One time in my days of youthful indiscretion, I remember being at Target or some store like it when this woman let her child run around the store without paying attention to her. Normally that’s annoying anyways, but this case was more annoying than usual. This little bratty kid kept running into me, and in those days I lacked any patience which is entirely different from my days of extreme patience now. (Cue eye roll.) Finally I ended up annoyed enough where I admit I may have accidentally caused her to take a minor tumble, stopping her from her running and made her mother finally pay attention to her… well when she realized her kid was screaming 5 minutes later. First of all, I love the fact I am old enough to call this a “youthful indiscretion”. Second of all, my moment of losing it and dropping my purse was less damaging than the fact that this mother probably ignored her on a daily basis too so I use that to make me feel better about what I did.
This leads me to how my thoughts on moments like this have changed. While back then, I’d complain about how annoying kids are and decide children maybe weren’t my thing. Now, I look at a person like that and say to myself “that kid is lucky she isn’t mine”. I’m definitely pro a little tap on the butt when a kid is being beyond misbehaved, I think as long as you don’t hit your kid to hurt them you’re not doing any damage. My generation was spanked, we turned out just fine. I’ve evolved to a point where I look at annoying children and say “if that parent would only punish their kid, a time out or something, maybe just maybe they’d be less of a little brat”.
Today we’re afraid to punish our kids. Instead of removing a child from a store for a temper tantrum, they get the exact toy they were whining about. That child then learns “if I yell loud enough, I get what I want”. Then, they grow up and get into trouble at school. Instead of saying “you’re grounded”, they get a “watch out” or even nothing except going to do exactly what they wanted to do anyways. Our children are learning nothing but that you can do whatever you want and there are no consequences to it. I believe in consequences.
Once, my first-born son called me a “bitch” and slapped me. He was two. He immediately got a swat on the butt and was sent to time out until he stopped his tantrum. A few years later, he threw a tantrum over shower time and I repeated the process. Now at almost 10, what did my son learn? He misbehaves, he gets punished. He hasn’t misbehaved since he was 4 and I attribute this to standing my ground and teaching him that everything has a consequence. The idea of being grounded from his video games for a week is a huge motivation for him because he knows it’ll be enforced.
I think we need to stand up and try going back to something that works. I’m not saying it’s ok to abuse children, but parents are so afraid to even ground their kids out of fear someone will pull the abuse card on them. As a result, we have generations getting more out of control and feeling like they are owed whatever they want without having to put in some good old fashion work and discipline. Eventually parents are going to have to regain their ability to discipline their children and take a stand against this out of control bratty behavior that’s getting worse among us.