I’m sure that at some point or another you’ve gone into a store to get some shopping done and been assaulted by this:
Yes, the adorable children throwing temper tantrums because their parents told them the dreaded “n” word. I’ll be honest: that’s not my favorite word, either. However, being told “no” is not an invitation to throw yourself to the floor while kicking and screaming bloody murder. It’s not acceptable. What’s even more unacceptable are the excuses that the parents give for these outbursts.
She’s just tired; she really needs a nap.
Poor thing isn’t feeling well.
And then they go and give poor little Johnny the candy bar he was screaming about thus solving that problem once and for all.
Oh, wait, no it doesn’t.
It causes an even bigger problem because now little Johnny sees that if he screams loud enough he’ll get whatever he wants. Yes, two-year-old Johnny is definitely smart enough to make that connection and if the problem is not corrected, it will get worse. Soon, you’ll end up with this:
Adults throwing temper tantrums when they don’t get their way. It’s ridiculous and easily preventable.
Oh yes, I went there. I said it – and I’ll say it again, discipline. It’s not a dirty word and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, discipline is something you should be proud of! Many children today lack discipline because their parents don’t want to be seen as the “bad guy” or have their children say the “h” word. Hate. Yes, those little monsters know that it just pulls at your heart strings when they cry and whine, but they know that it breaks your heart when they scream, “I hate you, mommy. You’re the worst mommy ever. I wish Johnny’s mommy was my mommy!”
Oh, they know what it does. They do it on purpose and the more you give in, the more they’ll manipulate you.
Now, the best solution to this problem has already been mentioned. Discipline. However, that takes effort. You have to punish your child and then, and here’s where it gets tricky, actually enforce the punishment!
Wait, maybe I have that wrong. Surely just threatening the child with taking away his TV or his Game Boy will work, right? Wrong! See, by going through the first half of the discipline cycle, you are then required to go through the second half. The enforcement half. Otherwise, you’ll end up with something much much worse than a child that throws temper tantrums. You’ll end up with a violent child who thinks that the world revolves around him and has no problem reminding you of that fact every time you try to tell him “no.” Oh, you might manage to send him to his room and have him stay there every now and then, but what’s in his room? All his toys, right? All those movies, games, and that big pretty TV that you never took away even though you threatened to after the last time he broke a neighbor’s window.
But, isn’t there an easier way? Yes, it’s called:
Oh, sure, you can always use drugs on your kids. I hear that works wonders. It doesn’t actually solve any of the problems, but your kid will be most likely be incapable of misbehaving, so it doesn’t really matter, right?
Oh, that’s a great idea! Johnny doesn’t need to be in control of his actions. Lets drug away his bad behavior! Yay for drugs!
Now for a mock conversation:
“But, I thought drugs were bad.”
“No, no, drugs are only bad when they mess with your mind. I mean, you take Advil or Tylenol when you have a headache, right? Just think, once you start giving your kids these pills, you’ll have fewer headaches!! How awesome is that?!”
“Wait, these drugs will mess with my kids mind. That puts them in the bad category, doesn’t it?”
“You’re reading too much into this! They’re prescribed by doctors! They have to be okay! No doctor would misdiagnose a patient – especially a child – just to make a parent happy and keep him from having to deal with their demon spawn, right? You know they wouldn’t!”
“Yes, they would! Lots of doctors have gotten into big trouble for things just like that!”
“Come on, I put my kids on those drugs and see how well behaved they are now!”
“They’re like zombies! And you’re starting to sound like a drug pusher, man! What’s wrong with you?! How screwed up do you have to be to think it’s okay to drug your children so that you don’t have to put up with them and actually do the job a parent is supposed to do?!”
Heh, that was actually fun to type. I pictured two stereo-typical soccer moms sitting on a bench at a park gossipping while letting their kids play. One kid is running around having lots of fun and making lots of noise while the other is sitting in the sandbox staring at his shoe.
To quote a cartoon character, “Drugs are bad, mkay.” Seriously, as soon as you start teaching your child that they cannot function without some stupid little pill, you start teaching them that drugs are okay. And, something just as bad, you teach them that they don’t have to take responsibility for their own actions! Now, that’s not actually my reason for this post, although those are both very good reasons. No, my real reason for this post is that many parents these days seem to think that drugs are a substitute for discipline and that is completely unacceptable! Now, if you don’t believe in spanking your child, that’s fine. It’s your choice, but I sure hope you have a working system of punishment for when your children do misbehave.
I personally believe that spanking a child is an acceptable means of punishment. I also believe that putting your child in time-out (no toys, no talking, no playing, no fun) is a great punishment for younger children. Putting a child on their knees for a few minutes (with the same rules as time out) is also a good punishment. I believe that if you ground your child, you better take out all the fun stuff from their room and actually enforce the punishment! No exceptions for plans made before the punishment. If little Johnny really wanted to go to Sally’s birthday party, he wouldn’t have tried to tie fire-crackers to the dogs tail.
Now, before you punish your child, they do need to know what it is that they are supposed to be doing. For example, if you tell your friend that Sally’s mom is a fat slob and little Johnny runs off and tells Sally who tells her mom who confronts you, then you can’t punish him for that! That’s your fault and something you should be punished for! You need to lead by example and actually tell your children what is right and wrong. Like manners – start teaching your children to say things like “thank you,” “please,” “you’re welcome,” “yes, ma’am,” “no, ma’am,” “yes, sir,” and “no, sir” as soon as they start speaking! And when they tell you “thank you,” never, ever, ever respond with, “It’s no big deal,” or any variation. Always, always, always say, “You’re welcome!” The easiest way to teach your child how to behave properly is to behave properly yourself!
One of the biggest no-no’s is to tell your child that “tattling” or “telling on someone” is wrong. I’ve seen it far too often . . .
“Mommy, Bobby keeps leaving the sandbox.”
“Stop tattling on your brother.”
“But you said we had to stay in the sandbox!”
“You do, but you’re not supposed to tattle.”
thirty minutes later
“Bobby, Bobby, where are you?!”
“He said he wanted to go play on the other side of the park.”
“What? Why didn’t you tell me?!”
“I tried, but you said I was tattling.”
“Yes, but you’re supposed to tell me the important things!”
“You said I was tattling!”
For the sake of this story, we’re going to pretend that Bobby was found on some swings not too far away, but we all know how quickly children can get away from you and into the hands of strangers who don’t want to help them find their mommy or daddy.
Seriously, possibly one of the dumbest things to do is tell your children not to tell you when something is happening. I’m definitely not saying to encourage that they come running every time someone picks up a bug and tries to eat it, but don’t ever discourage them from talking to you!
The only way you will know what they are thinking is if they talk to you and if you’re constantly telling them not to talk to you, then they won’t. Now, what does this have to do with discipline and drugs? A lot, actually. You see, you want your children to talk to you and let you know when something is wrong. So many of these “behavioral problems” that children are being drugged for occur because their parents don’t pay attention to them, never disciplined, and never even taught them self-discipline.
So, I know this seemed to go all over the place. I didn’t write it all in one sitting which is one reason, but also because so many things tie into this and I made the mistake of trying to get it all into one post. Stupid, I know, but what’s done is done and overall I’m okay with the way I think it turned out. Besides, it’s not like anyone is really reading this . . . not yet, anyway, but maybe someday! :-p
I may revisit this topic at some point in the future because I didn’t touch on everything that I wanted and this topic really does bother me. A lot. So much so that I drive people around me insane when this comes up.
One last little note that I think somewhat summarizes one of my main reasons for despising people who drug their children who simply misbehave: