A Parenting Thought: Mean What You Say

Manipulative little rascals. Now available at a home near you.

As I rode the tram home yesterday, a young couple with a two-year-old son and another on the way sat near me. It was evident within oh, about three seconds, that there was a clear leader of this family. And he stood about two feet tall.

You see, it started out fine. After hopping to a new seat, the father grabbed the son and said “no, this seat is fine”.  But the rugrat knew this game. And he had one magic ace up his sleeve in order to pull back the reigns of control.

He screamed.

And he screamed loud.

To be honest, I was happy to hear the kid scream. For starters, I didn’t know Swiss kids knew how to scream. So that was refreshing. Secondly, it was nice to see the father put his foot down and not let a little midget call the shots. Especially when the midget is only doing it to enjoy the power seat.

But sadly, the father only lasted the amount of time it took for every tram rider to squirm in their seats from the shrieking…at which point, the little boy was free to run amok all over the tram once more. This time with daddy plodding behind at his every beck and call, each seat hop taking them further and further away from mommy, the stroller, and their original seat.

Some may say that you can’t let a child scream at the inconvenience of others. And to that, I somewhat agree. But the sad thing is, this situation was 100% avoidable. Because I can guarantee that the screaming trick didn’t start on a tram. It started right in the privacy of their own home. When Daddy had a chance to stand up and make it count. And, also very important, when Mommy had the chance not to step in because she felt bad for poor little Johnny’s hurt feelings.

Because from where I sit, poor little Johnny is being groomed into yet another boundary-less kid who thinks that the world revolves around their every whim, all the while conditioned to know that Mom & Dad don’t really mean anything they say.

< /end rant >

5 thoughts on “A Parenting Thought: Mean What You Say

  1. Rahel says:

    Couldn’t agree more. And then blame it on the bad school system if teachers can’t fix the authority problem later.

    During Filipa’s most intense tantrum phase she once screamed until she actually had to throw up. I was quite impressed, but not enough to give in. Even today, whenever we pass the “Bernerring” tram station, she smiles at me and reminds me of how we once got off the tram to let another tantrum wear off 😉

    While it’s important to be strict and stay calm and predictable in such situations, I do however intentionally give in to less important arguments from time to time — just to let my kids feel that they also have a say, without needing to scream or throw up.

    • Natasha says:

      Well said, Rahel. When we see our kids vividly remember a situation where they had to suffer a natural consequence (i.e. getting off the tram because she was being disruptive), I think it proves that the theory works. And even more proof is that your kids are extremely well-behaved! 🙂

      I’ve just read a very interesting parenting book and the Dr. talks a lot about “mountains and molehills”, which I think leads to your final comment. Yes, sometimes we have to just let things be because they are just molehills!

      The book was chalked-full of great suggestions and as much as it goes against my grain in some cases, we’ve already seen a few of the suggestions pay off in our house. So, it’s given us the faith to try some of the others. I’ll probably blog about them — success or failure!

  2. Average Girl says:

    Nothing wrong with a good, healthy scream now and again. Otherwise, it will be the parents screams you hear 10 years down the road when their teenager rejects all authority. Interesting post~

Comments are closed.