Personal Declaration On Parenting
Let me start by saying that I do not have children and I am not the kind of woman who has dreamt of reproducing since I found that red stain in my underwear. Sure I want kids but it is not a burning desire.
Maybe this attitude affects me in ways that I am unaware of or maybe what I am about to tell you is true regardless of my feelings on parenthood. I am leaving that up for you to decide and please, understand that this is not meant as an attack on anyone personally but is truly just my feelings as an observer.
The majority of kids are not disciplined these days. I watch commercials of kids running rampant and the actors playing their parents just stare at them in bewilderment. I know these commercials are meant as over exaggerations but sadly, in my experience, they are dead on. I used to work for a company that offered language classes outside of school. The age range was babies to about 12 years old. Of course, I had some amazing kids that made me feel all warm and gushy on the inside. But there were some kids that made me reconsider motherhood.
Misbehaving Children – Max’s Story
Today, I will tell you about one experience that I had that almost made me quit. Before I begin, I have to say that I believe that both children and parents are at fault when a child misbehaves but it is mostly the parent’s fault. They are the only ones that understand the reality of what is happening and they are responsible for helping their child understand their actions. This story will show you just how vital that is.
I was working in one of our centers. It was one I did not work in often and I was not familiar with the regular families. But with the teacher’s help, everything went smoothly in the morning and finally the afternoon classes began. All the kids went to their classes and most of their parents left. Including the mother of the star of the story. A little boy, I will call him Max but I honestly cannot recall his name, waited no more than ten minutes before throwing a chair at another little girl in the class and then promptly crawled under the table.
These kids were about five or six years old. I, of course was brought in and told about the incident but Max refused to come out from under the table. When I calmly told him that this was not okay and that he needed to come for a walk with me, he began growling and telling me that I was a stupid woman. He then crawled over to me and out into the hall. Before I could start talking to him about what he did wrong, he began banging his head against the wall.
Please note, I am not embellishing the story in any way. I tried to hold Max so that he would not hurt himself but he pushed my arms away and crawled down the hall to the back storage area. He then began grabbing out bins of toys and pulling them off the shelves. Any book he could get his hands on, he began to rip. Finally he stopped pulling the bins and then started thrashing around on the floor. He did this for a solid 20 minutes. This entire time, my teachers and I had taken turns trying to call the boy’s mother, who of course had turned her phone off.
We could not reach his mother and she did not show up for three more hours. All this time, Max was crawling up and down the hall, trying to hit other children, throwing toys at the parents in the lobby and trying to take off his clothes. The worst part was that the company had very strict guidelines for what discipline we could give that were extremely limited. So all I could do was sit with him and make sure he did not hurt himself or the other children.
Teaching Children Boundaries Lovingly
The mother came back late and was “shocked” to hear about his behavior and assured me that she would talk to him. I looked at her in utter exasperation. No conversation was going to help that child. He had a lot of energy and maybe some anger from his life at home. To this day, I do not know. What I do know is that he needed someone to tell him no. Someone to explain why he should not do the things he was doing. Someone to give him boundaries.
Some parents think that you should never say no to your children because it makes them unhappy and uncreative. In my experience, children need to hear no. They need strict boundaries in place because it not only shows them how the world works but also shows them that someone loves them enough to teach them.
Alexis Ali is a freelance writer who lives in New York. She is the author of our first short story series, “The Unfortunate Life of An Interesting Women.” Alexis will continue her musings and share her perspective as a Not-a-Mommy next week, covering discipline and behaviour management as well as touch on the issue of vaccinations.
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