Incarceration & Childhood: 5 Alarming Similarities



Recently I watched an old episode of Scared Straight. On the show parents send their out of control children to live amongst prisoners so they will get their shit straight before they actually end up in real prison. While watching I realized three things:
1. There should be a suburban version of Scared Straight where we send spoiled children from the streets of suburbia to the big house so they can see just how good they have it. We could create a reality show spinoff and call it Scared Straight in Suburbia. Maybe the prisoners could come live in suburban homes...Hey Mom and Dad, meet my new friend Tiny Tim, which totally sounds like the name of an inmate.  
**Aside: To come up with your own prison name you can visit Prison Bitch Name Generator. My husband's prison name is Famous Anus. I can't share mine as it is may be offensive to one or multiple groups. And prisonbitch graced the 2 year old with the lovely and disturbing moniker, Jailhouse Cock. You won't see that on his name tag next year at preschool.
2. I am not the worst parent in the world, though I feel that I am close especially after revealing the two-year-old's prison name. But honestly the Scared Straight parents make me feel better about myself. And isn't that all we really want, to feel better about our own shortcomings? 
3. I realized parenthood, when viewed in the correct light, is very similar to prisonhood. Don't believe me? Read on and you will. Either that or you'll think I'm crazy. 

Illustration 1. The children locking themselves up.
  • 3 squares a day--This is something we as parents ensure our kids receive daily. A starch, a protein and a veggie or fruit as well as milk or water. Of course our meals are cooked at home with love, or purchased at Whole Foods. 
  • Solitary is more than a time out, but less than a grounding. Basically, it's when you send your kid to his or her room to mull things over away from the rest of the general population (aka other siblings) usually because they were committing some act of assholery often directed at said siblings. 
  • The Yard--In suburbia it is made up of a swing set where kids fight over the swings, though they are all the same. In prison the swing set is actually a workout bench where guys do sets or discuss illicit prison activity. The suburban yard also has grass instead of concrete, but other than that they are almost the same. The Yard is a daily part of life for kids and inmates, and spending time in the yard cuts down on obesity, television viewing, and, in suburbia, it keeps the kids out of the house.
  • The System--Inmates are part of The Penal System, your kids are part of The School System and when either spends too much time in the system (for your kids 12-18 years depending on whether they choose to attend college and/or graduate school) they want to bust out. Of course when they do they never seem ready. Often inmates so deeply ingrained in the system for long periods return because they don't know how to live on the outside. Kids often return home after college because the real world is a bit too real. 
  • Terminology--Even this can relate to childhood. For example a Monkey Mouth is a prisoner who goes on and on about nothing. How often has this happened with your toddler or ten-year-old? And how many times has one or more of your kids dipped in the kool aid? Which basically means they've entered a conversation they should stay out of. Face it, kids are nosy. Your business somehow becomes theirs. And a personal favorite, dry snitching--when one inmate or child speaks loudly about another to rat them out without really ratting them out. And in prison the term for a gang's headquarters is Grandma's House, in our house it's called a fort and may or may not be made up of chairs, blankets, and pilfered heavy books (think Stephen King hardcover or old college textbooks) from the parent bookcase. 
And there you have the most absurd blog post I've ever written. But you have to admit that the similarities are alarming or maybe  what's alarming is that I'd spend so much time thinking and writing about them. Either way, until next time...

If you are interested in reading more from me please click on the image with the pissed off monkey below.




3 comments:

  1. Famous ANus??! LMAO! And the Yard yes! Your poor kids in that cage....actually great idea!

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