Tag Archives: discipline

Shocked on the Sidewalk

I just overheard a very disturbing conversation. I couldn’t stop listening, and I imagine my mouth was wide open as I heard 3 mothers talk about their children. “When he does that I put hot sauce in his mouth,” one said, to which the other responded, “Well, you know you can use Ivory soap, that’s okay.” Then they all laughed. I was not laughing. It is not okay.

I was dumbfounded. I still don’t exactly know what to say. I am going to try to pull myself together and make something of this.

I know this happens. Children can be challenging, especially when they are learning independence and how to communicate. When children misbehave, there are a variety of reasons for the misbehavior. Generally adults are pretty impatient, and expect children to behave like miniature adults.

When I was in kindergarten I acted out a lot. I broke my teacher’s special heart-shaped pencil. I put a whoopee cushion under my teacher’s chair. By her standards, I was probably labeled a “bad kid.” Truth of the matter is, I didn’t have enough to do, and I was trying to get some attention. My desire to have time with my teacher and to be cared for by her manifested itself in these misbehaviors. I might as well have been screaming “PAY ATTENTION TO ME, I NEED YOU!”

Adults often have their own agendas for children and inappropriate expectations. Children act out, and they are punished instead of getting to the root of why the child acted in a certain way. The most appropriate way to handle a child’s mistaken behavior is to look into why the child behaved a certain way and then what the adult can teach or model so that the child responds differently next time.

It takes a little more time than grabbing a bottle of soap or winding up for a spanking, but no child should ever suffer like that.