Chloé Taylor Brown was aghast when she saw a Savannah mother striking and berating her 16-year-old daughter on Facebook Live.
The video, which has gone viral, shows the woman repeatedly cursing, hitting and slapping the teenager, first with a long plastic or wooden object, then her hands. She was angry about risque photos of her daughter and her boyfriend on Facebook.
Was the mother out of bounds? Was it abuse? As a parent, did she have every right to discipline her daughter as she saw fit?
“It was very demeaning to herself and her daughter,” said Taylor Brown, of Sandy Springs, an executive coach and author of several books, including “Girl-Swag: A Global Girl’s Curriculum for Personal Development & Lifestyle Enhancement.” “It was really humiliating and it made me cringe.”
In the YouTube video, which has been taken down, the mother screams at her daughter and accuses the teen of trying to embarrass her on social media. “You wanna try me, right? ” she yells. “You wanna be a THOT on Facebook, right?” THOT is a derogatory term for a female. The girl tries to shield herself and appears to be crying.
At one point as the scene is recorded, the mother asks people to share it.
“That’s just not the way to discipline,” said Tarshia Stanley, an associate professor of English at Spelman College who specializes in media studies and pop culture. “I have a really jaded stance on social media and the way people use it to raise their children. I don’t think it was appropriate to put this video up.
“I think it was misinformed parenting,” said Stanley who teaches a parenting class at her church. “I tell them I have never met a parent who doesn’t love their children.” Some, though “are parenting they way they were parented. I think we’re handed down a lot of things that we don’t necessarily need to pass forward.”
Taylor Brown, who has four children age 16 to 30, said, “I think it was a lack of knowledge of how to parent. My children have not been perfect, none of our children are, but we have to put some thought into discipline and not just jump off, beat our children and post on social media. I think it’s child abuse.”
The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department is investigating after receiving several phone calls and Facebook messages from people who saw the video. The Special Victims Unit has looked into the case, and officers have spoken with the mother and daughter.
Although the daughter says she feels safe in her home, the case has also been referred to the Department of Children and Family Services for follow-up, according to a statement. There are no charges pending.
The girl posted a message later, on what appears to be her Facebook page, apologizing for embarrassing her mother: “I Shouldnt even been doing what i did.”
The posting goes on to sayshe “understands why she did what she did. Everybody laughing and making reenactments Sharing my pictures im seeing everything… I kno next time to just keep my business to myself.”
There was no response to a message sent to that Facebook page.
The video is just the latest showing parents using what some may call excessive force to discipline their children. In 2015, a video was circulated showing a wheelchair-bound man using a belt to beat his teenage daughter for being rude and disrespectful and talking to men.
Wendy Eley Jackson an Atlanta-based filmmaker and mom, said, “I’m not sure if whipping a child at the ripe old age of 16 is going to effectively change their behavior.
“I won’t judge this mother’s behavior because I don’t know how many times her daughter had defied her before she took this action,” she said. “However, I will say that it would not have been an appropriate response for me.”
Eley Jackson’s mother died when she was 12. Although she got spankings or was pinched when misbehaving, there was never a punishment that could cause physical harm. “My parents wanted to let me know that my defiance and disobedience was not going to me tolerated. Once I had children, I took a similar disciplinary path but also took the time to find out why they were acting out and I wanted to know the root cause to their behaviors. Time-outs, taking toys away, things like that, were a part of my disciplinary regimen and I rarely got physical with them.”
Kathy Glover, an Atlanta certified professional life coach specializing in mother-daughter relationships, said parents can’t “discipline out of anger and frustration.”
Instead, the Savannah mom should have stepped back, calmed down then determined the appropriate punishment. “There didn’t seem to have been effective communication about the way she (the daughter) should present herself in relationships.” Beatings, she said, can actually cause a reverse reaction.
Instead of submission, it can “build up a spirit of rebellion.”