Thursday, June 12, 2014

Making Parenting Fun

This father's pantomime of his daughter's meltdown is the equivalent of Ye Old Stocks, where people were placed out in the town square to face the humiliation of their peers. And I say, "HEAR! HEAR! Where are my tomatoes?"

We need more of this style of parenting and far, FAR less of the overly solicitous, "princess-let's-talk-about-your-feelings" style of parenting that allows children to feel that outrageously obnoxious, uncontrolled temper spats make others bow to their whims.

One of the gravest mistakes you can make as a parent, and one that the liberalized therapists and  authorities on parenting insist that you MUST make if you are to be an enlightened parent, is to treat your child as if he or she is an adult. Today's parent is told to listen to his child, honoring the emotional struggles of childhood and encouraging them to talk about their feelings, trying to guide the little dauphin to a reasonable resolution.

This is worse than nonsense. It is dangerous.

Children are the original terrorists. They see anything less than General Patton threatening to wrap their guts around his wheels as weakness and surrender. Any child worth their salt will only push further into parental territory at the first waver and begin demanding everything in sight. Their precious little egos should never be the parent's concern at this stage of life. They are ALL ego at this stage of life. SUPER. EGO. ME! ME! ME! MINE! MINE! ME! NOOOOOOOOOW!

Years ago I was renting a movie at the video store (I'm talking YEARS!), when a young male demon decided - for whatever reason - that he was not going to leave the store with his mother. He was, instead, going to stop squarely in the doorway and share with all of us his bellowing vocalizations regarding something about which I did not give even a tiny little shit. (Which was for the best as his rage had rendered him unable to form words.) His mother performed the standard public response of trying to soothe him, immediately bargaining with the miniature tyrant, but apparently she did not offer sufficient booty to quench his fury and the screaming increased. With a sudden show of backbone, she threatened to take him straight out to the car if he couldn't control himself. Now I was interested. This was unexpected, I thought.

The raging little hell spawn thought so, too, because he reacted with a strange hiccup and a look of mystified confusion.

She had him.

But she blinked.

You can not blink in such moments. This is as dangerous as dropping your crucifix when performing an exorcism. This is like freezing when you are playing a pipe in front of a cobra. You. Must. Not. Blink!

But she did and that was it.

The noise out of this kid threatened to shake the movies off the shelves. I realized I was marking red lines in my palms from clenching my fists to remain silent. And the mother, having surrendered her authority utterly but clinging to some semblance of adulthood for the rest of us, actually said to her thundering spawn, "Okay then, we will stay right here - with all these people - until you get control of yourself."

W. T. F?

I blurted out, "How is THAT going to shut him up? Screaming in front of us is The Plan."

She looked at me like I was a horrible person. I looked at her like she was stupid.

I didn't blink.

She turned and grabbed her child and dragged him, still screaming and now thrashing, out to the car.

I won.

But if I were Queen, there would still be stocks for idiots and tyrants, whatever their age.



  1. "Today's parent is told to listen to his child, honoring the emotional struggles of childhood and encouraging them to talk about their feelings, trying to guide the little dauphin to a reasonable resolution."

    As you say, that's a lost cause from the word go. Heck, even as adults we tend to be quite irrational, so how the hell do we come up with this stupid idea that kids of that age are going to reason things through??

  2. That's the honest truth. Adults find it impossible to be fully rational and control their emotions. How can we possibly expect to "reason" with a three year old? It is just stupid -- and disastrous because three year olds may be bone-head stupid, but they are amazingly clever at reading you and playing power games. Too many parents let the little darlings win. And then you end up with liberals!

  3. A friend of mine was in a local Sears store with his three year old daughter. She wanted something, he told her "NO!" and instant tantrum. A fall down on the floor kicking and screaming tantrum. Instead of trying to get her to quiet down, or giving in to her extortion, he started calling folks over, pointing and laughing at the child. She shut up and never threw another tantrum.

    My second kid, when she was two decided to try tantrums to get her way. We tried everything: we sent her to her room, we spanked her ... no result. The next tantrum she threw, she collapsed in the living room floor, kicking and screaming. I reached down, picked her up by the back of her overalls, carried her into the bathroom, dropped her in the tub, and turned the cold shower on her. She gasped in a lungful of air, shut up, and never threw another tantrum. Unfortunately, this method did NOT work with the next kid.

    1. Our daughter was a screamer. Over just about anything. One day I was standing at the kitchen sink and she was screaming about something. I had just filled a glass with ice cold water and turned around and threw it in her face. She sucked in air like a compressor, arms thrown out from her sides, dripping wet. That was the last time she ever tried to scream her way to victory. Not. Happening.

      But other than that, all the time outs and removal of toys, privileges, etc. did not a damn thing. That worked.

  4. It is hard to argue with any of the points you made in this post. The children
    as original terrorists is right on. Discipline is necessary to keep the little snots
    from degenerating into wild animals. The movie Lord Of The Flies is the perfect
    film to describe what the lack of fathers in the inner cities has come to. A
    strong father figure is necessary to civilize the savage animals otherwise known
    as boys, and to protect his daughter and act as a role model for the type of
    man she should one day marry.