by Kenneth Justice
~ “Kenneth, this was the worst Christmas I’ve ever had in my entire life!”
I was sitting with one of my coffee house acquaintances on New Years Eve. “What in the world happened?” I asked him
“Remember how I said my daughter and her husband were moving back up….well they arrived the week before Christmas and have been staying with us till they find a house. They have three children; a 7 year old, 5 year old and a 3 year old… and neither my daughter or her husband believes in discipline….my grandkids are out of control…I’m literally losing my mind!” he said
Apparently, his daughter and her husband don’t believe in any form of discipline whatsoever; no time outs, no physical punishment, no sending the children to their room……and so two little ones regularly scream, throw glasses shattering to the floor, and cause all sorts of ruckus without any repercussions whatsoever. My coffee acquaintance attempted to tell the four year old “NO” a couple nights ago when she was throwing a plastic toy against his digital flat screen television but his daughter didn’t appreciate him speaking to the little one that way and an argument ensued.
It’s got to be a tough experience having to move back in with your parents; the young couple of three children must be a bit overwhelmed having had to move their three children back in with ‘mom & dad’. I have a sneaky suspicion that its not that the young parents don’t believe in discipline (this particular coffee acquaintance of mine has a tendency to exaggerate) but that their level of discipline doesn’t match up with what the grandparents believe in…..and the fact that all of these people have suddenly found themselves living under one room during the Christmas holiday merely exacerbates the issue.
The subject of children and discipline is a pretty interesting one at that; people all across the Western World have extremely varied opinions when it comes to discipline and child rearing;
—) Some people fully endorse spanking
—) Others believe spanking is totally wrong
—) Some people believe in ‘Time Outs’
—) Others believe “Time Outs’ don’t work at all
Oddly enough, even single people who’ve never had any children tend to have pretty strong opinions about child rearing. I was sitting with a single friend a couple weeks ago who was complaining about a family who brought their small children into the coffee house, “Kenneth, if you’re a parent of small children you should absolutely NOT bring the kids into a coffee house…….children should either be kept at home, taken to the playground, or somewhere away from adults!” he said
Maybe I’m an exception….but children at coffee houses don’t bother me at all; at least not the ones who are well behaved. It seems to me that taking your children out to different places becomes an opportunity to help the children learn how to properly act and behave when in public. But perhaps I am wrong….because a lot of restaurants lately have been banning children from coming in during dinner hours. One restaurant in particular made the national NEWS last year in the U.S. when the owner loudly proclaimed that children were expressly prohibited after the hours of 6 PM.
A lot of people don’t care for children. I know of a number of married couples who have vowed to never have children…..that’s okay. I don’t believe everyone has to live exactly the same way. But I often wonder why some people seem to display such little love toward children. Is it just me or are children pretty amazing? I mean……its amazing to me that we all start out so young with the entire world before us. Every time I’ve ever held a small infant in my arms I’m always overwhelmed with the wonder and amazement of birth…..how is it possible that we all start off so small?
I can totally empathize with my coffee acquaintance though; children who are ‘bouncing off the walls’ can pretty much drive anyone nuts….and some people believe discipline is a thing of the past. “Parents are too soft on their children” my acquaintance told me, “That’s why crime levels are always on the increase…because parents aren’t being tough enough on their children….what we need are some good old fashioned values brought back into parenting” he said
Really? Is that why crime exists in the world; because of bad parenting? Perhaps he is right….I’ve never really researched the topic in great depth. However, a lot of people believe that crime is more connected to poverty and income than it is to whether or not parents are doing a good job. Then again, there are some really poor areas in the world where crime levels aren’t that very high. Ultimately, I think issues like this one are very complex; I’m always hesitant to simplify the subject out of my concern that narrowing problems down to only one issue could mean we end up missing the forest for the trees.
“So what are you going to do about the situation with your daughter and her family?” I asked my acquaintance
“Well, my daughter’s company is giving her husband a bonus at the end of the month in order for them to move into a house so we only have to suffer for 30 more days” he said, “And if they don’t get out at that point….I think I might move out myself!”
It was odd to hear a grandfather talk about his grandchildren this way…..but what do I know, maybe this is more common than I realized, i thought to myself….and then I took another sip of my coffee