Becka's Babble

Ramblings of a Romance Writer

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Watch Out, a Controvertial Blog Today!

Okay, people. What's up with this?

For those of you who are link-click shy, this is the story that's been going around about the family who were kicked off an airplane because their child was throwing a temper tantrum. This particular link goes to a story about how this controversy has stirred up "nostalgia", most of all, raising kids the "old fashioned" way.

What has happened to discipline in this country? Hell, in ANY country? Are we so afraid to discipline our children that we let them run amok all over God's creation? Are we so afraid of the 'work' it might be to get Johnny to sit in his seat at the restaurant that we simply let him terrorize the other patrons by playing hide-and-seek a few tables down?

Since when has this become acceptable??

I'll tell you one thing, people. I have four kids. Aged 7, 6, 5, & 4. These are all small kids, just barely out of toddlerhood. And they are good kids. My husband and I are frequently complimented on how well our children behave in public (and at home), and it's not because we "got lucky" four times over. **rolls eyes** What-the frick-ever. "Got lucky." Pshaw. It was hard damn work, but it's paid off.

We rarely spank. We rarely smack our kids on the hand even. Why? Because when they were babies and toddlers, we set firm boundaries and expected those boundaries to be respected by them. We made it clear that "No" means "No", not maybe, not sometimes, ALL the time. Our children are not allowed to have temper tantrums. If they do, they are picked up off the ground and given a swift swat to grab their attention. If they insist on crying, they can do it all by themselves in isolation on the couch. This prevents them to have the "payoff" of getting what they want, therefore, the child stops their tantrum. And if they get off the couch, we smack them and put them right back until Mommy or Daddy says they can jump down.

Now I'm not talking about child beating here. People think "spanking" is some kind of evil thing. Well, you cannot get Johnny's attention by reasoning with a 2 year old. They just don't understand what you're talking about, even if they do answer you with "yeah" and "okay". The swat doesn't even have to be painful. Just enough to let them know you mean business.

Case in point, my 3 y/o nephew came up for my son's recent birthday party. We went out to a mexican restaurant and the kids were wolfing down the chips. I told them no more because I didn't want them to fill up on the chips and salsa before they got their dinner. My nephew, after a few minutes, thinks I'm not looking and reaches for a chip. I smack his hand away (not hard at all, just swiped it away from the chips) and said sternly, "No!" He screamed at me. Screamed! I was in shock. So what did my sister and her hubby do? Coddled him and took him outside for a "talking to." If you hold the child in your arms when they are having a tantrum you are TEACHING THEM it's okay for them to act that way. Why? Because everytime they do it, they know you'll hold them and rock them.

Backwards logic, people.

To get back to the subject at hand, I applaud the airline that booted the family. Don't blame the airline because YOU couldn't control your child. If I had been on the plane, I just might have clapped when they were kicked off while my four calm children stared in bewilderment and asked my husband and I why that obnoxious child didn't listen to her parents. (Yes, my kids really do ask me that question frequently on jaunts around town.)

It's not the child who is at fault here. When people have unruly kids, 9 times out of 10, they have lazy parents.




At 4:51 PM , Blogger Becka said...

Oh, and one more thing. NEVER count to your children. If they're acting out, take care of it swiftly and immediately. "Counting" to 3 or 5 or whatever just tells them they have 3 to 5 more seconds to goof off.

Besides, when you get to number one or two, there are no consequenses for the counting. Kids respond to action/reaction. Their action is tantrum, your reaction should be taking care of it, the first time every time.

Counting up to 5 tells Johnny you don't really "mean" it, and you'd rather keep sitting in your easy chair than get up to deal with the problem at hand.


At 6:59 PM , Blogger Lisa said...

We're quite strict w/ Michael *4 year old*, we always have been. He's a great listener, especially when we're in public. I've also been told how 'lucky' I am. Especially from the parents of a little girl he goes to daycare with. For some reason they can't get her to go to bed, stop talking back, or listen. Its easy, enforce the rules you make!

Now that he's older we don't spank him anymore as much, I find we just don't need too. But, unlike you, I do the counting thing. Here is how it goes in our house.

Michael-thats the last swing its time to go home now. *swings one more time* 3- If I get to 1 you are going to have consequences. 2- his little butt is running for the car.

On the rare occasions I get to 1, it used to be a smack on the bum. Now it's no TV or video games. His least favourite is no toys, all he can do is read books for the whole evening. lol

Now, if he's being defiant; talking back, showing attitude, thats a different story. Immediate action, no counting. He knows what we expect he has even sent himself to his room!

I really don't understand why parents are afraid to be...parents.

At 12:20 PM , Blogger Becka said...

If counting works for you, great! In my experience, however, I've seen women do this in grocery stores, with no consequences, so of course the kid is going to continue to act out.

Or what about the mom who is shopping, oblivious to the fact her child is screeching in a frequency only dogs can hear? I feel like yelling at these parents. DON'T ACT LIKE NOTHING'S WRONG!! Your kid is fricken squealing in the middle of the store for Heaven's sake. Do something about it.

Common sense has flown out the window nowadays. I never have to discipline my children in public. That's not to say they don't act up. Most of the time I'll say in a stern voice, "Are we going to have a problem?" and they back off because they know Mom's not afraid to leave the basket and walk out of the store if they decide to test me.

I think most of the discipline problems today stem from the fact the parent hasn't established a respect bond between themselves and their children. If your child does not respect you, you will have no control over that child.

My kids respond to positive reinforcement. So if I'm disappointed in them, it makes them feel bad. Why? Because they respect me and my opinion of their behavior. They walk on air whenever I tell them I'm so proud of them, so they'd rather get a high five for being good kids than get embarrassed for causing a scene in the store and disappointing me.

Spanking and/or smacking doesn't even come into the mix most times, and that's due to the fact my kids know I won't hesitate to do so if I need to, therefore, they never put themselves in a position where they get smacked.

You can't jump into parenthood without knowing how to be a parent. You can't just "figure things out" on your own. DH and I read books and even took a class about child-rearing. We prepared ourselves to do the right thing because we knew it could be done. A friend of ours had the most excellent children on Earth and we wanted that for our own kids. So one day, we sat down and said, "How did you do that?"

And they handed us their books, audio tapes, and video tapes on how to be a good parent. We learned a LOT, let me tell you. Now, we have angelic children as well. :)

The point to my blog post and these long comments is this: we've lost sight of Parent-Centered parenting. We've become a world-wide society of Child-Centered parenting and that is bad bad bad. Your world should not revolve around your child. THEIR world should revolve around you.


At 3:07 PM , Blogger Lisa said...


What books were those? I'm always looking at ways to be a better parent.

I heard an author speak for two days on Focus on the family about a book called "Don't make me count to three" Its basically about teaching your child to want to behave, rather than just giving the outward appearance of behaving. If that makes sense.
I've done a few of the tips she had now that he is older and we can have a conversation. It seems to make a difference in his attitude when he understands what he is doing wrong, and why it's not acceptable. I will usually ask him: Michael, are you obeying right now? Does God want you to obey? Do you think that you need consequences for your behaviour? And, of course, then comes the follow through. I would say follow through is about 99.999999% of discipline.

At 3:20 PM , Blogger Becka said...

Specifically Babywise and Childwise. :) And yes, Focus on the Family is a great place to start as well.

How funny we use the same things to tell our children. My kids are homeschooled with Christian curriculum, so they learn about the science of God's world, history in God's world, on top of a Bible course and such. So each subject isn't just a "subject", it also incorporates God into everything. Even their penmanship subject has them writing Bible verses and poems. My daughter learned how to write cursive by writing John 3:16 in her workbook in cursive. How cool is that?

Not only that, but it allows the child to memorize some important verses as well.

But aside from that, we tell the children how Mommy and Daddy wants them to act and also how God wants them to act, to do the right and kind thing for others.

Obviously this approach isn't going to help families who aren't Christian or who don't want to raise their kids this way, so I would say continue to raise your kids to respect you, regardless of if God is a part of your life.

And the Babywise and Childwise books also come in a non-Christian edition, basically all the same principles, but with no religiosity. As Capt. Tightpants would say. :)


At 3:09 AM , Blogger misty wright said...

Well my kids throw fits, but you have to look at what all they have been through. It is not b/c I don't spank them and try to put a end to it. I do and I talk to them and tell them what they have done wrong. They are at the age where their testing mom, especially now that daddy is not here to help. (Hubby passed away, for those that don't know me)

I have control, but would like them to listen better and not throw fits. It is mainly my 2 and 1 year old. I'm doing the best I can and that doesn't make me a bad parent. It just means I have to work harder at it.

At 12:03 PM , Blogger Becka said...

While my original post is a rant, that much is true, I don't mean to say one parent is "better" than another. Merely that the parents of unruly children should learn how to correctly handle situations of tantrums and such.

Obviously, I don't know all the answers. I've had my share of attitude and outbursts. However, I do believe it's all in how you handle it.

Like I stated before, I do believe parents should buy books and maybe find audio or video tapes or DVD's on the subject of parenting.

And yes, for Misty, I do understand how your kids would be testing the boundaries now that Daddy is gone. My point behind my rant was don't waffle. Don't hem and haw around your kids. Be strict, be firm, and follow through.

If you say, "Johnny, do that one more time and I'll smack you." and Johnny does it one more time, you better be prepared to live up to your word. Because if you don't, your child will walk all over you.

Wouldn't you blow someone off who was always making threats but never followed through? How long would you respect them?

Your boss:

"Dang, John's late again today. I should write him up."

"Looks like John's late again. I'm really going to write him up."

"Well look at that. John's late. Shocker. He's going to regret it."

"Where is John...?"

Maybe a bad analogy, but you get the point. Would you respect your boss or roll your eyes at them if they never actually wrote John up? And what is that telling John? That it's "okay" to come in late. Why? Because he never actually gets written up, even though the boss complains.

In the same way, kids see this in their parents. Threaten threaten threaten--no follow through.

I'm not saying YOU don't do this, Misty, because honestly, I don't know. And each child is different, that's true. But there definately needs to be boundaries, the child needs to know what those boundaries are, and the child needs to realize there are consequences for crossing those boundaries.


At 12:36 PM , Blogger misty wright said...

I totally agree Becka. Parents should care more and deal with their kids more. My kids aren't bad at all. They have moments, but I've seen those that let them run wild and don't do a darn thing about it. I hate that as well and I think the same things. I know where you are coming from, just wanted to let you know. :)


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