I’m totally and completely happy with admitting that I am definitely the mom from the Luvs diaper commercials. You know, the first kid we bathed in hand sanitizer. We made people that wanted to be around her bathe in hand sanitizer. We bought huggies, name brand clothes, I read books, and I even documented all of her milestones and worried myself sick when she walked a week and 2 days later than she “should have.”
Our second kid, not even close to any of that! Oh, you wanna hold him? Sure. Take him. I’ll be back in an hour. Oh, the SAM’s brand diapers are cheaper? Better get two boxes. Then my favorite… “babe! I just got ‘H’ three new outfits for $5 bucks at goodwill!”
You know what else this 1st kid – 2nd kid theory applies to? Public display of discipline.
First kid: We leave the park, she throws a fit, I wager, bribe, and compromise for just 5 more minutes to avoid a meltdown and the inevitable “football carry” to the car while she kicks and screams.
Second kid: We leave the play area inside the mall, he throws a fit, kicks his feet so hard and fast I can’t put his shoes on. I set him free. He thinks he’s won, but he has no idea. I gather all of my crap, I prepare myself for that “football carry” hold, I take a deep breath and go for it. We move over to the family restroom area where there are still about 5 people to sit and watch the shit storm that’s about to take place. I get him on my lap, wrap my arm around him and fight to get a shoe on. He bites me on my arm!!! Without hesitation, he gets a swat to the leg. More screaming, shoes go on, jacket goes on, he stands up, we leave. End of story.
There’s no sugar coating it…Sometimes kids are assholes. And sometimes kids are assholes in public. I’m a “spanking mom,” and although this choice of action isn’t for everyone (different debate for a different time) it is the choice I choose to make weather we are at home or in public.
I refuse to raise a child that believes they can act out however they choose when they do not get their way. We could sit and chat about the psychology in all of this for days, but I’ll spare you. Likewise, I refuse to let the opinions of complete strangers determine how I discipline my children.
I’ve learned over time, mostly with my second child (because he’s the hard one) that if I absolutely must spank my child in public it’s better to avoid eye contact with anyone before or after it happens. The faces of strangers (and sometimes your own friends and family) that watch you struggle with a defiant toddler will only leave you
- Feeling guilty and questioning all parenting standards you have firmly held.
- Piss you off to the point of making a much bigger scene because the judgement from their stink eye is all you needed to send you over the edge.
So, my advice, for whatever it’s worth: Do what you have to do. At the mall, at the park, at lunch, at church. You have to live with these kids. You have to send them off to school, daycare, and eventually, into society with the hope that they will be a decent contribution to our society. That starts with you, the parent. Not the judgmental stares and whispers of people who only witness the difficult moments.