A couple of days ago, while shopping at a Clay County Walmart, I heard a child crying the next aisle over from where I was. The mother was then pushing the cart into my current aisle with a screaming boy who looked to be 3 or 4 years old. I noticed the crying sound that I heard did not have tears, it was definitely screaming and not crying. She hushed him with a snack pack she pulled off the shelf. He immediately stopped screaming and ate a few pieces of the snack.
Just a few feet past me, there was a small hanging rack with a toy display that caught the child’s eye. The child reached for it, while mom swerved away from the display the boy started screaming, kicking, and reaching for the toy. Mom walked a few feet away trying to whisper and talk to him, but that only had him screaming louder. She spun the cart around so fast that she almost hit another cart. As she did a speed walk back up the aisle, she grabbed a toy, opened it and tossed it in his lap. Again, the screaming stopped.
My short trip to the store got me thinking. Why are parents afraid to parent their child? Are they scared to tell their child “no”? It’s okay to say “No” to a child. I, and every other shopper, understand that it is easier to avoid the conflict and screaming if you just give in. But that only makes the immediate time tolerable for you, what about the future? Children need to understand that you have rules and you are in control, not them.
Maybe mom was embarrassed and just wanted to quiet the child so she could shop and get home. Or maybe mom is stuck in a rut or pattern of giving in, instead of setting limits. There needs to be clear boundaries and parents need to teach and train children for the future. They need to learn how to tolerate disappointment and frustration at a young age so they can cope with it later in life.
My advice to other parents, BE the parent. Make the rules. Set boundaries. Enjoy your children.
Pamela C. Hughes