I've found myself thinking about "punishment" recently. From discussions online about other parents styles of discipline, to conversations about particular coffee shops posting status' on Facebook claiming they will chastise children who have tantrums if parents are too scared to. Usually I will state my opinion to whoever I'm speaking to and happily continue with my life. I'm not one who usually concerns myself with the opinions and choices of others. However I've recently found myself in a situation whereby I now appear to be on the defensive every time this topic occurs. I've read other blog posts about how parents appreciate and respect other adults telling their child off, and I've browsed through the comments of agreement, usually choosing to sit on the fence. I wasn't quite sure how I felt about it. However I now appear to be living the scenario and can state that I've hopped off the fence and can categorically say I do not fucking like it. Not one bit. I'm actually violently against it in fact.
Don't get me wrong, if my child is pissing you off and it is directly affecting you or your own child then go ahead and fill your boots. Tell him to stop what he is doing. Explain that you don't like him doing that. Or turn to me and tell me to sort my demon child out before you do. I totally get that. I don't want my kid aggravating you. I will try my utmost to prevent it. However if I happen to be daydreaming at that particular point I will fully expect you to dive in and give them an ear bashing.
But this is not the situation I've found myself in.
For a couple of weeks now I have found myself in the company of an adult who has been chastising my child, whilst I stand there with my eyes wide open and my mouth gaped, because they are behaving in a way that is undesirable to THEM. Because they have placed their own expectations on MY child. Expectations that are clearly higher than my own.
Let me give you an example.
As we happened to be walking with this particular parent we passed by our old house. Clearly feeling confused my son walked in to the garden and knocked on the door. I laughed lightheartedly and whispered "We don't live there anymore!! Quick!! Come out!"
However all of a sudden a voice boomed at the side of me "We don't knock on people's doors!!! That's very very naughty!!"
Hang on a minute.
"We don't knock on people's doors?"
Well clearly that's bullshit because everyone knocks on people's doors. It's something we do to announce we have arrived and are waiting to be let in. So, not only have you just humiliated my child by chastising him in public, you have also just belittled him for doing something perfectly normal.
So if you're going to discipline my child without my permission and against my wishes, try not to do it in such a fucked up, confusing manner.
Secondly, I don't like the word naughty. I especially don't like it when a stranger says it to my child. I will be the judge of what is deemed inappropriate behaviour or not. I am after all his mother.
This announcement of my sons "naughtiness" then provoked his child to get in on the act. She begun telling Oliver that he was so naughty he could not have ice cream. At which point my son began to cry.
I explained to Oliver that it was my decision as to whether he could have ice cream or not and to ignore the child, hoping this would be an enormous hint to the parent that I did not like his actions.
The hint didn't work. We turned the corner, my son and I slightly ahead as we tried to escape the gruesome twosome, when we came in contact with a dog and asked if we could stroke it. The dog was a bit jumpy and my over excited child was clearly making it nervous. As I opened my mouth to tell him to calm down I was interrupted by "don't jump like that by the dog!! He doesn't like it!! You need to calm down or come away!!"
Seriously. This guy was asking for a spade to the head.
At six months pregnant, hormones flying everywhere and knowing I couldn't be trusted to approach this in a friendly manner I marched off in the other direction.
Oliver did not seem overly perturbed by the events. But I was!
It made me feel that not only is there pressure on parents these days to discipline their children in a particular way, but now if an adult deems you incapable of doing so they will step in and do it for you. It made me feel worthless. Humiliated. It made me angry. Angry that in 2016 I am not given the freedom to raise my child in the way that I choose to. I felt like a disappointment. Because I should have stuck up for my son more, but struggled to make a spur of the moment decision between showing him how to defend yourself, or showing him how to walk away and be the better person.
It's times like these that I really struggle with motherhood. And I don't want to come across like a whiny bitch. But I want my son to be shaped by my own values. Values that I'm proud of. Not some other Tom Dick or Harry's who decide to open their big mouth.
Usually when I'm struggling and I blog I can see the funny side of the predicament I'm in. But with this I just can't. There's just nothing funny about it. It's awful.
So to all those that have read blogs of parents who encourage others to tell their children off please remember, we don't all feel that way.
In fact, some of us find in damn right rude.
Some of us believe that chastising is a parents job. We lay the boundaries. They may not be the same boundaries as yours, but really, it's none of your god damn business. Don't over ride our authority with our own children by stepping in and telling a child off because they don't fit your idea of perfect behaviour.
It doesn't take a village to raise a child. It's takes the person responsible for that child at the time. And you can bet your bottom dollar that if the Mother/Father is accompanying that child then it certainly doesn't mean you, you nosey bastard.
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