Sunday, March 1, 2015

The one with the discipline trend

Dear Dad,
Is it ever OK to discipline someone else's child? Physically redirecting? Time outs? Verbally? #WhatsTrending??

Dear 'Trending',

I know 'discipline' is a touchy subject, but I make no secret or apology for my stance on the physical discipline of children. I believe spanking is wrong and borders on abuse. If one has to resort to spanking their children, the person who is out of control is not the child, but the parent who should put themselves in time-out instead of lashing out at an innocent victim.

Having gone through the tyrannical threes and the frustrating time of toddler-hood with three children, I have changed my view to understand that an occasional swat (two fingers to the hand or tush while kneeling so the parent is at eye-level with the child accompanied with a firm and loudly stated, "NO!") is acceptable. When your child runs into the street or tries to stick a fork in an electrical outlet, sometimes it takes more than a "time out" or a redirection. I heard about those two situations from a friend. grin emoticon

In order to answer your question, I tried to think of a situation where someone was to physically redirect, or physically anything my children, and even as the pacifist that I am, "papa bear" would come out roaring and physically redirect any person who dared lay a finger on my kids! It is never OK to physically touch any child that is not yours -ever!

I have spent more than 2,920 days at the community park with my three girls. I would gander that on 2,918 of those days "Scrolly McScrollerson" was at the park, too - the mom or dad who forgot they were at the park with their children and were so engrossed in their phones and Facebook news-feeds, that he or she "was not aware" that his or her child was throwing rocks at other kids, pulling their hair, spitting on them, using inappropriate language, etc.

I share with you, 'Trending', my three strikes rule for this situation: strike one - I approach said child and say, "that is inappropriate behavior, do not continue or I'm telling your (mom/dad)!"'; strike two - I physically redirect my own children and say (LOUDLY): "you can't play with that child anymore because he/she is acting inappropriately, and no one is directing them!"; strike three: I go to "Scrolly McScrollerson" and directly say: "I realize that what one of your friend's ate for lunch is more important than your role as parent, but your child is out of control and making for an uninhabitable play space. Please redirect your behavior and do your job so we can all get along in a safe and appropriate fashion!" Ten out of the ten times I had to resort to 'strike three', other parents in the park applauded me and expressed their consensus about my take on "Scrolly." I believe the three strikes rules are the most appropriate way to handle the situation.

I admit that my 2,920 days at the park were a while back, and I miss the time when my kids were so young; more, I even miss the respite and solace I found while relating (or sometimes commiserating) with other parents at our shared haven. What's trending folks? Is my answer still the appropriate way to handle things with the toddler gone wild, while their Scrolly McScrollerson parent "doesn't see" the havoc being wreaked?

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