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Opinion

Parents fail to discipline children

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November 6, 2008

This weekend proved that I am still overwhelmingly bemused and slightly sickened by children. In a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up my mother’s birthday pies, a small child sitting on the floor screaming at his mother blocked my access to the whipped cream.

He sat sulking on the floor pointing a stubby finger at the double-stuffed Oreos. His mother quickly swooped him up and dumped two packages of the cookies into her cart while rolling her eyes. The little boy’s tears immediately ceased and they disappeared into the next aisle.

Why are events like this taking place? Why are children allowed to scream at their parents until they get what they want? Why do parents cave? I believe I pulled that kind of stunt all of about twice before I realized that it was in no way acceptable.

The way I see it, there should really only be two courses of action in that situation. One, the pair can have it out in the middle of the store, or wherever, in which the child loses the argument and shopping continues, or, you leave the store and have it out in the parking lot and the child loses.

What lesson is it teaching anyone to give in to that kind of behavior?

People are getting soft in terms of child discipline. Most children today are spoiled, lazy and obnoxious (okay, perhaps they were always obnoxious).

I can’t quite wrap my brain around what all kids get away with these days. What ever happened to time-outs and getting grounded and everything that worked?

When I was a kid my mouth got reacquainted with the taste of soap every time I mouthed off and my whole family was familiar with time-outs and a sharp tap on the ass when we really misbehaved.

Nothing was ever harsh enough to leave marks or cause damage or anything like that, but our parents were perfectly comfortable with marching us screaming out of a store if one of us threw a tantrum in the toy aisle (and we quickly learned not to).

I mean, if you can find a genuinely effective way to discipline a kid without all of the “old school” methods, I am all for it, but it feels like kids lately have their parents wrapped around their pudgy little fingers.

I will be the first to admit that I have a low tolerance for annoying childish antics. It is true that I generally don’t find them cute or “precious.” I was never a babysitter, nor do I think I’ll ever have the desire to change diapers on anyone (regardless of age, really).

I might die if I had to listen to Saturday cartoons on a weekly basis or assist some little girl in cramming Barbie’s disproportionate thighs into her made-in-China daisy dukes.

So perhaps my tendency to distance myself from anyone with jam-hands or reluctance toward the idea of procreation lands me with a bit of a bias.

However, I do not believe it to be unreasonable to want to give Mr. And Mrs. Next Door a healthy full-body shake for letting their shrieking little girls pick up their equally shrieking cat by the tail.

Katie Heimer is double majoring in international studies and history, with a German minor.