UPA: A Public Service Announcement

Did you know that within the next five hours, somewhere in the world, an unknowing parent will be seriously injured by their toddler?  That one in five parents suffers from unexpected, often painful abuse at the hands of a small child?

Hi, I’m Alaina Webster, co-founder and COO of Casa de Stopster, and I’m here today to talk to you about Unintentional Parent Abuse or UPA.  This under-reported, often unnoticed, phenomenon is slowly sweeping the suburbs, quietly taking over cul-de-sacs and playgroups nationwide.  Nearly 20% of all parents will at some point fall victim to UPA, but sadly, because children are supposed to be so meek, mild, and gentle, Unintentional Parent Abuse is often never brought to the attention of those outside the family. Parents suffer in silence, enduring the never ending whispers from neighbors and co-workers.  “Do you think he beats her?” or “Maybe she got drunk and started a fight.  I’ve heard she has quite the temper.”

You may wonder why I’ve chosen to speak out on this topic when so few others are willing.  Well, friends, though you may find it hard to believe, I myself have been a victim of UPA:

Yeah, so no make-up and right before bed. Don't be judgey, or if you must, keep it to yourself

This was taken mere days after my own daughter, only two years old, delivered a blow to my face so powerful that I lost vision for a few seconds and saw flashes of green light.*  While it was, as has been suggested, unintentional, it was still painful, both physically and emotionally.  Tragically, this could all have been prevented if someone near me, one of the hundreds of parents who themselves suffer from UPA, had spoken up and warned me of the dangers of being too close to an unruly child.

I have vowed to speak up for those unable to speak for themselves.  Will you stand with me?  Will you fight back against the 2 foot six inch tyrants taking over our subdivisions, or will you continue to let unsuspecting parents be beaten into submission, simply for loving their child too closely?  UPA–It doesn’t have to be you.

*Okay, so here’s the real scoop.  Saturday morning, Maddie, Jon, and I were messing around in the grownups bed when Maddie, who was sitting right in front of me, leaned forward and then sat up and hurled herself backward…right into my eye.  The stuff about slight, short vision loss and the green flash?  That was true.  As is the bruise.  And the whispers and weird looks.  So, yes, it hurt.  No, I don’t think she broke anything.  No, I didn’t cry.  No, she didn’t mean to.  No, Jon doesn’t beat me, and I didn’t pick this up at my weekly fight club.  Are you kidding?  The first rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.  The second rule:  Keep it below the neck.  We all have day jobs, people.