I would like to thank you Lady At K-Mart for your unique and therapeutic advice you had to share with me on child rearing. I can honestly say that your comment to me was truly the most unique that I've heard. You are such a smart one - no really, the past 3 years of psychologists, behavior therapy, therapeutic support staff, partial-hospitalization school and book after book never touched on your amazing and breakthrough technique! Why have I never thought of it before? It is sure to work like a charm.
Exhausted Mother of Tantruming Boy Child
For all of you hanging on the edge of your seat, please allow me to fill you in on the thrill of a lifetime I was so thankful to experience this weekend.
Boy Child needed a new pair of tennis shoes. Yeah, I could get him $40 shoes but in a month I would need another pair so I opt for the clearance prices at the bargain stores (in this case $20). I usually use the bribe system for my children whenever we need to do something tedious at the stores. In this case my bribe was a soft pretzel at K-Mart (if it were Target it would be the popcorn/drink combo at Wal-Mart it is McDonald's ice cream cone). The rules are always the same - best behavior, no touching or fighting with each other, no running away, no asking me to buy you something stupid.
The kids couldn't hack it yesterday. They just couldn't stop messing with each other or with me. Despite me prompting that they were verging on the loss of a soft pretzel if they continued.
While at the check out it still hadn't sunk it yet that they had lost their reward. Not until I told them we were leaving now. Then and only then did Boy Child understand. He grabbed his sister by the shoulders and started to shake her screaming that he wanted his soft pretzel. What does Diva do? Instead of helping the situation she hauls out and punches him right in the chest. She knows better. So now I've got all eyes from the food counter, the employees who were taking their break at the tables, and most likely all of the check-out lines (I didn't dare scan the crowd) looking at me. I send Diva to stand by the cart and proceed to start my scripted speech of how to calm down the tantruming Boy Child before this turns into a destruction zone. The technique is working but not as quickly as I'm guessing the on-lookers would like. If you don't verbalize correctly with Boy Child your tantrum could very quickly turn into a restraining match and he is an 86 pound ball of fire when that last straw has reached the camel's back.
You see the game gets a bit crazy when the kid is now strong enough to take you, smart enough to out-wit you, and heavy enough that when in a fit of rage you can no longer sling him over your shoulder and leave the store while he screams. Yep, a whole new ballgame there folks.
As I'm working the magic of trying to leave the store without a lawsuit for damages, a dear kind-hearted lady comes up to me. She had the foulest face on her and she snarled as she spoke. Her oh-so-unique words of wisdom for me where, "You need to just beat the livin' shit out of him." Well, I heard choirs of angels singing after that awakening therapeutic advice. Now, don't get me wrong, in the early days this technique had crossed our minds, but when you are trying to teach a kid that hitting and violence is not the way to handle your temper, I'm thinking that "beating the livin' shit out of him" is probably not the smartest way to drive that point across. Not to mention that for every 1 person watching me who thought the same way as the K-mart shopper, there would 3 that would speed-dial 911 and report me for child abuse and the outcome wouldn't change anyway - his temper would have only escalated.
Next time you see a family suffering through a meltdown, don't be so quick to judge. There just may be some underlying situations going on that you know nothing about. Some kids are just not as well-adjusted as I'm sure your children are.
So, I say to all of you with your "normal" children. Please when you see an episode like the one I just mentioned, don't judge, just say a silent prayer to give that parent strength to get through the tough time they are dealing with. Sometimes, it isn't just a plain ole' kid misbehaving. Sometimes, there are other factors that come into play.