When we talk about what kind of "punishment" a kid "deserves" when doing something "wrong," things can get heated. We all have different beliefs and many of us respect other people's beliefs unless it involves something harmful -- something that is so bad, it lands the parent doing the punishing in jail. But this story of one father who was thrown in jail for punishing his son leaves me very conflicted.
Charlie Mayes is a 40-year-old military veteran who lives in Georgia. He has no criminal record. Lives in a nice home. His 16-year-old son had been skipping out on doing his homework and chores and watching too many videos. Mayes, with the approval of his wife, who is the child's mom, handed down a punishment being called "military style" and made the kid carry a 23-pound landscape stone for three miles. Mayes was put in jail because of this.
This isn't the type of punishment I would ever think of for my kids. I will admit that I'm more of a talk it out kind of parent; I'm vehemently against spanking, and the word punishment when relating to my kids makes me cringe. I also don't have a 16-year-old yet.
I'm still not convinced that Mayes deserved the punishment he got for punishing his son. This whole thing came to the police's attention when a pizza delivery person called them to alert them of this kid's punishment walks. A lot of stress was put on the 16-year-old's size -- he is 4 feet, 2 inches and weighs around 144 pounds. He was seen walking the highway with this 23-pound piece of rock for around three miles. "This was done multiple times over a three-day period, sometimes as early as 3 o'clock in the morning," Police Sgt. Todd Garner said.
The 3 o'clock in the morning part is a bit startling, but I don't know the details of this family's life. Maybe the father or mother works very early and getting up at that hour is routine. I also don't think the highway was a good choice -- I'd worry about cars not seeing the kid in the dark. The police officer added, "In between that time, he was at home having to move rocks and stuff from one side of the back yard to the other and then being taken right back out to the same location and dropped off and made to walk back again."
A little senseless, yes. Maybe the child could have been told he had to mow the lawn, finish painting the family room, help out with the grocery shopping -- something more productive? But that's me, my choices on what I think when it comes to "punishment." Still, this father wasn't hurting his son, he didn't physically harm him, or humiliate him making him wear a sign while he walked that said, "I didn't do my homework so now I carry this stone" like the parents who made their daughter wear an "I steal ..." t-shirt to school. I would still never hand down this type of punishment to my kids, nor would I approve of it. But I really don't think this dad was being cruel to his child. He didn't deserve the punishment he got for punishing his son -- in jail and out on $3,500 bail.
The family was ordered to get counseling together and maybe, hopefully, it will just bring them all closer together and more homework and chores will get done so the parents don't have to think of other "punishments."
What do you think? Did this father deserve jail time and child cruelty charges?