Country Living Series

Thursday, February 7, 2013

What would you have done?

I witnessed an interesting thing today which I thought was worth posting.

Thursdays are my “city” days in Spokane. Older Daughter has her French lessons on Thursday afternoon, so we go in early to do our grocery shopping at Cash & Carry, Costco, and Winco.

In Costco, Older Daughter disappeared to visit one of the little food tables (where they offer free samples of various goodies) and so missed the incident by a few seconds. I rounded the corner into a refrigerator aisle lined by enormous coolers on either side. A mother was in the aisle with two children, a toddler in the cart and pretty little girl by her side. The older child (I’ll call her Amanda) was about seven.

Amanda was moving the cart around with the toddler in it. “Amanda, stop that,” said the mother absently, looking at items in the cooler.

“No, you stop that,” retorted Amanda.

This got the mother’s attention. “Amanda, stop that.”

At the top of her lungs, the seven-year-old yelled, “NO, YOU STOP THAT!!”

At this the mother bent over the child and said in a furious (and probably embarrassed) voice, “That is NOT acceptable behavior!” She took Amanda by the arm and sat her down – hard – on the knee-high concrete skirting at the base of the coolers. “You’re getting a time out. You hear me?”

Entirely unfazed, the little girl began singing in a loud voice – “La la dee dah la la la…!” while scooting on her bottom down the skirting, away from her mother who continued to look in the cooler for the items she wanted. When the girl was about thirty feet away, the mother said, “Get over here this instant! You’re still in time out!”

About that time, Older Daughter caught up with me, I selected the items I wanted, and we left the aisle. I pointed out the child as we left – still scooting on her bottom down the concrete skirting – and thanked my lucky stars my girls had never behaved in that manner. My first thought was, “That child is in for a world of trouble as she gets older.”

And then I got to wondering. Why DID the child backtalk her mother like that? One thing’s for certain, that kind of dramatic disrespect does not come without precedent. If there’s one thing Don and I have always instilled in our girls, it’s respect for us, their parents. Respect for parents is the first step on the road toward respect for God. Without parental respect, it’s harder to stand in awe of the Deity.

But putting philosophy aside, I wondered what I would have done in this mother’s place. The middle of Costco is not where you can administer the spanking this little girl so richly deserved. In today’s intolerant climate, there is no faster way to get booked for “child abuse.” In that regard, the half-hearted “time out” was probably about the best the mother could do.

When I got home and described the incident to Don, he verbalized what my private thoughts were – namely, he would have put all the food in the cart back on the shelves, hauled the kids home, and THEN administered the spanking this little girl so richly deserved.

I don’t know if I can entirely blame the mother for the child’s behavior since I don’t know anything about her circumstances, personality, parenting style, marital status, or anything else except the one-minute interval I glimpsed. And God knows there are innately stubborn and difficult children out there who defy the discipline of even the best parents (the book The Difficult Child is quite an eye-opener in this regard).

So dear readers, what would you have done if this was your child?

65 comments:

  1. You are right about parent not being able to administer an adequate punishment for the transgression. It sounds like the child knew the mother would not put forth the effort to go to a place where it could be done, either; she knew NOTHING was going to happen. Your description of the mother's inattentiveness paints the picture fairly clearly.

    When my older children were quite little, we attended a basketball game. Being the ogre I am, I demanded that they sit still unless cheering, clapping, shouting for the team. They began to move about and I admonished them, warning them that if they continued we would leave and they would be spanked at home. Well, they looked around moved down the bleachers and off we went to home where they were disciplined and put to bed. It was inconvenient and too much more effort on my part to gather them up, leave, drive home, spank, put to bed, but in the long run it was small beans because I could forever more take them anywhere and they knew that my word was good as far as what I would do if they did not behave or were disrespectful. I did grumble to myself that back when I was a kid, dad only had to get us out to the parking lot to administer the discipline, then we were doubly mortified as we were expected to suck up our embarrassment and return to whatever event it was. The good ole' days for sure!

    I hope the mom figures out SOON that she needs to mean what she says and toss that "time out" for the kid out the window and begin a program of leaving wherever she and the kids are when bad behavior pops up, find a private place and administer some remedial lessons in respect, whether it's soap in the mouth or a swat on the fanny. Time out is for parents: it's that time after the children are in bed and mom and dad can have a glass of wine (or coffee or water or beer).

    sidetracksusie

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    1. Hey, it's me the NOT perfect parent. I meant to add that my kids happily told their friends that I was the MOMINATOR and I had strict rules and at our house they had to eat what they put on their plate, finish their drink, help clear the table and help with the dishes and always be kind and respectful. They told their friends that I not only required respect but that in return I would always protect them. I guess I was really mean, because my house was the gathering place for so many other children it almost became an economic burden. A worthy burden it was too, to have 6 or 8 teenagers, and several grade schoolers that were not mine, joining in our daily life!

      My son as a young adult reprimanded someone for interrupting him while we were on the phone during his lunch time at work. He covered the phone with his hand and I heard a muffled, "hey, I'm on the phone with my mom and she's the mominator. I can't guarantee that she won't reach through somehow and throttle you if you keep it up, she doesn't tolerate disrespect."

      We often second guess ourselves and wonder if we should have or even could have done things differently when we look back on raising our children. I know I do, but I do so less when I see the results of my efforts and hear the words, "mominator" and know my kids felt safe having the rules and having those rules enforced.

      sidetracksusie

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  2. I came upon a utube post recently, that puts it all in perspective. I hate videos as I'm on a limited internet service plan but, I happended to watch this one.

    What an eye opener. Please spend 13 minutes watching this defector KGB agent of 29 years ago had to say. We are living it today.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3nXvScRazg

    JS

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  3. PS,,,

    I would also like to recommend this site, which lists the free kindle books daily available on amazon. Good site to visit. Lots of good stuff. This isn't meant as a comment but as a link for you patrice.

    http://thehomesteadsurvival.com/

    SB

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  4. Parents should not take their kids grocery shopping (you are just setting yourself up for disaster) - leave them home with the other parent or a friend who can have the favor returned. Then when you are at home with said child, offer all kinds of opportunities to learn respect for the Parents and discipline accordingly.

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    1. I should have qualified this to say that I am referring to younger children. Once you are confident you have an respectful little one, than you can venture out. Unfortunately for all too many parents, they have teenagers who act as abominably as that 7 year old.

      Sioux

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  5. Honestly, the correction needs to be based on the child and the infraction.

    When my daughter was young, being trapped in her car seat(car running)for a period of time was punishment enough for most issues. Afterwards I could return to the store and finish any needed shopping. Many other children might need that spank. I personally must say that I am a big believer in removing the child from the situation (despite the cost of effort to myself.) What is important is to know your child and respond appropriately.

    You are wise however to not judge the mom. A friend of mine adopted a child who had suffered much abuse in her short little life. This child went through the process of testing her new parents to see if they would love her no-matter-what. Physical discipline would have been the absolute wrong way to go with this child. Sending her to time out would only serve to reinforce her perceived isolation. She wanted to be alone. They found the best correction was time sitting on the couch with her new parents. (Yet this would be a reward for many other kids.) After months of loving correction, I am pleased to say she has turned the corner and is showing a new loving bond with her adoptive parents. However, along the way they have had to endure unknowingly well-meaning adults in their face telling them they needed to give her a good spank. Truth be told, had I not known the situation, I would have thought the same thing. However, this has taught me that we don't necessarily know the whole story and should give others the benefit of the doubt.

    Perhaps this child at Costco was a foster child that was working through some issues resulting from previous abuse. Or perhaps this was a new step-mom who felt she had not yet developed the relationship needed to discipline the child in a way we would see fit. In this case it would be wise to allow the birth parent to deliver the correction even if it had to wait for a later moment. The point is that it is best to withhold judgment when we don't know all of the facts. Wisely, this is exactly what Patrice did.

    Southern Gal

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    1. Southern Gal,
      I am so glad to see your post! We're a 'spanking family' that adopted an abused 2 year old girl out of foster care last year. Believe me, when she would scream from the back of the store to the front, my older children and I were mortified! I used to judge parents in stores for their children's behavior - not anymore!! Oh there are times I still feel like she needs a good swat, or four; but all I have to do is look at her intake photo (put securley away) and that feeling goes away. It is frustrating to discipline when I don't have a full compliment of tools at my disposal, but we're learning what works. :-)
      Lara

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    2. Thanks for your note of grace, Southern Gal. We also are a family with children born to us and other that came via adoption at various ages having had various life experiences before they arrived. A child is by definition immature, still learning, and that is even more true when they've had to adapt to a new family partway through their childhood. I'm very thankful for the folks who 'get' this, and extend me and my children grace as my husband and I work to help them (eventually) reach maturity.
      Mary, mom to 10, including 2 from Korea and 4 from Ethiopia

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  6. easy to blame the child, but from the sounds of it the blame lies firmly at the feet of the parent. her total lack of attention for her offspring is clear to me from your description. I am in no doubt that was what this was. attention seeking by a child who rarely gets any. she was also probably pretty bored. was she actually causing a problem by moving the cart? at seven years of age she could easily be involved in the shopping tasks..."what flavour yoghurt shall we get?" "I need you to go to the next aisle and bring me back a couple of packets of those boxes of raisins we had last week. come straight back". if stranger danger fear prevents you from asking a 7 year old to get you something from the next aisle, you've got way bigger problems than how your child behaves in public!
    parent might have got further if she had looked at the child and said "Amanda, stop moving the cart about please, its making it hard for me to concentrate." I dont see a need to not give any information or explanation along with the command, and in my experience if you tell a child why you want them to not do something, they learn more and are generally more co operative.
    time out? I imagine to the kid, the entire trip is one long time out. I mean, she doesnt have anything to do, and has to be there.
    to answer your question, i would have chosen a punishment that could be carried out later. confiscation of a favourite toy or banning them from using a computer console or something. she is no longer of an age where she cannot understand that a punishment later is given for a bad bahaviour earlier. as previous commenters have said, its vital to stick with any punishments you say you will carry out.

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    1. Agree 100% that the problem is in total lack of attention to the child, not lack of spanking per se.

      Where I live, I DO see people punishing their children in public from time to time. Not "disciplining", but punishing. Usually it is parents who have dragged preschoolers to the store at 9pm, given them sweets and soda because they were whining, and then smack them for being physically rambunctious. That is not a brat, that is a horrible parent. Those poor kids just look so confused and miserable.

      Discipline is a whole lot more than giving consequences, physical or otherwise - it is teaching your children and giving them a path to follow.

      Some of the best advice I ever heard was to never leave a vacuum. "stop that" leaves a kid with nothing to do except come up with something equally annoying or destructive. "stop that and do this instead" is discipline/guidance.

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  7. I remember the first time my son gave me trouble in the grocery store, he had witnessed a screaming incident from another child getting their way. He tried it and discovered that this mom left the cart full of groceries, marched him to the car and went home, when his father arrived home from work that evening, I went shopping without him!
    On that note, maybe she only gets to the store once a week or once a month and that was her only time to do it, maybe she had traveled several miles and couldn't just head home.

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  8. My husband has Shingles, is there any good home remedies for drying them up quickly? I've heard that honey and cinnamon paste will work; has anyone given this a try? Thank you

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  9. Parents in our society are too worried about being their kids friend, they don't want to be the "bad guy"! Our society has taught kids they are always right and if they don't like parents rules the kids can lie to authorities and the parents are jailed etc..... So parents are scared of their own kids, I've heard about kids hitting their parents, cussing them out and guess what that is the kid who has called the cops and the parent got in trouble not the abuser (child)... It's a sad world! Of course it's all about disapline and consequences at a young age and these parents didn't do that and now it's too late! So yes it's sad but then gain it's that parents fault, but then again those horrible children will grow up and have their own kids and repeat the cycle and even worse those children will run this country and are the future. Sigh were screwed!!!

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  10. Could this woman not have stopped shopping for a moment, and removed that little monster to her vehicle in the parking lot or to the handicap stall in the ladies room for a good old-fashioned pants down spanking?

    And would someone please explain to me why and how this country got to a place where a parent step-parent or other wise cannot spank a child in public without it being considered "abuse"?
    Seems to me the way that particular child is being raised is unloving and neglectful and abusive to to the child and to society.
    Children can be trained. And to truly love a young child is to impose behavior limits for their own good and for the good of the rest of the world.

    In my day not only did we spanked our kids in public no matter where we were, but strangers disciplined and corrected other peoples children too.
    If I was unaware that my kids were acting anti-social in public, I was more than happy to have another adult in my community administer a stern word or other public embarrassment to them before I did.
    How the world has changed..........

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  11. My four children were born in the late '60's and early '70's.... they were all well behaved and sweet. They always went grocery shopping with me and I would get comments and compliments every time, about how well behaved and beautiful my children were. I was probably lucky my kids were great (heh heh heh...)but what would I have done if one or more of them had been like the child you witnessed????? I think I would have done exactly what your husband suggested.

    Why are so many of today's children horrible and uncontrollable????? Could it be what they are learning at school and thru our entertainment media.... or are they just becoming naturally rebellious? Or are they watching their parents be contentious and rebellious with others and each other, or both.

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  12. You don't think the kids have learned that mom and dad are afraid to spank them at the store?

    My mom had long finger nails. If we acted up in public (God help us) my mom would take us by the arm, calmly admonish us - while digging her nails painfully into the arm!

    Worked like a charm - with no scene. Plus the behavior was delt with immedietly.

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  13. I'm sorry, but if this child was SEVEN, and not truly challenged in some way (my niece is austic, so I know of what I say)....then....the horse has already left the barn. I have an eight year old, and she would never dream of responding to me in such a manner...b/c when she was two (and challenged my authority as a parent like this child did to her mom)- I applied appropriate displine to establish that the parent was the authority. I did once have to carry her out of the store with a temper tantrum, to the car, and give her a spank. Do I spank now? no, I don't have to...a stern word or loss of privileges does the trick. I do agree with the above, that engaging the child with the shopping helps (I do this as much to teach my children- comparing prices/sizes, etc as anything) but SEVEN is old enough to "mind"...its not like it was the toddler in the cart misbehaving....I wasn't there- perhaps there is some extenuating circumstance (such as a foster child, or autism)...but I am betting that is just a spoiled child. Imagine what she will say back to her parents when she hits her teen years?

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    1. Exactly my thought! Should have had behavior corrected long before 7 all special circumstances aside.

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  14. And a nice article about parents that actually teach their children how to behave in public.

    http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/restaurant-gives-family-discount-having-well-behaved-kids-192500505.html

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  15. I don't have children, and have no intention of having children, so I can't comment that way. But if I'd responded to my mother that way I'd not have been happy about sitting down for a long while once we got home....

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  16. If it was my kid, I probably would have left the cart, and headed for the car with the kids in tow, because my kids don't act like that and I would not have put up with it if they did. I'm certainly not going to have a power struggle with a little kid in the middle of Costco. However, as the parent of a kid with Aspergers, I've gotten a lot less judgy of other parent/child interactions. There is stuff sometimes that looks like bad parenting or spoiled child behavior that can be something else entirely.

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  17. My Mom would have made me get the switch she'd whip me with. My Dad would have removed his belt and pulled out a kitchen chair for me to lay across, all in one move. Needless to say there wouldn't have been a repeat performance. You reap what you sow, my parents raised 6 good kids. The parents of that little monster have work to do, I'd start with getting rid of the timeouts and cutting a nice switch...

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  18. As you mention, even the best parents can end up with an extremely defiant child.

    I take issue with your claim that the child is in for a world of trouble when she gets older. I was an EXTREMELY sassy child growing up. I talked back to my parents on a daily basis. I once even threw myself on the floor of a department store, refused to move, and proclaimed to be dying of boredom. Neither of my siblings behaved in such a manner.

    However, for as much as I back-talked, I rarely disobeyed my parents' rules. I never got into any kind of trouble and was a straight-A student. I never disrespected any adults besides my parents. Back-talking and fighting with my parents didn't lead me down a troubled road. On the contrary, I have grown into a kind, accomplished (I finished college and graduate school with honors), and self-disciplined adult. Some children's personalities just genuinely conflict with their parents'. Now that I no longer live under my parents' roof I have a wonderful relationship with them.

    Some other commenters have questioned why children today seem so much more defiant. This may be some children's natural disposition, but the answer may also lay in our industrial food complex. I just finished reading a book called The Crazy Makers that addresses this very issue and explores how common chemical food additives affect brain chemistry, particularly in children and teens. I forget the exact statistic, but something like 70% of violent juvenile offenders became measurably less defiant and aggressive when placed on a whole-foods diet. Literal food for thought.

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    1. I do so agree about the food and have suggested to a few that have asked for my input to make sure they are not causing the problem by feeding chemically laden food and to make sure any medical problems are addressed.

      My oldest grand daughter (step) was a terror at age 2 and I noticed that she was a mouth breather. I asked whether she snored--she did, like a bear, often waking herself up. Interrupted sleep causes horrible behavior, due to sleep deprivation. It would also lead to overly tired parents! I advised an ENT evaluation and her adenoids were found to be obstructive. After having them removed, she became a completely different child, they all slept at night and public outings became pleasant and productive.
      Children with sleep deprivation are often described as hyperactive. It is a nature reaction in many children to stimulate themselves in order to stay awake and concentrate. I still remember one mom telling me that her sixth grade son had his tonsils and adenoids out and the school could not believe the difference, he was in control and on his way to catching up academically. Other children may not be overactive and irritable but may fall asleep or be overly whiney.

      sidetracksusie

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  19. My daughter threw a tantrum at home ONCE. She threw herself on the floor screaming to get her way. Since she was in the way of my route to the kitchen, I stepped over her and went on with what I had planned. After a few minutes of screaming, she got up and began to play at the things she was allowed and didn't try that again. If she got restless in a store (not often as she usually loved shopping), I would give her something to do to help (actually pushing the cart is a favorite of many children and following the directions to start, stop, etc can occupy them). At seven a child can also read the list for the mother and check off items as they are put in the cart.

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  20. I have three grown daughters now but when they were little I would have the smallest in the cart and the oldest (at the time) would be standing calmly in front of the cart handle. They knew not to deviate. Before exiting the car for any shopping trip or excursion they were always gently but sternly reminded to behave. I simply would have not been able to concentrate and keep a safe eye on them. That mom should have simply picked up the child and put her in the cart. The talking back thing that is seen all too often today has got out of hand. I would be mortified if my girls had done that. Yes, there are always exceptions but the non-judgment aspect comes in also if you see a mom or dad put a gentle reminder on a child's backside out in public.

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  21. Like your girls, my daughter would no more have behaved this way than I would have as a child, publicly or privately. It just didn't happen.

    The result in either case would have been quiet, swift, decisive and memorable.

    I think parents of kids like the one you've written about here are the models for this kind of behavior, whether overtly or by default. Most of the time when I see their kids behave atrociously in public they don't parent. They just perform for the benefit of the surrounding shoppers, pitching their voices and projecting in a very pretentious way.

    A.McSp


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  22. It truly does start at a young age. I worked at a grocery store and seen similar situations all too much. So often young kids will scream and throw a fit until the parent caves into them, usually the parents would buy deli food, candy, chips, or a pop for the kid to munch on/drink while in the store, so kids learn that if they continue that behavior they will get what they want. Similar to in other stores in the toy section where kids will throw all out screaming fits, the parent tells the kid no, then eventually goes and buys the item anyways. I have a 1 1/2 year old and really am baffled at how many parents of similar age kids already are raising little monsters. They allow their kids to scream non-stop in stores until they are given candy or pop, and yes its very common to see kids that young with sippy cups full of pop. And then we love to shop at thrift stores and it baffles me how many parents just let kids of all ages to run loose in the store, toddlers that can barely walk are throwing stuff on the floor, kids running and screaming everywhere, temper tantrums, its ridiculous. I would not have been allowed to behave like that when I was little. I would have gotten spanked when I got home, so I rarely misbehaved. And I never got treats when I was out shopping to keep me quiet, nor did I get toys that I wanted, and that was just part of life. I do always get complimented by sales staff and older people when I am out shopping with my little one on how well behaved she is, because she will just look around and always behaves. If she tries to grab stuff off the shelf I just tell her no and move her hand and she grasps the concept and is fine with that, no screaming fits. Most of the blame is on the parents, parents shouldn't be their kids friends, they need to be the parent and they need to keep their kids in line.

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  23. I am not sure what I would have done but certainly a spanking was in order. However, knowing the situation we live in right now, (more than an hour from the nearest grocery store) I don't know if I would have put everything back, drive home and wait for the next trip to town to shop. My kids were not like that because I believe in corporal punishment, especially for disrespect. My teen son in more likely to get in trouble now for stuff he says, mostly joking around but doesn't realize the boundaries concerning adults. But the threat of not being able to talk on the phone to his friends is enough to stop it now. When he was 2 years old, he started having seizures whenever he started crying or got hurt so he didn't get spanked as much as he needed. But we did the best we could and I am very proud of the young man he is becoming.
    The problem with this situation is the mom has allowed this to happen before or the daughter would not feel free to let it fly in Costco.

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  24. Not knowing all the circumstances, as you and others have pointed out, it is difficult to come up with an answer for what should have been done in this particular case. However, towards the end of your piece you wrote about how you and your husband taught your children to respect you as adults. More importantly, I suspect you and Don modelled respect towards each other, which is far more important.
    I have observed other children like the girl you described where I knew the family circumstances. I have seen such behavior where the parents, either individually or as a couple, did not show respect to one or another. And the children picked up on that and copied that behavior; in the way they reacted to one parent or the other, their siblings, their playmates and other adults.
    It is my opinion that much of spousal abuse can be traced back to parents who did not repect one another, and children carried that on into their own adult relationships.
    What is practiced in the privacy of the family home is put on display in the public world.

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  25. Well .. been there , My child had been acting a bit balky at age 3 so I reminded her as we entered the grocery store that she was to stay by my side ...half way through the store she began to whine and carry on I simply left the cart took her and the baby and left..she was so shocked that I did this she kept screaming NO! and turning defiantly purple of face as I put the baby in the car seat she broke away and ran across the parking lot(This was horrifying) to the store , I had to unhook the baby and found her in the store pretending to be passed out beside the cart.I told her to arise NOW! she did not so I took her by the hand and arose her myself , gave her a few spanks right there , This whole episode happened in front of my favorite cashier.. I took the child out to the car and gave her a few more spanks and we went home. the next year the now walking baby and my daughter began to act up and run about in produce nearly knocking an elderly lady over, I turned them over my knee and administered their spanking right there and I gave dirty looks to any on- lookers, so that they might think THEY were next. This is true and it WAS embarressing and my children were trained very well but I know my eldest is very headstrong and so it took stronger work to get her where she needed to be, She today is a very self controlled teen who makes wise decisions and gets compliments on her behaviour. I realized I could be turned in for public spanking but truely I was so disgusted by the behavior at those times I truely did not give a rip what anyone else thought. Plus ,I did not give a "beating" but it was NOT a gentle tap either.Any normal person could see that.

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  26. My first question is, why did the mom start a control-battle at all? Was the girl hurting or endangering the toddler? If so, then I would say, "stop that, it is not safe." If not, then who cares. Jiggling a shopping cart is not morally wrong, rude or disruptive. It sounds like this girl was not being naughty until her Mom *made* her naughty with an arbitrary rule. You yourself, Patrice, often write about the government making thing illegal simply to increase its control. Why parent that way?

    I do not respond well to people in my life barking orders at me, or expecting blind compliance. How can this mom teach respect to her kids if she treats them disrespectfully? Of course, in a life or death situation obedience must be immediate, but a 7 year old should not be treated like a toddler. Part of good parenting is having reasonable expectations and, as the Bible says, “do not exasperate your children”. The girl needs something constructive to do other than stare off into space and stand like a statue. That is setting her up for boredom and will cause her to seek attention and drama.

    Now, the sass-mouth and shouting at Mom is an issue, but Mom also needs some perspective that she set this situation up, and she is in charge of it. To react on the level of tit-for-tat (you yelled at me so I will hit you) seems very juvenile to me. If that mom were me, I would have had my head in the freezer case trying to cool off and master myself before dealing with my child.

    John Rosemond in "Parenting by the Book" points out that you must parent from principle, teaching right vs. wrong, and not judge your success on whether you have extinguished undesirable behavior. Kids have free will, and some will choose wrongly even knowing they will be punished.
    I call this "Braveheart mode" and have 2 sweet girls who are prone to flip into "liberty or death" mode at the drop of a hat. As a parent, you have to know what's worth it and not micromanage. “Showing who is boss” for its own sake gets me nowhere with her spiritual development, or with our relationship, or with her life skills. We do not obey God because he will smite us. It is his kindness that leads us to repentance, and Jesus says that if we love Him we will obey His commandments.

    I abandoned the idea of corporal punishment when my first was a toddler. A child who love conflict and escalates, has to be disciplined by managing energy, controlling the overall situation, and giving consequences that she cares about. Trying to discipline with physical power will not work on someone who cares more about winning than about pain.

    We set clear boundaries and appropriate consequences with our kids and they are kind, well mannered, and love Jesus. And someday they will be great, courageous leaders and patriots because of their temperament.

    Since I know how we are all affected by everything from a death in the family or an overscheduled week, to ear infections or a bad night's sleep, I am far more likely to offer a struggling parent a sympathetic smile or a spare cheese-stick from my emergency purse stash, rather than judgment and second-guessing.

    FWIW, if the elder girl was not being safe with the cart, I first would have given her a physically demanding or responsible job, like lifting the milk gallons for me or going to find some item a far enough away to be challenging but close enough I could keep tabs on her. If the situation did devolve into sassing and shouting, and I couldn't make it without that weeks' groceries, little missy would have been sitting in the cart with all her treats and toys gone. Otherwise we would have been in the car on the way home, but I don’t consider that a “win”. It would be my response to a worst-case scenario of having failed to appropriately respond BEFORE it got ugly.

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    1. Wow, you are describing me exactly. "Trying to discipline with physical power will not work on someone who cares more about winning than about pain."

      Corporal discipline never worked on me. My parents did plenty of it, but I would scream through my tears that I'm not hurting and I'm not stopping. Eventually, their hands would get sore and their heart would hurt before I gave up.

      Their solution, in the end (and what worked) was to always explain things to me. It might have taken a lot more energy on their part, but learning to think from my perspective, explain why I had to do things one way rather than the other, and not be bossy was the only thing that helped me not rebel. I was a sweet child, but was very headstrong and stubborn - if they couldn't give me a valid argument for why I shouldn't do something I wanted to do, well then they could stick it, I would do it despite anything they did to prevent me.

      I have often hoped I wouldn't have children like me, because of how difficult it is to reason with them. At the same time, I grew up to be a very upstanding person (hoping to move to Idaho soon myself and start a little homestead with my husband), and I can see how my independent thinking has served me - I have not let public schooling, for instance, brainwash me. I fought against them with all I had.

      I agree with you - this lady didn't have to yell at her child to stop it unless the daughter was doing something dangerous. I live in the city right now and I see so many women (primarily from low-income families) just ignore their kids and expect them to act like a doll - sit still whenever they're put down. They yell at their kids for moving even a little bit, but won't interact with them or allow them to be what they're supposed to be - children! It's sad...

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  27. My nephews were adopted as toddlers, and they came from violent backgrounds. SIL and her husband were told "no spanking" and they were trained in all the popular time-out, removal, reward good behavior, just add love techniques of the 80's, counselors were utilized as needed, and the boys were fed only the best organic food available. They were both loving and affectionate, smart and athletic (kept busy in sports and martial arts), but were "hard to handle", wearing the parents out daily. The behavior escalated and as teenagers one ran away and the other ended up in a group home. Both have come around after being in the school of hard knocks. The eldest one has verbalized that he saw his friends had strict limits that were enforced (by spanking) and that he realized his parents could or would not do so to him. He knew he could basically rule the roost and kept upping the ante trying to get his folks to put a stop to him, knowing that he could make his parents miserable by misbehaving in public for which he would simply be taken home and put to bed or lose a privilege, write an apology, time out when little, etc. He eventually began setting fires and the same social workers that said no spanking arranged for him to go to a private group home. No one there even gave him the time of day, the family had big problems and was only in it for the money. He was devastated! His behavior stopped as he didn't feel the need to get these people's attention and he graduated high school and began adult life, but he says it would have stopped when he was little if his parents had given him a spanking. He is a nice level headed young man now, and knows what a brat he was when little.

    What a choice, you can't spank your child but you can send them away when the no spanking policy fails, making both you and the child miserable in the process.

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  28. Bad behavior requires IMMEDIATE attention. In the mother's case, she could not discipline her child in public -especially at a Spokane Costco. But what she should have done was left the cart, put the children in the car, and driven home to deliver whatever punishment was necessary. However, a child that old, displaying that degree of bad behavior has issues in her life. The mom must be a doormat for someone (maybe dad) she respects or sees as more powerful.

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  29. Wow, there sure are lots of super parents posting. "My child would NEVER behave like that!" Then you have never raised a truely strong willed child. There are kids who couldn't care less if a punishment is on the way. The mother was dealing with the situation just fine by not accelerating the behavior. Giving in and leaving would only enforce to the child that this how she can get out of boring things like grocery shopping. I applaud the mother for not over reacting because she was embarrassed in front of strangers. That's what this is really about, being embarrassed in public.

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    1. Agree. I don't think spanking is always wrong if it is part of loving, consistent and fair parenting. However, there are some kids where responding with anger or spanking will just escalate. I think some of the commenters above have never dealt with a kid who just wants to fight and win, at any cost. Sometimes you have to use your wisdom instead of your hands.

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    2. LOL, both my brother and my husband were very strong willed children who wore out their mothers and the flyswatters! They grew up to be US Army Special Forces A team members.

      They also love their mothers and think their childhood that included almost daily spankings was great.

      Both say they learned discipline at home.

      I will say that I disagree about the "embarrassed in public" part. I have shooed away people who wanted me to spank my daughter when she was a toddler and was howling to get out of her high chair during a rare visit to MacDonald's for breakfast and to play on the equipment. The room was empty except for us until two gentlemen came in and witnessed my wee one's tantrum at not being able to get down until she ate. I waited her fit out, she ate and then was able to play with her brother. I was not embarrassed one bit. If she'd be older and able to understand and comply, I'd have spanked her. I don't think responsible people spank because they are embarrassed, they spank because their child knows the rules, has broken them and it's consistent with what the parent does in those situations.

      Of course, I've seen plenty of parents NOT spank because of fear, as well as many, many parents who ignore every request from their child for positive attention until those attempts turn into negative behavior and at that point, a parent explodes and spanks. This is just as bad as doing nothing.

      I can count on one hand the times I gave a swat on the bottom to my four children. I guess they were easy going...or knew from the start that I meant what I said about respect and behavior. I was not a perfect parent, and they were not perfect children. But I can't remember ever worrying about how they would behave, but know I worried about how my nieces and nephew would and that we'd all be subject to their tantrums and demands and their parents pride in not saying "no" or ever administering any physical discipline, which would have been very unfair to their children because their parents were very indulging in every way--no bedtimes, nothing off limits, always framing their little monsters disrespect and destruction of other's property and bullying of other children with statements about how creative and advanced they were. And yes, my nephew that was never as much told NO or spanked was the nastiest bully I ever saw, hitting both his parents and most children that came within reach. My SIL thought she was a "super parent". It was an amazing thing to watch a large family gather of 30 or more people dwindle down to a few when they arrived. And this child was not special needs, he was turned into a pet.






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    3. Anon 1:42, I've seen a similar situation to your nieces and nephew. See this post:

      http://www.rural-revolution.com/2010/01/raising-thugs.html

      - Patrice

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  30. I have 4 kids--10, 9, 7 and 4. All of them are pretty good in the stores, except for the 4 year old. We have also left the store in the middle of shopping when there was some really bad behavior, or my husband would take the children and wait for me in the car. We rarely buy treats and candy for the kids, we can't afford to, but once in awhile, when we can, and ALL 4 kids are extremely well-behaved, we'll treat them out to eat. We live an hour to the big town so it's a pretty special excursion to go out and the kids know this. The younger one is our head strong one, and we've learned he will behave much better for us if he gets a little bit of space to explore and so we let him, as long as he knows to stay near and within sight of us, or else he will get whisked away to the car, which he doesn't like. We also try to allow for time to window-shop, for example, if we go to a store that has fish and we give the kids time to look and admire the different fishes. They all help with the shopping, and are expected to help unload the groceries at home and put them away, too. We're not perfect, we have bad shopping trips now and then, but we have a pretty good system and it works for us. The kids know if they want to go shopping they need to behave because bad behavior will not be rewarded with a trip into town.

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  31. If it were my daughter, I'd have stopped the trip right there. I'd have checked out the things I had (it would take too long to put everything back and inconsiderate to the employees who would have to if I left the cart) and there would be consequences and quite a firm lecture once we got home.

    If children are taught to respect and trust their parents' authority, then it will be much easier on them as adults when they are working for a boss or taking instruction from other authority figures. Most importantly, obeying the Lord will be less difficult if taught to obey Mom and Dad first.

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  32. I used to baby sit the little girl nextdoor. Her parents believed in letting her throw a temper tantrum in public and ignore her. They felt she would figure out that they will just ignore her bad behavior, she would not get attention and would stop. I took her to the grocery store and down one of the aisles she started up. I very nicely told her to wait just a minute. I wanted her to scream but let me get her to the milk aisle because everyone in the store buys milk and I wanted everyone to see her screaming. Her eyes got huge and she says NO! I said, then knock it off! Never had another problem with her and...neither did her parents! Be loving, be firm.

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    1. I love that! Reverse psychology is brilliant sometimes.

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  33. When my 4 children were young (10, 7, 4 and 3) and we were on a shopping excursion we witnessed a situation similar to the one you spoke about. We were in the check out line and the young 3 or 4 year old in front of us was acting out. She was yelling at the top of her little lungs, angry that her Mother had told her no to having candy. The Mom was trying without success to quiet her child without giving in to her - but was not successful. Every time the Mom said "No" or "be quiet or else", the little girl only got louder and actually responded with "YOU'RE STUPID" and "YOU CAN'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!" Well, at this point my youngest (and only daughter) turned looked up at me and asked me what was wrong with that little girl. Before I could think of a "PC" answer my oldest son replied for me with "She is being bad 'cause she can't get her way." And of course, not to be outdone my 7 year old chimed in with "She's lucky YOU'Re not her Mom or her bottom would be hurting" At this point I was trying hard not to laugh and managed to tell my children they needed to mind their own business. The Mom in front of us was noticeably embarrassed and apologized, and then bought the candy giving in to her daughter and left as quickly as she could get checked out. It reminded me of why my children minded when we were out (trust me, not always at home, but they were respectful more often than not)They were not perfect on every shopping trip, but they knew they had until the count of two to shape up, or punishment would be the next step. I was raised by a Mother who didn't believe in putting off punishments or praise, when they were deserved. Naturally I raised my children the same. Now that my children are 28, 25, 22 and 21 the often tell me they will raise their children the same way as I raised them. IE - if their children misbehave than punishments will be immediate, swift and commensurate with their actions. It is too bad more young people weren't raised that way and even more sad that their children won't know the difference between love with respect and consequences and love with indifference and no consequences.

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  34. ah yes, behave badly and you get attention. empty cart, take child home and give suitable discipline for bad behaviour...then, mom (and probably dad too if there is one) needs to start teaching their children that good behaviour deserves and gets praise and attention.

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  35. With my own sons they would have gotten a spanking right then and there. Also, I have been known to say something to the unruly child myself. The child is usually in shock as is the mother, and then I just walk away. Sometimes the parents thank me. I guess I'm old enough that anymore I just cannot tolerate sassy children or parents who won't make the effort to do the right thing.

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  36. I have worked retail on several occasions, witnessed terrible behaviors, and I have resolved to not go out in public if my kids(when I have them)can't behave. In that instance, the shopping trip would be over, items returned, a hasty exit to the car would occur and the spanking administered. For me, I don't like to see badly behaved children in public, so I don't wish to have my children be a burden on any unsuspecting shoppers either. Young parents have to be proactive and methodical when disciplining children. You can't just take a day off and not enforce the rules, because then everything you worked toward in behavior is likely to disappear and you have to start from the beginning.

    Renee

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  37. I am more interested in this deathly fear everyone has of spanking their kids in public, as though it is something horrifying or illegal! My wife is pregnant with our first, and I fully intend to administer a public spanking if I feel it is in the child's best interest. Of course, I live in the deep south, where that is still fairly acceptable. Maybe things have devolved too far in other areas.

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    1. Sadly you often CAN'T administer public spankings to your children. My younger brother has two sons, and the youngest of my nephews used to be a serious handful. I was with my brother one time when his boy was about five years old and misbehaving in a museum. My brother swatted him on the tush... and half an hour later was explaining his actions to a couple of cops because some nosy busybody thought he was "abusing" his son.

      A nasty woman once threatened to call Child Protective Services on me when our daughter was a baby, for failing to dress her in what this busybody thought was appropriate attire for going shopping. See this post:

      http://www.rural-revolution.com/2010/07/lord-save-us-from-busybodies.html

      This is the real world, full of people who believe they know more than you do how to raise your kids. Just be careful, that's all I'm saying.

      - Patrice

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  38. I always followed the same policy that my father did. He was not in favor of disciplining my brother and I in public. If we were acting out, he gave us one chance to "Settle down". After that, if we kept it up, he'd say, "We'll be talking when we get home." Of course, we knew that meant we would be getting a spanking. After a few "talks", we would settle down when dad said so, and it worked just as well for my boys.

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  39. In our area of California, CPS believes it has the authority to remove children from the home for even the suspicion of spanking, even though spanking is not (YET) against the law. There is a state legislator who is bound and determined to make it illegal, however. It is terrifying to be the parent of a young child here. Even your tone of voice is monitored in public by "busybodies". And ask your children to assist with the shopping? "She should just be allowed to be a child!" "He should not have to pick up that jar (12 oz.) and put it in the cart! He's just a child!" (nine years) God help us! This has been going on for years, my children are adults now, and we had this kind of interference and criticism in public when they were growing up. It's even worse now. The whole lot of us (grown children and their families as well) are headed out of here as soon as that becomes remotely possible.

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    1. I wrote about my adopted nephews in an earlier post. They suffered under the rules of parenting and what my husband refers to as psycho-babble imposed upon them by the state of California. Some parents were still spanking back in the 80's but they dared not as they were under the magnifying glass.

      The public school indoctrination of children too young to fully understand the consequences, encouraging them to "report" their parents for spanking is going down a very dangerous path.

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  40. I will say that discipline is not just punishment, though that needs to be in the "toolbox". Having clear rules and enforcing them is important. Being consistent in those rules and in the consequences for misbehavior is crucial. When I was in college, I baby-sat for two families. One was very consistent, worked hard at training, spanked only in extreme circumstances (and one of their children was probably only spanked a couple of times, just the THOUGHT that Mommy and Daddy were disappointed was enough to curb bad behavior), and explained why if the rule changed, temporarily or permanently (parents' health, guests, etc.), The other family was inconsistent, spanked for everything, did not train, and changed rules willy-nilly without reason or explanation. The first family's children could be taken anywhere, behaved very well in all circumstances, and were a joy. The second family… Some of the children in the first family were very strong-willed, but their parents got their hearts early, and they learned to respect authority without giving up who they were.

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  41. I'd have put her in the freezer for her timeout...

    :oP

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  42. It's much tougher by the time the child's 7 years old. But ... absolutely ... teh shopping should have been over and child would go home for a spanking. That would be FOLLOWED by a SECOND spanking when dad got home.

    We did that for out-in-public issues for my first son. A few incidents of "double-jeopardy" over a few weeks and the problem was solved.

    The idea that it's a matter of respect going way beyond the public disobedience is true. This kid is getting by with that and worse at home ... and probably seeing mom & dad model it for her.

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  43. I agree you can't give a real spanking publicly for fear of losing the kids to the state. 1 swat on the hand is probably about all you can do. Once kids are initially under control, that is often enough.

    Some punishment can be administered in the car too. Not a major spanking, but a couple swats on the legs or a pinch.

    As for fearing for this child in the future ... yeah ... she's headed for trouble. Making our children mind is 95% for THEIR benefit, only 5% for ours!

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  44. Well, I'm one of those so-called "abusive" parents. I once took my grocery cart to the customer service counters, asked them to hold it for me, and marched my son out to the car where he was administered an "attitude adjustment". When we returned (I did HAVE to get the grocreies), his atittude was a lot better. I told him "no whining", and anything he whined for, he would not get. I would not have tolerated this child's disrespectiful attitude it if had meant totally leaving the store. That is a big problem now in the USA, letting children get away with being disrespecful and setting their own ideas above the parents.....all in the name of "psychology" and "psyche deprivation" and "abuse".....Homes should not be democrracies but monarchies where the parents rule......If that child figures out all she/he has to do it scream and someone will "rescue" them, well, yes, you are in for big trouble down the line. It's like crying wolf......,

    Kathleen in IL

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  45. As a step parent I never dared lay a finger on the kids for fear of going to jail and my husband losing what custody he did have.

    However, to this day (kids are now 17 & 20) they behave better for me than for either of their parents because misbehavior ESPECIALLY in public had severe consequences; loss of priviledges, loss of treats, loss of something fun, loss of a toy. Every single time.

    Not saying I was successful every time, but I was a great deal of the time.

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    1. Yes, consistency!

      I've known one set of parents who adopted through foster care and had to be very careful about discipline styles too. It can be done successfully, but most of us, myself likely included, would come up short without being able to use corporal punishment at key times.

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    2. One time my stepdaughter, probably around 9-10, was poking holes in packaging while we were waiting in line near the checkout at Michaels. I gave her a look, and she announced that I couldn't punish her because I wasn't her mother. I said in a loud voice to the other shoppers that she was my STEP daughter, not MY daughter. She suddenly decided to keep her hands to herself. I have other examples...LOL.

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  46. My mother would have smacked me across the mouth before I got the whole statement out. Of course part of that would have been from shock that I said something like that. I mouthed off plenty but always at home. I was taught early that bad behavior in public was simply not tolerated.

    That said, spanking was not really effective for me or my brother. It just made us sneaky and more determined to not get caught. Losing privileges worked much better.

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    1. It's true that every child is different. I had one sibling who needed to be spanked, one who responded better to financial punishments, and one who responded better to losing privileges.

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