language at my kids, as a joke or in anger. Then again, that's just my own personal and cultural perspective. I do see that the child is not crying but laughing, and that his family is engaging with him. I don’t know the whole story. The lines around what is right and what is wrong, whether or not this family needed investigating at all, seem to have blurred. When the police union uses thug, a dehumanizing, racially-tinged word, I feel even more like something deeper is amiss.
So many things went wrong with here, but at the heart of it, a two-year-old little boy and his siblings (also removed from the home) are enduring a very confusing transition in their lives. I can only hope that as the dust settles on this unfortunate time, someone speaks to them in words and tones laced with love and acceptance. All of our children deserve that much.
Edited to add: My gut-instinct is right, as the mother, 16-years-old, also has been taken into custody -- with her child. The video was taken while she was out of the room and posted without her permission. My heart breaks for this mother and child.
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