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Over and over again, I have heard, both from friends in random conversations, and from complete strangers who see one of my children in the throes of a tantrum, flailing on the dirty tiled floor, that if my child is misbehaving the best way to nip that in the bud is to pick up and leave.
Obviously, that will work in some cases. At the playground, perhaps? Sure, if my child is having a heck of a day trying to get along with other children, then yeah, you scoop the kid up and take him home, and let him know that next time, if he can remember to play nicely, then we can stay.
But what about other places? I really do HAVE to go grocery shopping. I really do NEED to be at church. What kind of a message does it send to a child to know that he can throw a fit whenever he wants, and mommy will drop everything to take him home? How long do YOU think it will take him to figure out that a temper tantrum will get him back home where he wants to be, instead of having to hold on to the shopping cart as we slowly meander up and down all the isles EXCEPT for the one HE wants to go down? You know, the one filled with candy? The one that STARTS his tantrum?
I'm sorry, but while my children are my whole world, I am not willing to
1. Give them that kind of power over me and my necessary duties
2. let them feel that the whole world revolves around them
3. Let them think that things, such as Church, are not important enough for me to stick it out, even though it's just as hard for me to be there WITH crying, hungry, tired children, as it is for them to sit there AS crying, hungry, tired children. This is an important place for our family to be. They will never learn to sit and listen and be reverent if we up and leave with every disobedience.
4. Walk out of a store, leaving behind a shopping cart chock full of groceries that I NEED to feed said dear children with, just so I can come back another time and do it all over again. Call me lazy. I'm not doing it.
Besides, even at the park, isn't it nicer to make them sit next to you for 3 minutes on a time out, then talk to them about their problem, and let them practice what they've learned from their experience, than it is to haul a screaming child home, only to listen to him continue to cry and beg to go back?
As far as the type of public discipline, I think that if you are not comfortable using your type of discipline in public, then you probably shouldn't be using that type of discipline at all- even when you're at home.
And for the record, yes, I spank. And yes, I have spanked my child in public. That is not to say I beat the kid, but a swift swat on the bum while I sit them on the Wal-mart bench isn't anything worse than what I do at home, nor is it something that will draw major attention. As I have experienced before, it's usually the child screaming at me that draws the attention. Not my discipline measures.
So what do YOU think? Do you discipline in public? Do you discipline differently in public than you do at home? Or are you one of those parents who up and books it out of a public place whenever your child acts up?
I'd love to know! Lets chat! Leave a comment, and play nice!