Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Maybe There Are Some People Who Actually Try to Discipline Their Children

I recently received a copy of the family tree for my mother's side, which is something I had asked for in the past. This was a birthday gift from one of my aunts, and is a professional job - very nice. Well, I decided to take some time today and look into having it framed (as it turned out, the place I went is going to have a sale starting this weekend, so I'll go back then). Well, as I'm standing there waiting for the young woman behind the counter to finish up with the customers in front of me, this kid - probably 10 or 12 years old - come running around a corner, brandishing a little plastic picture stand like a gun, making little ray-gun noises. Fine - annoying, but not a big deal. I set my family tree, which is rolled up, on the counter and step to side about 3 feet to look at some of the prints the store has. This kid runs up and promptly sticks the picture stand inside the rolled up family tree. I say, "Excuse me, please don't do that, it's rather expensive and I don't want it damaged." At this point, his mother, who has been busy with the sales clerk, whips her head around, barks out his name and tells him to knock it off (amazing, a parent who actually bothers to try and discipline their child). He runs off and she apologizes to me. There's no damage done, so I tell her it's ok and let it go. Well, she finishes up with the clerk and starts getting her things together to leave. I unroll the family tree on the counter and start discussing framing options with the clerk. This little bastard runs up and pokes at the paper - you know, the whole "I'm not supposed to touch this so of course I'm going to" thing. Luckily, Mom saw this and immediately grabbed him, hauled him off to the side and started reading him the riot in both English and Spanish - and maybe something else because there were words in there I've never even heard before! She came back over, apologizing even more profusely and checking see if there was any damage. I assured her there wasn't and they went of with her dropping the classic "Just you wait until your father gets home" line. I turn back to the sales clerk, who has the rather impressed smirk on her face as she watches them walk off. She turned back and said how glad she was that some one actually was willing to punish their child for misbehaving. I agree with this and we go about our business.

Now, this is something which I have discussed at various points with other people. One of my friends has put forward the idea that parents today were determined not to raise their children the same way their parents raised them. And they haven't. The result of this is that kids today spend most of their time just running wild. I have to say that I don't think he's completely wrong. Today's experience gives me some hope, however, that this is not totally the case.


e_doe said...

oh, RH. This gives me so much hope for the future of our society. Well, a glimmer of hope in a deep, dark pit of despair. I kept thinking as I was reading that you were going to say that the mom yelled at you for asking the kid not to touch your stuff. Because, you know, that could damage his self-esteem or something equally horrific. Ugh. I pretty much *despise* the parents of kids today. Except my nephew's mom. Because he is a perfect kid. ;-)

Alex said...

Hey RH,
I am the mother of two "high-spirited" children (I am also the wife of one of your office-mates)... and I truly think the tide is turning and some parents
are taking charge again. I can relate to this woman -- wild behavior is to be expected in kids. But just because they act this way doesn't mean kids should be given approval by their parents. And because my son recently caused hundreds of dollars of plumbing damage at soneone else's home (you know what I'm talking about, the big FLUSH)-- I can totally understand this mother reading her kid the riot act!

Jen said...

I hope that your sighting there and my sighting a little further east means that there's a epidemic of good child rearing breaking out!

Journey said...

Let's hear it for the good guys. :)

RogueHistorian said...

I was actually half expecting mom to yell at me. This seems to be a common response - I think it comes from the idea that they are the only ones who know how to raise kids, so by telling their kids to knock it off, you are saying that they don't know shit and they feel the need to retaliate.

I agree that some wild behavior to be expected and that kids are going to make mistakes (ie - the big flush). I'm quite certain there were times my parents wanted to strangle my brother and me for doing something stupid. But you're right, this does not excuse the parents from doing nothing about it when it happens.

We can only hope. That and try to raise future generations a little better!

Yea! This woman was far better than the one I told you about a while back. The one whose little brat nearly jumped on me at Walgreens and when I looked to her for some kind of apology and/or warning to the kid just gave me a "what?" look.