Aug 152011

I wrote a post a couple weeks ago about a stranger disciplining your child. I also have blogged my thoughts about temper tantrums in public.

What I witnessed today was a whole different ball of wax. 

Jake is off on Mondays so that is the day we run errands and get groceries. Today we were at Walmart getting the tires balanced and picking up some things for when the boys and I go to Tennessee next week.

We were maybe two aisles into the grocery side when we heard ear splitting screams start on the next aisle over. We turned the corner and passed a mom and her two kids, the little girl was probably between 4 and 6 years old and was following her mom screaming because her mom refused to buy her cookies. It looked like they were only there for a few things because Mom didn’t have a cart.

I mentioned to Jake that “at least it’s not our kid this time.” And Jake made a point of telling Aedyn “that little girl needs a spanking” in a very quiet voice. Neither of us wanted our copycat 2 year old picking up that behavior! We both agreed that if she were ours we would’ve visited the bathroom or gone to the car, but we agreed with the mom for not giving in.

The screaming continued and about 10 minutes later we heard a grown woman start yelling. We were several aisle away but could hear pretty much everything. “Would you make her stop screaming! She’s been crying for an hour! Just give her what she wants! I’m going to call child services if you don’t make her stop!”

Really lady?

We then saw the mom head to the check out line, the little girl still screaming. In the check out the mom picked the girl up and was paying when the lady who had yelled got in line behind her and began acting like she was dialing her phone and yelling at the mom. “I’m calling child services! I saw you pull her hair! I saw you push her!”

Jake asked as walked by, “You’re really going to call the cops because the kid’s crying?”

The lady answered “I saw her slap the little girl!”

“That’s not what you were yelling two minutes ago.”

“I work for child services! I’m a nurse and my brother’s a police officer! She’s abusing that child!”

“Could you just stop yelling?”

“She was yelling at me!”

“Call the cops if you’re going to, but stop yelling.”

“Would you want to someone to treat your child that way?”

“I want you to stop yelling, call someone if you need to but stop yelling.” (Don’t you love how my hubby can stay calm and not be taken off topic by people like this?)

At this point a couple of employees had walked up to the woman to find out what was going on. But just stood there and did nothing as they listened to all of this. By the time the woman turned around to yell at the mom again, the mom and the kids had finished checking out and made it out of the store. The cops never showed up. The woman shut up and began checking out.

I wanted so badly to ask her how old her children were, because she’d made it pretty clear that she either wasn’t a parent or it was so long ago that she didn’t remember what preschoolers were like. I also wanted to say a few other things too, but I did ot want to start a new fight over those issues, and I didn’t wan my husband arrested when he punched her in the face, Because I’m pretty sure she would’ve been nasty and my hubby doesn’t let anyone talk to me like that, much less yell at me!

We were talking about it as we walked to the car and noted that what the woman accused the mom of changed every time she opened her mouth. Lies or at least exaggerations? We didn’t see what was going on, but I can guess that if anything the mom was trying to quiet her daughter after the woman’s first onslaught and may not have behaved in the most patient way. Who could when they have someone yelling at them?

Then we began to talk about the little girl. Fifteen minutes is a pretty long time to keep a tantrum going for a child who’s used to being waited out. Maybe her mom does give in often enough to make the tantrum worth it. Or maybe her mom is a single parent and the kid’s dad gives her everything she screams for when he has her. Whatever the case, how does yelling at a child’s mom help?

Don’t you think that yelling at her mom might have scared her and made her cry more? Or on the other side, she was old enough to know what was going on, did the woman prolong the tantrum because the girl realized she had an adult on her side?

We also noted that NO ONE ELSE approached the mom, even after the woman started yelling. They let her do what she needed to do with her screaming child and they let her leave. On the other hand several people surrounded the yelling woman and tried to get her to calm down. NO ONE said anything to back up the woman’s claims of abuse. (Typically if one person says something that everyone else is afraid to say then others to step up in support after the issue has been broached. Not the case in this situation.)

I can only imagine how that mom must have felt. I wish I could’ve said something to her, but she was long gone.

And that is why I think all social workers, case managers and every employee should be required to parent a child through preschool before they are allowed to handle any calls. And the first question a child services worker should ask a caller is “Are you a parent yourself? What do you think?

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Jul 282011
Aedyn at 20 months

Today’s post is inspired by Mommyhood Next Right and her post about What Do You Do When A Stranger Disciplines Your Child?

As I read her post I remembered back to last fall. Christmas decorations were out, but Jaron hadn’t been born yet, so it must have been Octoberish. Aedyn and I were at Cracker Barrel with my parents and were wandering around the store after having finished dinner. Aedyn was 20 months old and was walking with me.

Now Cracker Barrel has their displays set up all over the place, they tend to put noisy and light flashing stuff very close to the floor, perfect for little hands to grab and touch.

We saw this fun little tabletop Christmas decoration, a piano if I remember correctly; it played Christmas Carols and the keys moved with the song. Cute! Especially for a toddler who loves the piano.

He reached out with one finger to touch. As I reached out to take his hand while saying something like “Aedyn, no touching, just looking.” A nearby sales associate lunged over and grabbed his hand saying harshly “We don’t touch!”

To this day I still fume when I think about it.

1. I was already handling the situation.
2. She got between me and my child.
3. She physically disciplined my child in my presence without my permission.
4. She did not even acknowledge me before, during, or after the incident.

OH, that makes me so angry!

We just left.

Had I been the mom then that I am now, I wouldn’t have just left.

I would have said something to the associate to the effect of “Excuse me? Please do not touch my child. I’d like to speak with your manager now.”

Then the manager would have gotten a polite (or not so polite) earful about exactly what his employee had done and heard that while I would have been fine with the employee saying something to me about Aedyn touching, or being required to buy the item had he broken it, I was most definitely not ok with her physically reaching out and grabbing my baby/toddler and addressing him directly since I was standing right next to him, was actively paying attention, and was involved with what he was doing. I would also mention that if children touching was such an offense then they might want to consider moving that type of merchandise from children’s eye level.

What do you think? Am I wrong in taking such offense at the sales associates actions? Have you been in this type of situation, if so, what did you do?

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Jul 112011

If you listen to “them”, “they” tell parents not to spank, it borders on physical abuse and is in effective. But if spanking is physical abuse, then isn’t time-out bordering on emotional abuse? Are you not telling your child that they are not worth having a relationship with if they can’t behave? Does that child become a teenager who makes a mistake and then feels like they won’t be welcome at home? Doesn’t time-out breed resentment and depression out of being isolated and rejected by those who are supposed to love them unconditionally?
Yes, abuse is exactly what it would be if time-outs were used incorrectly. But used correctly… *WAIT* Did you catch that? “Used correctly” If spanking is used correctly then it also wouldn’t be abuse under the stipulation that it is used correctly. So what do we do in a culture and under legislature that tries to make it increasingly difficult to discipline children? Is it any surprise that America’s prison system has become more over-crowded as America’s children have become more wild, unruly, and downright defiant to parents, teachers, and the law itself? If parent’s don’t discipline a toddler, then someone else is going to some time. Maybe not until they’re an older child getting thrown into juvi, or an adult making their 4th court appearance as a defendant, or maybe they mouthed off to the wrong person one time too many and now they will never speak another word.I spank my boys. Well, I spank Aedyn. Jaron’s too young, although he does get his hand smacked if he tries to stick his finger in a light socket after he’s been warned. We also use time-out. Both have a place and purpose. A spanking is earned for direct disobedience. Aedyn is told what to do, then he is given a choice, he may choose to obey or he may choose a spanking. Most of the time he obeys, occasionally he tests to see if we’ll really follow through. In that case he gets 3 swats, his age plus 1 and we’re done. It’s quick and it’s over, we go back about our lives. He knows the difference between spanking and hitting, and there is a difference. Time–outs we use for attitude issues. Mainly disrespect. We will also give him the choice to stop a temper tantrum or go to his room and get it out of his system, which I consider a time-out. They take longer and can significantly impair our day. They’re also harder to enforce when we’re out of the house. I would rather cause my children pain now, either physically or emotionally, to keep them from worse pain later. Because I know that I do what I do because I love them, and I am not doing it to break them, but to smooth out their rough spots and shape them into contributing and effective members of society.
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