Public Displays of Brat-fection

I took the girls to a new indoor play facility on Saturday. It was just the antidote for a cold and dreary day. There is a nifty large sand box area that the girls gravitated to immediately. I talked Miss C out of hitting the sand first and she happily trotted over to the artwork zone, but it didn’t take Miss A long to meander over to the sand. She is, after all, still 2, and 2-year-olds will willingly roll around in a bed of sand like frisky puppies they love the stuff so much.

I was trying to keep an eye on both girls amidst a large crowd of playing children and their parents milling about, when I heard a child start crying and realized my child was the culprit. I practically swung on a vine over kids to get to the sandbox and scold Miss A for rudely taking a toy truck away from a smaller child and making her cry. All was well and Miss A and the other girls went back to playing happily. Then a few minutes later another sandbox kid picks up a plastic scoop full of sand and slings it toward the other kids (and thankfully it just missed hitting everyone squarely in the eyes.) His mom was sitting on the edge of the sandbox and not only doesn’t say anything, but practically starts laughing. I was horrified! He started to pick up the plastic scoop to sling more sand and she casually tells him to stop. Later on I saw a little boy sitting at a play picnic table with that mischievous look on his face that says, “I’m about to trash this freaking place!” Sure enough he started raking toy food off the table with his arm as hard as he could and then, because that wasn’t getting a reaction from anyone, picking things up and throwing them off the table. I could tell he was about to have a major tantrum. And then he picked up the biggest toy on the table and slung it as far as he could. “Hey buddy, we don’t throw toys!” I said to him. His mom finally rushed over to politely shush him as if she was afraid he might break if she raised her voice.

I’m one of those moms, gasp, who will publicly scold her children. I have picked my kids up and toted them out of stores kicking and screaming.

I tend to believe that the parents who chuckle amusingly when their kids act like brats in public will be crying in their wine glasses when those same kids are teenagers. And no, my kids are definitely not perfect and I am most definitely not a perfect mom. Most of the time I battle with being an overly impatient parent. So the discipline imbalance can go both ways. But if my child should sling sand toward other kids’ faces? I’m not going to chuckle into my Starbucks cup and trip off into la la la suburban mommy “my kids are so amusing” land.

26 comments

  1. Bluegrass Mama says:

    I’m so with you, Jamie! I tend toward the Gestapo end of the disciplinary scale, and sometimes have to tone it down. But not to the point of letting my child get away with that kind of nonsense in public (well, at 13 she may not fling sand, but she’d do the teenage equivalent).

    Bluegrass Mama’s last blog post..Ice Age

  2. Jacki says:

    Totally agree! When our daughter acts up in public we deal with it right then and there. We don’t scream at her at the top of our lungs, but we do make sure she gets the message.

    I just don’t understand why some parents are so afraid of telling their kids to stop doing something.
    One time I was in line at Walmart (a rather long line) and for 5 minutes this mother let her son scream and whine and she completely ignored him. I wanted to yell “Shut UP!” My daughter said: “He needs to take a nap.”

    Jacki’s last blog post..Meal Planning for Busy People

  3. Lisa says:

    I’m with you! I would have given that Mom “the look” if you know what I mean. Both sets of our parents think we’re too strict with the girls, but guess what? They’re (for the most part) really well behaved and respectful. I don’t think that’s just a cooincidence. Hubby & I just finished a six-week parenting course called “Love & Logic”. In it it talks about how it’s much more beneficial for your little ones to learn the about consequences when they’re three then when they’re sixteen.

    Go Mommy Go!

    Lisa’s last blog post..Going solo

  4. Sarah Kimmel says:

    AMEN!!! Another pet peeve of mine is when the parents aren’t even paying ANY attention to their child. Like they send their 3 year old off to the park to play by themselves. I get soooo angry! Then of course I also get angry with the parents who let their children do whatever the heck they want, like they are scared to say no to their kids! YOU ARE THE PARENT, they will say they hate you sometimes, it comes with the territory.

    Sarah Kimmel’s last blog post..Wait, Wait, Wait? How Can We Wait

  5. Sunshine says:

    Oh, we’re definitely on the same page here.
    My kids, warranting a scolding with inappropriate behavior, will get reprimanded in public. I don’t care how “mean” I seem to other parents. And if somebody else’s kid is doing something that extends beyond bratty to hurtful/dangerous, I will say something, in as sacchrine (sp?) a way as possible, “you know, Junior, it’s not nice to slash at the other kids with rusty razor blades, why don’t you find your mommy and give those to her?” or whatever command seems necessary at the time.
    I think there are a couple kind of moms. The ones who truly never discipline their child and the ones who do, but don’t in public so they can appear to be the cool/fun mom all the kids would love to have.
    I just don’t happen to care how mean I seem if my kid is being a little a**hole.

    Sunshine’s last blog post..How to Stay Calm in an Emergency

  6. Anne says:

    I am a firm believer in not letting other kids behave poorly…in public or at my house. you don’t have to be a hag for it to be effective, as you demonstrated so well!

    Hell used to be other people, now hell is ‘other parents’.

    Anne’s last blog post..anyone else?

  7. Traci says:

    Heh. I’m not above telling other people’s kids they did wrong! My own think I am the “meanest Mom ever”. That is a direct quote.

  8. Blonde Mom says:

    The more I think about it, maybe she had spiked her coffee with a little somethin’ somethin’. 😉

    Oh to be that mellow…NOT!

  9. Jill says:

    What is with these parents who do nothing? I simply don’t get it. I am on my kid like white on rice constantly at home and in public. One false move and he gets a hissing mama in his ear.

    Jill’s last blog post..9 Years Old

  10. Beth_C says:

    I feel the same as you. These parents are going to be sorry they didn’t do a better job of punishing their kids when they are a little older. B

    etter to do it know and have the kids learn to behave than hope they will grow out of it!

    Beth_C’s last blog post..Announcing…Miracle Monday

  11. Rachel says:

    Sing it sistah! I’m the mom who marches the little brat around until we find their mummy poo and I honey it up: “Oh… I’m sooo glad we found you. Little johnny on the spot here was hitting the other kids, and I just know that you would want to know so that you could talk to him about how that’s wrong. I mean since he’s not my kid, it’s not my place to do that.” Then I stand there, watching.
    I can’t stand parents like that!!

    Rachel’s last blog post..No Peek Chicken

  12. bill says:

    You are scarring them for life.

    Never will they know the joys of not understanding why other people don’t seem to want to put up with their tantrums. They won’t have the pleasure of forking over hundreds, thousands of dollars to a therapist to explain to them what went wrong in their childhood. The knowledge that others don’t like a sullen, greedy companion will not be theirs.

    I hope you’re HAPPY with yourself…(g)

  13. jennifer says:

    I agree with you completely. You have to correct the child while they are doing the behavior, not ignore it and hope the behavior goes away. I think that lady will be in a heap of trouble when that child gets older like you said.

    jennifer’s last blog post..Toilet Paper Roll Race Cars

  14. Molly says:

    What that mother apparently doesn’t know is that she’ll be paying for all her “let’s be friends” easy-peasy discpline when the kid is an uncontrollable holy terror as a teenager. I know some people might think I am too hard on my kids, but I refuse to raise a brat.

    Molly’s last blog post..Margarita Monday Leap Year

  15. Erin says:

    As a babysitter, I can say I’m thankful when you parents scold your kids. Makes my job easier. And as a Sunday School teacher, I can say that I’m a scolder in class. (I feel sometimes like the mean teacher but come on, if you are in the first grade, you are too old to color your arm green with markers.)

    So, scold on!!

    Erin’s last blog post..Dennis has worn leather pants!!!

  16. Jennifer says:

    I’m with you on this one. I have left places many times when my girls act up. Keeping them there is like rewarding them for poor behavior. I haven’t always lived by that rule since it’s not fair to punsih the child who was behaving good, but try to leave the situation when ever possible.

    I had an incident where a child punched my daughter at Chucke E Cheese in the tunnel thing and before I could run up in there to get her away form him another mom was standing closer to the entrance and went up and got her for me. She wasn’t the mom of the child either. That mom didn’t even say sorry to my daughter or me for her son’s behavior. My girls are active and far from perfect and I always make them apologize.

    Jennifer’s last blog post..Tip of the Week

  17. youarekiddingme says:

    Totally agree. Sometimes I think, how blissful it must be to be the mom who sits on the side with my Starbucks coffee and cell phone while my child is happily pounding away at the other tykes. Instead, I’m the stressed out mom who is constantly on top of my little guy making sure he learns respect. That is such a BIG thing for me.

    youarekiddingme’s last blog post..Naps, chocolate chip cookies, and American law

  18. Jenni says:

    I really need to be sleeping right now, but I had to say you are right on. It’s worth the eye-rolling now to deal with it head-on. In a few years, when your girls are respectful and functioning, you will be reaping the rewards of follow-through and discipline.

    Jenni’s last blog post..What The Owl Says

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