Parents need to be firm

To the Editor,

Have you ever had a repast at a fine restaurant ruined because of a child carrying on incessantly — shrieking, bawling and yelling without restraint? Just as you are poised to savor a delectable morsel your ears are pierced by another upsetting shriek. You look about for refuge but none is to be found. The entire air of the premises is spoiled by this defeaning cacophony. What should have been a pleasant evening has become a grueling ordeal in an exercise of patience and self-restraint.

Long-suffering patrons stoically attempt to ignore the offending child and its derelict parents. Some feign casual indifference as the child scampers about, yelling and shrieking at the top of its lungs while stopping at a table to gawk intrusively at its occupants. At most, a few muted grumblings are heard from resigned patrons. Others inured to noise and confusion, mostly of a younger set, remain blissfully clueless. But many have become cowed over the years after being reminded that children must be given free rein to be themselves. “Let the child express himself freely at an early age,” we are sermonized by “experts” on child behavior. Practically everyone, however, experiences annoyance at this senseless pandemonium.

The muted grumblings have fallen on deaf ears of the parents who can only plead with their recalcitrant offspring to be nice. But all of their wheedling admonitions are in vain. “Jordan, come sit down and color with your crayons,” the hapless parents supplicate ineffectually and endlessly. It does no good. Their imp continues to carry on as though he owns the place. He does not in the least heed his parents and knows he can get away with whatever he wants.

Happily, there is remedy from this nonsense. The parents must first grow up and learn to discipline themselves before they can discipline their child. Any child can learn to respect reasonable behavior from an adult. Having fun and engaging in meaningful activity with their child should help. Daddy, don’t let your son think you’re a complete nincompoop.

Applying firmness, parents might impose a privation on their offspring from his favorite activity should he persist in misbehaving. “Go to your room, Jordan,” in an authoritative voice is one that cute little Jordan might understand.

If that doesn’t work, Daddy, put that rascal over your knee and spank him soundly. Only then will Jordan’s loud, plaintive lamentation be music to our ears. As Grandma used to say, “Give that little peckerwood something to cry about.”

Your resolute action may not at once impact his behavior for the better but at least you and everyone else will have the grim satisfaction of knowing that you’re doing what’s best for your son.

Time and patience are required.

Gail Wickstrom



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