Dialogue is an overrated technique

This has got to be the best video I have watched in ages: A woman in the United States was caught on video a few weeks ago pummeling her son in public, after she caught him participating in a violent riot in their home city.

Toya Graham from Baltimore, Maryland, pounded the young man with such severity that all attention shifted from the riots to her.

The teenager had joined a protest in town in which residents engaged city police in running battles. His mother learned of his shenanigans after she saw him on TV. She rushed downtown and ventured deep into the crowd, pulled him away from the melee and pounced on him.

The lanky youth was seen offering some sort of apology, but an enraged Mama Graham would hear none of it. She boxed and kicked him then pulled off his mask, revealing a lad who looked just a year or two shy of 20.

The boy withstood his mother’s rage for a while, but wisely walked off after things got too hot, with momma hot on his heels. She was seen raving and ranting in the manner of angry weighbridge clients, but much of her rant was censored, so all you hear are beeps amidst high-pitched shrieks.

In the end, the little activist scampers off across the street, but mama pursued and caught up with him. She finally frog marched the activist away from the scene, while treating him to some more GSU-esque beatings.

Opinion remains divided on the matter, with most people congratulating Graham for her act. Others — particularly those who know nothing about the challenges of raising a teenager — have faulted her for what they term a “barbaric” approach.

Fewer hooligans

One of my Facebook friends, borrowing the words of a famous university scholar, described her as an “obnoxious, belligerent and cantankerous mother”, whose action has caused “plenty of consternation, discomposure and discomfiture among the global parenting community”.

As a father to two teenage boys, I have for the past few days nursed a deep admiration for this heroine. Now here is a parent who means business.

With more mothers of Mama Graham’s kind around, there would be fewer hooligans and other cantankerous characters in our streets, homes, schools and even some county assemblies.

I can picture Mama Jimmy watching the 1pm news one day and seeing Jimmy at the fore of a violent riot staged by his schoolmates some place in town.

Rather than exclaim what a terrible generation of youth we have, and blame it all on the Government, she would immediately swing into Recce Squad mode.

She would halt all activity, hop onto the nearest boda boda and cruise to town in such haste that she would even forget the lesso on her waist and shower cap on her head.

Once in town, she would pull her son from the riot and administer on him a cinematic beating that would comprise several uppercuts and a few well-aimed karate chops.

She would then drag him homeward by the ears while berating him all the way, paying no attention to his schoolmates who would then be giggling while filming the moment.

Mama Jimmy, however, had a problem with Mama Graham’s technique. “That woman is a monster!” she exclaimed, after we watched the viral clip last Sunday. “That was a terrible way to treat her child!”

When I asked her to prescribe a better method than Mama Graham’s, all I got was the tired old twaddle about “dialogue.”

“Counselling remains the best approach, dear. Teenagers need love and guidance, not assault,” she preached.

She thinks she is being civil and modern with this guidance and counselling hoopla, but I am not planning to raise the hooligans of tomorrow.

In cases like these, a teenager must face some tough parental love. If my son ever joins some senseless rampage in which people’s cars are pelted with stones and shops looted, all because the school’s cook forgot to add a few molecules of sugar to their morning porridge, I will personally square it out with him.