Let me start out by saying…I have a very spirited 2-year-old. When she’s up, she’s up and when she’s down, she’s down-sometimes literally, like in the parking lot of our local market, or Target, or favorite Mexican restaurant. My child, I think was delivered to me, to humble me and wipe most of the judgment out of me. Lately, things have been turning around, as we’ve been a little more consistent with discipline as well as PRAYER. That being said, even though I just have one kid right now, I know first hand what its like to dread trips to the grocery store, to cross my fingers that lunch out will be ok, and just generally not know what to expect in a day, etc, etc.
But I do have a bone to pick with some parents I’ve been noticing lately. Let me explain.
Today I was in Target when I saw a mom shout down an aisle to a kid (who wasn’t even down that row) “Chelsea, come on, right now.” I heard an elementary school kid answer “ok!” As I passed the mom, who was pushing a cart next to a 12-year-old, who was holding a baby, she said to the 12-year-old (loudly and expressively) “She is driving me nuts today.”
I was out to lunch with a hand full of girls and their toddlers/preschoolers. We met at a place that my kid traditionally freaks out at, so I left her with her dad, who happened to be off. There is a playground, but it’s not toddler friendly, plus it had also been raining. I don’t do wet slides. Yuck. Most of the other girls brought their toddlers. None of them were misbehaving (unless you call normal toddler wandering around misbehaving). Out of no where one of the girls yelled at her 2 or 3-year-old “SIT DOWN RIGHT NOW.” Yelled. Not said sternly. Yelled. Then she loudly proclaimed to all of us (in front of all of her kids) that her kids had been driving her crazy lately.
I was getting out of the passenger side of our car at a Braums, somewhere in the heart of Oklahoma on a trip to the Midwest, as another mom was getting out of her mini van. As she opened the sliding door to let her daughter out, this is what she was saying to her 4-year-old (2 feet from my face). “YOU HAVE ASKED ME THREE TIMES, and I SAID WE WERE GOING TO GRANDMA’S” A few minutes later in the bathroom, I had the unfortunate experience of watching this same little girl get berated for not drying her hands fast enough.
Ok, here’s the deal. I get it. I get it that motherhood is hard and exhausting work. My morning started like this today, “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy,” at 7:30am. It continued like that until 7:00pm. That’s how most days go. Two weeks ago, the Beagle ate the Lab/Rot’s food and Chickadee heard me reprimand him. Now for 2 weeks, it’s constant, “Mommy, Toby eat Attie?” all day long. I’d be lying if I said this doesn’t get a little redundant explaining over and over again, that “Yes, Toby did eat Attie’s food, but it’s ok because he apologized.” (He didn’t really, but whatever, he can’t talk). And when it’s not that, it’s something else, because she’s a toddler. Toddlers and children are learning how to be good and respectable people. And they learn how to do that from US!!! Toddlers and children ask a lot of questions because they are learning more in a day than we learn in a year. Toddlers and children fidget because they have a lot of energy. And that’s normal. It’s good. If your toddler didn’t have energy, you’d be in a specialist’s office figuring out why.
There is no need to be a jerk to our kids. There is simply no need. Kind of like there’s no need for your boss to be a jerk or your spouse to be a jerk or that random guy on the interstate or in the parking lot to be a jerk. It’s just not ok. Why do parents EVER think it’s ok to yell at their children (unless they are in imminent danger)? I get that sometimes all we want to do is yell. I get it, seriously, but it’s not ok. If we yell at our children in public we are shaming them and there is nothing worse that we could do to them. If we say that they drive us crazy in front of them, we are shaming them. If we tell our child’s siblings bad things about them, we are shaming them. Last time I checked, none of us like to be shamed, let alone in public. But here’s the scary thing, if these parents have no qualms with shaming their children in public, in front of strangers or friends, what do they do behind closed doors?
Parents, please stop yelling at your children. Pray for patience. Learn the art of calming down before you lash out. We don’t let our children throw hissy fits, why is it ok for us to? By all means discipline your children. Teach them to be good little people, but don’t do it with yells and screams. Yells and screams don’t produce positive change, unless it’s deterring your child from running in the street, as previously mentioned (I literally yelled “STOP” just this morning-why is the street so enticing??).
There were three of us, three girls, all two years apart and my parents never yelled, not at us, not at each other. You can bet your life we were disciplined. You can bet we were scared of our parent’s discipline (a little more of mom’s than dad’s). But they never yelled. And we are better for it. We felt loved and secure because of it. Parenthood can happen sans yelling.