Children and Meltdowns…I Don’t Get It

Creative Commons Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/cwluc/

I just read a post by a mom sharing her misadventures with taking her two young children shopping.  They had some sort of crazy meltdown and managed to all but destroy the store, according to her account…which I admit may be part true and part hyperbole for the sake of writing an “entertaining” post…but I had to wonder…why do parents not only allow this to happen, but why do they think it’s acceptable, and furthermore, why do they think it’s cute?

I was surprised to see so many comments affirming that it was normal, cute, and oh, you’ll look back and laugh one day…

I never really had those kinds of meltdowns -certainly not to the point of destroying several pieces of the store owner’s property.  My mother would have shamed me to no end and then I would have heard about it for years afterward.  I do recall whining to get candy or something – and mom usually did get me a lollipop or a pack of gum while checking out. She did not allow me to run around the store; I was always by her side. Of course, having one child is easier than three…but still. Knowing my mom, if she’d had seven kids, we’d have all have been marching lock-step behind her.

One time we were in a consignment shop so mom could get some new (to her) slacks.  I spied a manual typewriter on a toy shelf for “only $10” and I began an incessant campaign to harass her until she said “yes.”  She had said “no” multiple times, but I was persistent. I wanted that typewriter.  (Please note: I already had use of a very fine old manual typewriter from the 1930s or 40s, which was my dad’s, but I thought it was “ugly.” This one was baby blue and had white keys!)

She repeatedly said “No, no, no.  No.

But…she finally caved in to my whining and said “FINE! You can have the typewriter and I will go without getting my new slacks.”  Then I was stabbed with guilt and said “Why can’t you get your pants too?” And she then hissed that she didn’t have enough money for both.

So I started back-pedaling and said I didn’t want the typewriter after all, but she made me get it. “No, no, you wanted it so bad, now you can take it home and I’ll go without my new slacks.”  (Mom was the Mistress of  Giving Guilt, I will say…I can’t do it anywhere near as good as she did.)

A lot of the pleasure had already evaporatedbefore we even left the store;- I actually enjoyed the typewriter more when I first wanted it than when I actually got it home.  Then my annoyance was elevated when I discovered…this thing only typed in ALL CAPS and there were only A FEW SPECIAL CHARACTERS. There were no quotation marks, no “&” symbol….how could I write stories with that piece of junk?

I was resigned to continue using my dad’s old typewriter (which I wish I had now).  Mom never spoke of the incident again, but I also never had a meltdown like that with her over wanting something that she said “No” to. Heck, mom died 10 years ago, and this incident happened 30+ years ago…and I’m still feeling guilty!

I never allowed my children to misbehave without punishment – either at home or in public. They are not

Keep Kids In the Cart!

I had two carts when shopping. One to keep the kids corralled, and one for the groceries.

perfect (they are somewhat sloppy and are not very good at doing chores) but they do not and never did flip out at restaurants or in the store.  There was no evidence of a hurricane after we left a store.

Well, except for that time that Jared got on a tricycle at Salvation Army and ran into a lady….that was awful.   To be fair, we are not usually in stores where tricycles are just left down like that where children can think they are in a playground.  He was overcome with the urge that was too strong for him to resist. BUT…he was punished for not asking me if he could ride the trike.  He was punished for using something that did not belong to him without permission.  And he never did it again.

To me it’s common sense to train children to respect other people and their property.  Of course it is “natural” for children to misbehave, open things that are attractive to them, run around like wildcats…but just because it is “natural” does not make it “acceptable.”  If you do not train them you will have Lord of the Flies.  And I fear that’s where society is headed.

Permissive parents who think it’s cute and just a natural phase see parents like me as somewhat of a Nazi or something.  So be it.  I’m not a parenting expert by any means, but it just doesn’t bode well for our future when so many think it’s great to let our children act like little terrorists rather than take a zero tolerance stand on bad behavior.

Dang, I sound so much like a grumpy old lady.

Karen Rice, AKA Wizzy

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2 thoughts on “Children and Meltdowns…I Don’t Get It

  1. Lynn says:

    Karen, you aren’t a Nazi or crazy…you just have good common sense! I know a few adults who have lost control in public a few too many times and I know that they some of their issue is that they didn’t learn to control their emotions as kids. Teaching your kids the ability to manage themselves even in the face of “no” is a precious gift that will serve them well for their whole lives!

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