During the past few years, every time I have spent some time with children, I wonder how parents are raising their children. I do not have children, so I do not have first-hand experience. But I just am concerned. Sometimes I am even present with both parent and child, and the young one does something rather evil, but nothing is said or done. I guess I am even more thankful for my parents and how they raised me. To quote Martha Stewart: discipline, it is a good thing.

13 thoughts on “Discipline?

  1. People always tell us our kids are well behaved… (we try not to brush it off. they are far from perfect in our minds.)

    Either way, we don’t hold the motto “pick your battles.” No, we hold to “consistency” and “mom/dad is always right, no ifs, ands or buts.” It works.

  2. If this bothers you, don’t EVER wait tables in a restaurant. Perfectly nice people’s children are horrifyingly rude to me all the time, and the parents say nothing (and neither do I, except sometimes I blink in stunned astonishment for several seconds before being able to continue with my work). I was walking through my restaurant with a tray full of mugs of hot coffee one night, and a little girl ran right out in front of me and under my tray. I almost gave her severe burns. Her grandmother, angry, said to me, “Watch out! I have a granddaughter here who doesn’t look where she’s going.” I just gaped at her.

    The upside is that well-behaved children make my day. Whenever I have a family with good, sweet kids, I make a point to say something to the parents or show my appreciation in some other way.

  3. My advise, and I’ve been on both sides of this one.

    Here is my latest experience with the little ones. I had them out by myself, wife out of town. Little one decided to act up in the middle of the meal. It got ugly.

    Now.. table next to us sat two people. Sitting about as close as they could get without actually sitting at our table with us. Apparently they where annoyed, but didn’t say anything. And didn’t move to the other side of their table. And didn’t ask to be moved to another table. They didn’t say anything.

    I didn’t know they where upset until “AFTER” they where leaving and made snarky comments on the way out.

    After the fact, three solutions come to mind:

    1. I should have just packed up and left. I can’t understand why I didn’t leave sooner.

    2. I could have asked to be moved to a corner, out of the way. But I didnt’ think of that until leaving.

    3. Other couple could have moved to the other end of their table instead of sitting about a foot away from my “brat”. They could have asked the manager to move them and asked the manager to talk to me.

    Was I wrong? yes. Where the other people wrong? yes.

    Why where they wrong? because they choose not to do anything custructive, just sit there and suffer, and prepare a rude/snarky remark for when they left.

    Because of their own snarky comments, I’m not really sorry that they where offended. And I’m probably worng about that also…

    But I’ll do things different next time.


  4. Lawrence:

    What I described wasn’t directed at your situation at all. I have ten nieces and nephews who are normally very well-behaved and who all have very good parents, and I know that with the really young ones, there’s sometimes very little to be done.

    I was talking about somewhat older kids (ages 4 and up, or so) whose parents turn a completely blind eye to rudeness when it’s directed at the waitress, or the parents who are ready and willing to blame the help for any accident their kid caused (like hot coffee spilling everywhere). The people sitting at the table next to you need to not eat at a family-type restaurant if they don’t want to deal with the basic nature of very young children. Sure, there are some things a parent can do, but they could definitely have been a little more understanding.

    I wasn’t sure if you thought my comment was directed at the situation you described or not, but I did want to clarify. I understand that little kids scream and throw tantrums. It’s just the way things are, no matter how good a parent you are.

  5. Vida,

    I took no personal offense at your original comments. They just got me to thinking about similar situations I’ve been where I wish I had made different decisions about my own unruly children.

    In my case, with and under-4-year-old, I really did not take appropriate parental action. But no-one else did either, not the other patrons and not the management. All three parties contributed to making the situation worse by not taking immediate appropriate action.

  6. Most people simply tell us that we’re “lucky” we got a good one, and that the next one will show us what it’s really like. I know they don’t realize how insulting such a statment is, but I also have become convinced that it is the self-defense mechanism of a guilty-conscience to find a way to make sure that bad things didn’t happen because of what “I” did (or didn’t do.) This then, includes making sure others know that they are not responsible for good outcomes either.

    It is the modern system of belief to think that parenting techniques have nothing to do with the behavior of children. Not very Einsteinian if you ask me – you know – “cause and effect.”

  7. I know what you mean… my wife Sarah and I get compliments about our daughter, Magdalena… and they tell us how “lucky” we are that she’s so good, and hopefully the other ones won’t be bad! 🙂

    I think discipline has a lot to do with it… but when babies are small (like ours, who is almost 9 months), environment has a lot to do with it as well. I can’t really say we “discipline” Lena, because she’s not old enough to understand… but I know that Sarah and I provide a calm and loving home… and because it’s not always hectic here, I think Lena is not “hectic” either.

    My wife has an aunt who is the exact opposite environment, and her kids are all hell-raisers! 🙂


  8. My two kids are completely different individuals. Hard to say what is better or worse between them. They both have their moments.

    In public, the shy older one is generally more well behaved. But the younger one isn’t shy, and in public acts the same as at home.

  9. I do not have kids yet (it will be for october, Deo Volente), but I’ve worked in stores enough to have seen the parents of horrible brats refusinf to do say something, certanly not to traumatize the little darling. My wife teaches the violin, and she would have stories to tell, too.
    I knwo all little ones can have a bad day (like adults, for that matter), but you can easily make the difference between an “accident” and a kid who is clearly not well-behaved.
    I think I was more the kind of shy and quiet kid; but nayway, I would never had dreamed to do even half of what some do or say. You almost never see people disciplining thier kids in public when needed; why is that?

    I do not care if some parents want to make brats of their kids; it’s their choice, but I refuse to suffer the consequences of it!!

  10. “You almost never see people disciplining thier kids in public when needed; why is that?”

    Because here it could get you arrested, your kids taken away, and a lengthy visit with Family and Protective Services bureaucrats.

  11. Because here it could get you arrested, your kids taken away, and a lengthy visit with Family and Protective Services bureaucrats.

    Yeah, I know, I know. Some years ago, a French guy was sent to prison because he had spanked his kid in the streets of Edinburgh. Excuse me? Is spanking (something my family did not use by the way)domestic violence?). Who gave bureaucrats the right to regulate how one raises their kids (or not raise them)? I thought it was America 😉

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