Speaking of how you frame a child’s behavior and how that changes the label you put on that child, as I barely touched on yesterday, at Azita’s tumbling class this week there was a new mother and child who I doubt will be returning.
We arrived late because I had something I had to do at a certain time, so I did miss the boy’s behavior in the beginning. But the kids have to sit on the wall while they wait for their turn and the teacher guides them through the different activity, and it runs pretty smoothly. Each child isn’t waiting long because the first activity will be something she guides them with, but then there is a trampoline, or a tube, or a balance beam or something else that they do on their own before they come back around to the wall to sit again.
When I walked in the boy got up and his mother yelled, I mean really yelled, at him to get back on the wall. He was probably 3, but still in diapers… he could have been tall, so it’s hard to say. I think definitely three years old, though.
He threw himself on the floor screaming. She told him to sit on the wall or they would leave. Which I tell Azita as well– that she must participate and let the other kids take her turn or there isn’t a reason for us to be there. But I hope to God I don’t sound like this woman. Acutally, I’m pretty positive I don’t.
About five minutes later, they do end up leaving, with the mom yelling and treating him far too roughly by the arm, in my opinion and judgement.
I was appalled at the mother’s behavior, and felt that the kid probably just needs to be talked to with some respect and perhaps he himself would know how to handle his own emotions better. Or at least, if he is going to throw a tantrum, staying calm will be a better example for him than physical and verbal roughness, and the mom herself will feel better for not losing it.
We’ve all been there as parents and I’ve certainly lost my temper with Azita. But in public, I find it infinitely easier to be patient and to model the attachment-esque gentle parenting techniques I espouse.
Which is why, and I may be incorrect, but is why I feel sure this kid gets hit at home, and in anger, as opposed to a “controlled” spanking where the parent simply thinks that this is an acceptable form of punishment.
Ever read this article?:
When an adult hits another adult we call it assault. When a husband or wife hits the other we call it battering. When a big kid hits a little kid we call it bullying. When a parent hits a child we call it spanking. No matter what name we give it – a swat, slap, tap or spank, it is hitting. When the adults in a family hit each other we call it domestic violence. Why then, when the adults hit the children in the family, do we call it discipline? Nowhere else in our society is hitting considered acceptable. Isn’t all hitting violence?
I agree with it. But even if there isn’t any hitting going on, I simply don’t understand why people think it’s beneficial or okay to scream at their children in a way they wouldn’t tolerate being spoken to themselves. The only way for this kid to learn how to handle his emotions is through his mother’s example and guidance… or maybe therapy as an adult.
But the big shocker here, for me, was the discussion of the even after the class ended. A few mothers had exchanged those eye-brow raised looks with me after the mom left. I thought we were raising our eyebrows at the mother’s temper tantrum, but to the other moms, it was at the kid’s.
I think that is unfortunate. One mom said she couldn’t believe she didn’t take him out the first time he acted up. Her kid was 10 times better behaved, but again, every time she came off the wall, she was snapped at. It was a more controlled snap– but still, not the way I would wish to be spoken to as an adult.
How can parents wonder why their kids speak rudely to us when we find no problem speaking that way to them?
It comes down to control. We think we can control our kids actions through our words, our ultimatums and threats to do this or that, and our punishments.
But we have it all wrong. We can only try to guide them to control themselves and teach them the natural consequences. Yes, I have given Azita the ultimatum that she participate correctly or we leave. And once I had to leave a little early because she was just going all over the place and messing with the other kids belongings. But I stayed calm, and we left, and it wasn’t all that painful, and she hasn’t done it since. Thank goodness. Not because I’m some amazing mom that has control of her kid– but I hope because she learned the consequences of her actions.