In the News
Madlyn Primoff Kicks Kids Out of Car
Was it really that bad?
-Julie Ryan Evans
“If you don’t stop it, I’m going to pull this car over right now…” An idle threat for most parents, but not for Madlyn Primoff, an Ivy-League-educated New York attorney and mother.
Earlier this week Primoff did, in fact, pull the car over and promptly kicked out her squabbling daughters, 10 and 12, in downtown White Plains, N.Y., three miles from their home.
Somehow the 12-year-old got back into the car after giving chase; the 10-year-old was picked up by a sympathetic motorist and taken for ice cream and to police.
Primoff reportedly circled back a few times looking for the 10-year-old, but didn’t find her so she returned home -to her $2 million home nonetheless – to report her missing. When she arrived at the police station, she was arrested and charged with misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child. While it has since been lifted, the original order specified that she couldn’t even see her daughters.
Her actions have sparked a flurry of feedback this week around the world from those outraged by her actions to those shouting “good for you.”
While all of the details aren’t in, from what I’ve read to date, I don’t think what she did so bad. And she certainly doesn’t belong in AOL’s “Parent Criminal Cases” slideshow alongside a man charged with “holding down his 7-year-old son while another man tattooed a dog paw on the child’s belly” or a woman charged with “stabbing her 2-year-old daughter with scissors 100 times and attempting to strangle the toddler with an electrical cord.”
If the girls were 5 and 3, it would be a different story. But 10 and 12, three miles from their home in an upscale part of town? Sure, the world is a scary place, and someone could have abducted her or she could have gotten hit by a car while crossing the street. But those things could happen when any 10-year-old is walking to school or strolling around a mall without a parent. Are you going to arrest their parents too?
So much of parenting is a judgment call. There are parents who let their children do things I would never consider letting mine do, but they’re their children. And while I may consider letting a 5-year-old ride a two-wheel bike in the street without a helmet too dangerous, my neighbor isn’t being arrested for letting hers do so.
Sure Primoff could have/should have tried other discipline tactics. And maybe she did; maybe she didn’t. But the fact is she didn’t hit them; she didn’t intentionally harm them. Maybe she needed to take a break from them so she didn’t reach back there and whack someone. She knew the area she was letting them off in; she knew the maturity of her girls. While she probably made a heated decision, it wasn’t a decision intended to harm them. And if reports are accurate, she did circle back, so she was probably just trying to scare them.
Should the law really get that involved in our parenting decisions? Is making them trek three miles worse than spanking them? What about kids who are sent to bed without any dinner?
Too many parents throw out idle threats and never follow through with them. For police to discipline a mother for her discipline tactics – that aren’t physically harming her children – is, in my book, wrong.
I say good for Madlyn Primoff for making them walk home … instead of all over her.
What do you think?