Sunday, 18 July 2010
The other day, while running myself completely ragged by doing errands around town, I stopped off at McDonalds for a quick lunch accompanied by my one-year-old daughter, Aurora. I ordered our food, paid, received said food and sat down. While I was eating my cheeseburger and slurping down my Mickey D’s Sweet Tea and my teething daughter was munching on a french fry, I noticed the mother at the table directly ahead of us with her three children and mother-in-law.
Her youngest, a boy named Santana who was around 2 years of age by my guess, was just not listening to her commands. He wouldn’t eat his food. He wouldn’t sit down. He kept taking his older brother’s hat. He whacked his older sister in the face. He kept raising his voice. He kept trying to climb over the divider. Plain and simple, he was just a pain in the ass. I know they call them “The Terrible Twos” for a reason, but this kid was just taking it to a whole new level.
And the whole time, the mother did nothing to truly stop any of his behavior. The most that she ever did to discipline little Santana was tell him to sit down and eat his food in a normal, natural talkative tone of voice. No firmness, no sternness, no serious looks. She warned him that if he didn’t sit down and eat his food on the count of three, then he was going to get a smack on the butt. She constantly said this, but never followed through. It was an empty threat. Twice, she asked little Santana if she needed to tell his father about his behavior.
When he took his brother’s hat, right off his head I should mention, the mother simply asked little Santana whether or not he was going to wear the hat. If he wasn’t, then he should give it back. Of course, the older brother protested this because it was his hat and he wanted it back as he was wearing it. But the mother did nothing to resolve the issue. This whole time the mother-in-law was just quietly eating her meal.
You could tell she was completely embarrassed to be around this family of hers. She didn’t want to have any interaction with the mother nor the children; she occasionally looked around to make sure no one was watching what was taking place.
So, why is it that some mothers can’t or won’t discipline their children? Why do they use a very effective discipline technique, but never follow through with it? Such as the “Count To Three” method. Why do they undermine their own authority by threatening to tell the father, after the fact?
As though the father has more disciplinary authority than she does; having the father take care of the issue well after it has happened has no effect on the child because they have forgotten what they did wrong in the first place. Are mothers afraid of being too mean to their children? Or are they afraid of losing the love of their child if they punish them?
What do you do to punish/discipline your children, both in public and in the privacy of your home? Do you do anything different between the two so that people in public don’t think you’re a ‘bad/mean/harsh mom’?