Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Can you? Will you? Please? Thank You!

* this is not our play area

Since it's getting to be summertime here, we are having our usual crop of sudden afternoon thunderstorms. Sometimes they don't realize they are supposed to be gone by the next day and actually decide to hang around longer than I would like :)

It was on one of these rainy days that I decided to take Kelly to the "froggy's". This is our play area at the local mall. It's not new. It's not even updated, but the kids don't care! They just want to run around, jump and be wild. And we just want them to tire out enough that they'll take a nap or fall into bed exhausted after an early dinner ;)

Here is my latest issue with the "froggy's". Let me set the stage. This area is a large enclosed area with glass half-height walls. There are fountains with pennies outside of those walls to look at. The area for the parents to sit and watch over their little ones consists of 4 tiers {think very wide steps}. They run the length of the play area {about 20 feet} and are about 3 feet deep. Not too high, so everyone can manage going up and down them easily.
I was sitting on the second from bottom tier. My feet resting on the first tier. That left 2 tiers behind me. As I'm sure you're familiar with, you get to know a lot of the kids and what type of "player" they are based on the mommy/caregiver and how often they are yelling at their angel to "watch out for little ones", "don't jump down on kids", "be careful", etc...

As I was reading my book {yes, reading a book} a little baby/toddler started crawling up the first tier towards someone behind me. He had just gotten up onto the step and was thrusting his balance forward when another little boy of about 5 mows him down, causing the little one to fall straight backwards onto the back of his head. {Kinda like the nestea plunge...anyone remember that?} So, anyway, as I see this unfolding I start to stand up to try and catch him but he fell too quickly. I'll give the tyke credit, he didn't seem too upset. In hinsight I think this happens a lot {the roughness}. He just got up and started back up the tiers to his mama. The mower downer gets to his mother {uh, turned out to be the same mother} to tell her something. Here is the exchange that I heard:

Mom: "Can you please watch what you're doing? You knocked Will down"

Son: "Uh mom, Did you see that I jumped off the dragonfly?"

Mom: "Yes." "Will you try and be a little more careful, Will fell down when you were coming up here?"

Son: "Uh mom, I'm going to do it again. Can you watch me?"

Mom: "Yes." "Please, can you watch what you're doing? You knocked Will over!"

Son: "Uh, sure"

Mom: "Thank You"

What's wrong with this exchange? At first glance you may think nothing. But, if you're like me and are wondering why so many kids have no respect for adults and are getting out of hand at schools, I think this is one of the reasons! She isn't demanding obedience from her son. She's wishing her son would be obedient. She's asking, not telling. Do you see the difference?

Here's my take on what her son actually heard:

Mom: "blah, blah, blah blah :)"

Son: "uh, mom Did you see that I jumped off the dragonfly?"

Mom: "Yes." "Will you be more careful...knocked down Will...but if you aren't more careful, I understand :)"

Son: "Uh mom, I'm going to do it again. Can you watch me?"

Mom: "Yes." " Please, blah, blah, blah, knock Will, blah, blah"

Son: "Uh, sure"

Mom: "Thank You"

Some of you may be thinking, Well she probably didn't want to embarass him. But let me ask you this: What's wrong with a little embarassment? Since when did my 5 year old become my peer? Why are his feelings more important than mine or his brothers? Now everyone will wonder if my child will run roughshod over their child, and rightly so.
My major concern was that she wasn't upset her. She didn't check on the other child or even acknowledge the fact that I had been concerned and tried to help. It seemed "appropriate" for the older boy. As in, that's just who he is.

Feel free to stop reading here, because this is when I get judgemental. Sorry, but this is right up there with the no seatbelt thing for me.
I see this as a lack of discipline. Parents not wanting to do their "job". Hey people, it's a JOB! We can't always be their friends. We can't always have a nice voice and be calm and supportive with candles in a fellowship circle time. It's a tough job. You have to be tough. I am not talking corporal punishment. No,no, not at all. But tough can be a number of things.
Just to set the record straight on what I would have done if this had happened to me with my own children. I would have pulled {not so gently, to make sure they understood the severity of the situation} my child over by the arm, reamed him out quietly and let him know if it happened again we would be leaving and it would be quite some time before he got this "priviledge" again. Everything we do in our family is known as a "priviledge". It is so my children understand that this is not something to take for granted. You have earned this fun time, because you are loving, wonderful, we like to have fun and be goofy and you're kids and need to play. But make no mistake...we never, ever have to do this. This works for us when punishment is needed. I can just say to any of my children "Do you want to lose a priviledge?" This leaves them open to uncertainty. Which priviledge will I lose? Ice cream, computer, tv, game time, froggy's, movie theater, etc...This allows me to be in control of their punishment, not vice versa.

If I were to have said something more specific, my little one may decide that that particular thing isn't as important as what they're trying to get away with at the moment. It could completely backfire on me. Hence, ambiguity is my best friend :)
I hope I haven't lost some of you as friends and readers. I'm just being honest. I know we won't all agree on this. I welcome others perspective on this. I should say that I just read John Rosemond's New Parent Power. He's really wonderful, and has the same values as me and my hubby.


12 Shout Out:

Jen said...

You go girl, I'm right behind you! We've been having trouble with our (almost) 6 year old and I feel bad that we're always 'on' him, but then I think, where will we be in 5 years if we DON'T stay on top of the behavior we don't like? Nobody said it was going to be easy :)

Sugarplum Creations Blog said...

Oh my goodness, we *are* long lost sisters, I thought so! I use the same exact words "You will lose this priviledge". Everything we do is thought of as a priviledge too, and the girls are well aware that if they do not obey, the priviledge is taken away. Such a great reminder! We encounter lazy parents on a daily basis, it seems.

Vivienne @ the V Spot said...

Can you hear me out here in California? Yelling and whooping because you have a big ole' pair of Mommy Testicles!! Yes, they do exist, in fact I have a pair, myself.
I tell my boys that they have enough friends. I am not their buddy, I am their mother and my job is to raise them to be good men.

You and I are cut from the same parenting cloth. I couldn't agree with you more, and I would have handled the situation in the exact same way you would have.

Anonymous said...

You go.. I couldnt have handled it near as well!!

Macey said...

Saw your comment on The V Spot and you were "spot on!" Bad pun, I know.
Anyway, you are SO right on what you said on her site about the medical stuff, and this post!
I HATE watching other parents "discipline" their children. You have to say, without any question, "YOU WATCH WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND BE CAREFUL." When you see that they understand, than maybe you can watch whatever it is that they are trying to show you. You have to, or the tail is waggin the dog.
Ok, there's my rant. : )
Good post!

Jen @ said...

So true, so true! That kid needed a big time out. It makes me crazy seeing those kind of things!


Together We Save said...

I will never understand a lack of didipline. I am strict. Always have been. My kids will be respectful, nothing else is exceptable.

Tanielle said...

I agree totally!!! I think I am pretty strict, too bad, I want my kids to have respect! Loved this post!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Macey said...

I was just looking on here because, I'm such a dweeb, I forgot I already commented and I noticed on your side bar thingy...Personal Journey Tracking for weight had a goal of losing 15 lbs. and your a whole pound under your goal weight?! AWESOME!

Macey said...

Okay, sorry, I need to pay more attention to the sidebar so I don't comment 28 times. Shinedown? LOVE that song.
Family Guy?? Love that scene.
Ok, I'll leave you alone, now...well, I'm not leaving yet, gotta hear the rest of this song.
: )

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