Monday, November 21, 2011


A friend of mine recently posted a picture to Facebook of a little boy, about five years old or so, peering up at her from under the dividing wall in a dressing room. According to her comment, the child's mother simply whined at him for five minutes to 'stop it' before she took him and left the dressing room. Meanwhile, my friend huddled there in the clothes she was trying on, waiting for the Junior Voyeur Society to move on to its next target.

My first thought was: "My mother would've busted my butt within two seconds of hauling me back up to my feet, and then taken me home immediately." My second thought was of my mom's first cousin, who once repeatedly kicked his mother in the shins in a local grocery while she whined at him, "Oh, stop it!". He didn't. My mother, who was about fourteen at the time, hauled him out of the floor and slapped him in the face. Guess who wasn't asked to babysit him again after that incident? Anyway, I pulled a stunt once whereupon I set up a howl in the local Houchens' grocery (I was three at the time) and sat down in the aisle. My babysitter, who was in there shopping, asked my mother if she wanted her to pick me up out of the floor...and Mom refused. She and Pauline both walked off and left me bawling in the floor until I realized that they weren't around. Stewart, the stock manager, took my hand and walked me to my mother.

I don't really remember it, but I can say with some certainty that my little butt got busted when I got home. I did not do it again, in any iteration or alternate version.

Naturally, these days, you can't just abandon a child in a public place- who knows what freakazoids are lurking around the corner- and you can't snatch your child up and bust their be-hind. I also don't advocate the overuse of corporal punishment, because I've both suffered and seen the consequences of what happens when it goes too far...but...whining at a child gives them the upper hand. It does NOT work. Take them out of the situation. Stop it as soon as you can. Correct their behavior according to your beliefs, but for the love of all that's holy, do not permit it to continue unabated.

Of course, I am childless, not entirely by choice but by dint of timing and biology. I do, however, work with children and unfortunately, I deal with arrogant, socially ignorant self-entitled older teens when they reach college. If you don't want people to hate your kids, folks, please, teach them respectful behavior when they're young, because they won't grow out of it if you allow them to be horrible and rude children.

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