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Friday... Er, I Mean Thursday--Rats!

Have you ever had one of those experiences--generally in the grocery store, in a stadium full of people or at a county fair--when your child reacts to you in a way that makes you look like a full blown child abuser?

One of those times when they won't walk forward and so you nudge them between the shoulder blades. This is then followed by them throwing themselves on the ground crying and screaming, "Why are you pushing me?"

Another particular favorite of mine is when you grab their arm and they howl at the pain you are causing them, "YOU'RE HURTING ME!"

I know someone that told me once about how her old-enough-to-know-what-she-was-doing daughter was constantly reacting this way in public. The end result was a mother of an 8ish year old who in a fierce whisper said, "I dare you to keep it up."

I usually just roll my eyes, and smile at everyone that is now gaping at me in horror. "You're fine," I say loud enough for the growing crowd to hear, "I barely touched you, now get up."

I'm sure I never did this when I was a child, and I'm not even being sarcastic this time. I really am sure I didn't, because my parents would have made certain I knew the difference as soon as we got to the car (they didn't wait till we got home). So saying those sorts of things was tantamount to asking for it.

Another such event was at church several years ago when we were in the middle of the sacrament (communion) and these two boys behind me started fighting with each other. They were making quite the ruckus when finally their dad grabbed one child's arm and began hauling him out of the chapel. You could hear him screaming all the way down the hall.

"NOOOOOOOO... Don't hit me dad, NOOOOOO."

I felt bad for the father.

When my 6 year old son screams we like to joke that he could wake the dead... I'm not entirely sure that's inaccurate.

Recently a friend was over and the boy decided he was mad for some reason. Ralexwin grabbed his arm and the wailing and gnashing of teeth began. It's nerve wracking--like nails down a chalk board.

So he screams and says "You're hurting my arm!" Ralexwin grabs his thrashing son and carries him down the hall.

"That's the scream?" Our friend asks.

"That one." I say, barely blinking.

"He sounds like he's being tortured."

"I know."

Why do kids do this to us? It's as if they're testing our endurance, seeing how far they can go before we do the 'hand squeeze' (that's the intentional tightening of your hand on theirs just so they know exactly how ticked off you are).

I guess I come from a different generation when corporal punishment was not so frowned upon. You would have never reacted that way in a store and not expected retribution when you got home.

In reality, when I was a child the safest place for me was in public. Kids now a days seem to want out of public.

So what do you do? Any solutions, because I hear duct tape is considered excessive. :)


Anonymous said…
duct tape...excessive....oops
Lisa said…
I was spanked, mouth wash-out with soap, and grounded. But all it did was make me scared of my dad and lie more.

So if you get any good suggestions, please share with the rest of the class.
Polly Blevins said…
We were in sacrament meeting when Cole decided to throw his toys down the isle. Will grabbed his arm (now Cole is crying uncontrollably)and took him out. Just before the door to the foyer closes, you hear this big WHAP! Will had spanked him. Everyone in the room turns to look at me. I just smiled. I don't know how many remarks Will and I got after the meeting. One girl said, "I was glad to hear that, now I know I am not the only one doing that."
Claire Wessel said…
Contrary to the CPS establishment, it is legal to spank AND 94% of parents do it. So, don't believe the hype. Nearly everyone spanks, just to varying degrees. You might get looks, but most parents have been there getting stared at themselves. Most of the people staring don't have kids. They have houseplants and a thing against us breeders.
Winsor said…
It is quite annoying that you can't discipline your own child the way you want in public. My sister had to sit at Costco for over an hour because her son was throwing a big fit. She knew if she touched him, it would look like child abuse because he becomes uncontrollable when someone tries to touch him when he is upset.
cannwin said…
I'm not against spanking, but I do try to keep it to a minimum in public, which means they only get it when they've done something like running into the street.

Although with the 7 year old it no longer really works, she fights back. Her hands go straight to her bum and you have this wrestling contest over how much bum you can get to around her arms. Other times she says, "Not in public!" (remember... teenager in a little body)

The baby doesn't handle being swatted well at all. He's never been a very bad kid so we've never really had to scold or spank him and recently, since hitting 2 y/o, it's become more common. But what happens is he melt's down, the world crumbles around him if he gets so much as scolded. His lower lip flips out and his eyes well up with tears and he just sobs... it doesn't take much more than a sound scolding to quell him.


I managed to avoid ever having my mouth washed out with soap, but mainly that was because I bolted out of the house at any hint of it and wouldn't come home till hours later. lol
Cari Hislop said…
I remember being a child and being "spanked" all it did was make me HATE my parents. If it "taught me a lesson" it taught me to loathe them. All their other angry "punishments" created similar feelings. Punishing a child in anger is anti-productive. When one is angry one can't think straight so how can you think to correct someone else fairly? Of course almost every parent has smacked their child in anger, but that doesn't justify it. Think about it, you're big and angry and they're tiny and at your're angry so you hit them. Do you think they're going to thank you for violating their person because they couldn't defend themselves? Are you trying to teach them to fear you because they've embarrassed you or that you love them?

This is where being unable to have children becomes a twisted blessing. It's unlikley I'll have to go through the lovely (each child needs different correcting techniques joys) but if any children show up unexpectedly I prefer the "..if you do that, then this will happen..." And then if they do that...the this will follow like sunset! Because that's what childhood really is about, learning in a hopefully safe environment the consequences of their actions so hopefully they become decent adults. Saying that I know it's freaking hard! And some children are drama-freaks.

One of my brothers would act out as if he was dying at the merest angry word. He's since grown into a lovely man who no longer writhes on the floor howling in fake pain though he is an actor, so perhaps when your child starts acting maybe you need to think about getting him/her into an acting class and hopefully if he/she likes it, then when he acts up at home you could say...if you act like this, you will not be able to go to your acting class for a week...or month depending on the situation.

I think for a punishment to have validity it needs to be thought out in advance and calmly decided upon by both parents and depending on the age of the child, including the you could have a family counsel where you plan (for each child) the consequences of their actions. "If they do this, then that will happen." And then you should wait until you are in control of your own emotions before punishing the child otherwise your actions may damage the eternal relationship you have with your child.

Some children won't care if they're smacked, but some children it will be like stabbing them in the heart. I highly recommend The Five Love Languages by Gary chapman. He was totally inspired and teaches a very basic principle of how to love other people in that we each have our own love language and for some people their love language is touch. To feel loved they need to be hugged or touched in a loving manner...these children are emotionally traumatised by any sort of physical punishment. Any touch in unkindness translates as you saying to the child "I hate you!" Chapman has several versions of the book; children, teenagers, grown ups etc...I highly recommend it. It's changed how I deal with everyone and it finally explained why I really really hated my parents when they said hurtful things or never said anything nice because my love language is words of affirmation. If you think your family members can translate your loving acts of service into feeling loved, think again! If it's not their love language you're just cleaning...or you're just doing something you have to. If you want people to feel loved you have to communicate in their love language not yours! Saying I love you in Chinese won't make someone who only speaks Swedish feel loved!

I also recommend The Myers Brigg personality test (I know I've mentioned it before) First step, figure out your own personality! And then start looking for clues as to what your child's personality might be. Are they introvert or extrovert. Are they a concrete thinker ie an S (sensation orientated) or an intutive (relate intutively to the world)? Does their head or heart rule them? T for head/thinking - F for heart/feeling. Even if you get it completely wrong, if you're at least trying to understand the child instead of assuming you know them (because their your child and that must somehow make them somehow like you - think again!) You may speak a completely different language to your child without being aware of it. And you may be punishing your child for misunderstanding you! Think how awful you'll feel at the judgement seat having to watch and feel a repeat of THAT!

To Claire Wessel,
Yes people who don't have children will scowl/wince when your child screams bloody murder because we aren't used to the noise. As a parent you aclimatise to the noise level. We live in quite (not always by choice) and if your childs' screams feel like a knife through your head it feels like a bullet through mine. However, even as I wince in pain I realise children will scream so my scowl is ballanced with rational understanding, but the noise is still physcially painful.
cannwin said…
I agree that in theory sitting down and talking rationally with your child is best, but in reality it just doesn't work that way. I do implement the choices method quite frequently with my daughter (do you want to continue crying and not go with me or stop crying and go with me) It works marvelously, but my 6 y/o son... never gonna happen.

He starts screaming and it's as if the very gates of hell have opened up around him, rationality goes out the window. You can't give him options the way you do her. He'd just sit there and scream.

I totally agree that physical discipline should be withheld when you are angry. Take a small time out yourself and then come deal with it. HOWEVER, that's not so easy when you go to your room to 'time out' and the screaming child comes with you and bangs on the door for the next ten minutes.

Children know how to push buttons as well as the next person and they use those skills to further the argument just as an adult would. Sometimes a sound swat on the rear is enough to shock them back into sense.

I like the scripture that says 'reprove betimes of sharpness, then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy' (that's not an exact quote)

I think using strong discpline (that isn't child abuse) is acceptable only if you are sure to show the child just how much you love them in every other instance of life.

If you are like me or perhaps you as a child you never got the love afterwards and that's when you get children who begin to hate their parents.

That said, I don't think washing a kids mouth out with soap is at all acceptable. It's just traumatic. But I'm not against a sound swat or a wack upside the back of the head to catch their attention. So long as it's not excessive and obviously not very hard... if their bruising you're past the line. :)

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