I don't mean YOU specifically.
Or do I?
Possibly not, especially if I love you and care about you and know you more intimately than the passing BAD PARENTS I run into. I know, just like you know, that the spurts of insane child behavior are not reflective or my or your parenting. I know that this isn't how things go normally.
But sometimes, just sometimes, when I'm watching on other peoples parenting........I'm just stunned. Occasionally horrified.
I am never, EVER stunned in the "wow they're too hard on their kids" way.
I am consistently shocked at the "Wow....they've completely lost the whip hand with that one" way. And I think the phrase "the whip hand" should come BACK into heavy usage. I think I'm going to bring it back.
Let's reflect on some recent parenting I've seen.
Here is a child with their parent in a setting where the parent is trying to speak to other adults. Now, my 4 year old goes out of his way to be a booger when I'm on the phone - so I get the whole "I WANT ATTENTION" behavior. I do. This child is hitting and kicking their parent. HARD. Hitting and hitting and hitting.
Let's forget that this is some seriously violent behavior for the under 5 set......let's focus on the parental reaction.
The parent pulls out my least favorite parenting phrase of the new millennia.
"I want you to think about your choices. You need to make good choices."
I think that I am going to slap the next parent I hear say those words.
Or perhaps I'll say this.
"Excuse me, I'd like you to think about YOUR parenting choices. You see, you've chosen to allow aggressive/violent/disrespectful/unkind/generally bratty behavior to go unchecked. You're ignoring a tantrum, which I understand, but you're also not addressing your child as a human. You're not addressing what is driving this behavior and either curbing it with discipline or redirection, and you're not teaching positive social skills to your child. You're not parenting because you are embarrassed by your child's unbelievable bad behavior. Please understand, those of us with children realize that they do crazy, unpredictable things, and that sometimes you have to step in and BE THEIR PARENT. STOP THE MADNESS. I'm tired of hearing your child scream like a lunatic, without you at least trying to stop the behavior. It isn't normal and it isn't cute. I take all three of my kids out to eat and out in public all the time. Sometimes they are bad. Mostly they are good. WHY? Because there are repercussions. As a parent, you have to set the boundaries of expectation for social interaction. And there have to be repercussions for violations of those expected behaviors. Out in the world, as adults, the repercussion for bad behavior can be losing a job, getting beat up, arrested, losing friends etc. We set our expectations for how we may behave toward others in childhood.
SET AN EXPECTATION."
Think about your choices. You need to make good choices.
Even when they are hard.