Hey, folks! I'm back. Admit it. You missed me. :)
So here's the thing. I REALLY don't want to be one of those moms who doesn't want anyone else to discipline her child...but I am. I mean, if everyone approached discipline the way I do, it would be a different story; however, they don't. And since I'm pretty particular about it, it bothers me to see other adults talking in a demeaning way to my kids. Mamma Bear breaks loose. There's blood. It's not pretty.
The sad thing is that most of these parents do not realize that the way they are talking to my children is something that I (and they) would term "demeaning." So there's the problem. How do you say, "Hey, stop treating my kid the same way you treat your kid because I think it's disrespectful and mean," without implying that the way they raise their own kids is disrespectful and mean? Well, you can't. So when this happens, I admit. I freeze. You've heard of "flight or fight"? Well, there's another "f" - freeze. That's what I do. Yep, I'd be dinner in the jungle, for sure. But I really am at a loss at times. Torn between not wanting to make enemies of the other parents in the playgroup or at the park, etc., and not wanting my kids to be treated like crap...I know, it shouldn't even be a question, right? Wrong. Either way, someone is getting hurt. But here's where I differ from most...
I HATE... I mean I really, really HATE the idea of telling kids to say...ANYTHING. "Say sorry", "say please", "say thank you", "say hello", "say bye-bye"..."what do we say?" Makes me cringe. Here's why. First of all, children don't take orders well. It's just not our nature. It's not how we learn best. We learn best by imitation. We learn LEAST through direct orders and "teaching." Telling a child to "say thank you" is far less effective than simply saying "thank you" yourself whenever you are thankful for something. That way, the phrase does not just become a mash of empty words. It has meaning. Children WILL begin to say "thank you", "please", and "I'm sorry", when they reach a developmental stage of being able to be truly thankful, pleased, or sorry for something. Is a child truly sorry if forced to say it? Probably not. That is called LYING. I will not teach my children to lie. It does NOT teach them to be polite, courteous people. It teaches them that (a) empty words fix things, (b) it is ok to lie if it gets you out of trouble or pleases someone else, and (c) these adults do not respect you because they are forcing you to say something you do not want to say. Want your kids to be polite? Be polite to them. Ask them to do things, rather than telling them. Say "please", "thank you", and "excuse me"...and mean it. It's not difficult. Stop over-thinking it. You have better things to do, I'm sure.
So no, you will never hear me tell my child to apologize for hitting, stealing from, yelling at, kicking, or stabbing your child. Get over that. If my child is truly sorry for his/her actions, he/she will show it. If not, well, guess what - "sorry" won't make your kid's knee stop hurting or put his toy back together again, nor will it make my child remorseful. Believe it or not, it is completely NORMAL for a child of 1, 2, 3, 4...even 5 or 6 years old to NOT feel remorse over every little wrong doing. Hell, most adults aren't "sorry" about half the things they do "wrong", for that matter. So if my three-year-old gets mad at your kid for telling him that he can't play with her, and he hauls off and hits her in the face in anger and doesn't feel sorry about it...that's normal. But, in many parents' minds I guess that makes my kid an asshole.