Worst Christmas of my life…REALLY???


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




Categories: relationships

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110 replies

  1. I think we’re quite lucky in the UK now, that food and drink establishments finally seem to understand that they get far more trade when they embrace families than if they’re unwelcoming. Absolutely taking the children out into the ‘real world’ helps them grow as people – and be less likely then to commit crime. Bad parenting, lack of discipline and having the difference between right and wrong instilled at a young age definitely makes a difference, regardless of income. Interesting post, thank you 🙂

    • I’m with you Jaye…it seems like a good idea to take children out in public so that as they grow up they will know how to properly behave 🙂 I would imagine that children who are never taken out to restaurants may not know good behavior when they are older…..

    • Usually I’m happy to see children at restaurants, even if they make a bit of noise. However there times when a child is making a lot of noise and it just keeps going and going. Then it becomes very unpleasant. At that point a parent should take the child out of the restaurant. Otherwise it ruins the dining experience for everyone in the restaurant. That’s probably why some restaurants are no longer admitting children. If the parents would behave themselves, and think about the other diners, it wouldn’t be a problem.

    • Agreed…..parents need to be aware of those times that it’s best to remove the child when they are misbehaving


    • Whew! I’m glad you said this. I didn’t want to seem harsh.

    • Carl, I was thinking that when I was sitting with the grand father. it seems like his daughter and her husband should of probably realized this when they asked if they could move back in temporarily

    • Carl, I am a parent of a son with autism. I do my level best to apply discipline in a consistent and structured way. He does not have tantrums; he has meltdowns, or rather, I should say that he does not throw fits in the same way neurotypical children do. He literally breaks down. Understand that I haul him out swiftly at that point, my local church congregation understands this very well and is willing to assist me if he melts down or runs off and I cannot get to him quickly enough.

      Please pardon me for pointing this out but let me say gently that text in all caps on the Internet is generally considered in the English-speaking world to be shouting (cf. Pavel Xerox and the DEFCON project). I don’t think you intended to shout, but, please, I ask you to have a care with that in mind, and that you consider my situation as well. Thank you.

  3. Children are very amazing. Whenever I am with a child I can remember how it felt to be that age. Much of their bad behavior is frustration and immaturity in dealing with their emotions. I don’t have grandchildren but I would think your friend needs alone time with each child. If you relates to them and finds out their likes and dislikes, I am sure he will learn to get them to cooperate. Kids are messy. Clear a big area and get down and play. Laughing with a child is worth all the hassles.

  4. Not even blood ties can blind people to hard evidence. When children don’t have structure and consequences (positive and negative), they develop an entitled approach to life. That is, they’re supposed to get what they want, when they want it. Even if people aren’t trained in child development, they can become instinctively triggered by the type of people undisciplined children may become.

    • juan blea,

      great point; when I was in college studying psychology we often talked about ‘structure’ and the need that all humans have for it (children & adults) and how good structure can actually help us to be more creative…..not to mention it leads to better behaved children ,

  5. That is an amazing story. I had friends who adopted and thy said they were going to use a no discipline approach. That pasted about a day and a half. Children (and adults) seem to require some form of discipline.

    On the notion that bad parenting leads to more crime, he should. Heck his stats. Many forms of crime are at historic lows and parenting is, in generL, I believe stronger than it ever has been, with some notable exceptions as your friend observed

    • Mik,

      “a day and a half”

      love that comment! yea….I would imagine that parents who try the entirely ‘no discipline’ approach will at some point learn that they will need to practice some type of discipline.

  6. You are right, Kenneth, that some grandparents tend to exaggerate. I would like to add that their biases also plays a part. Some parents show favoritism to their children and even grandchildren. Because hearing from one side of the story isn’t enough. Hope this helps 🙂


  7. I’ve seen lots of adults behave inappropriately in public. My theory is they were once the children whose parents didn’t take them to restaurants and coffee houses so they would have the opportunity to learn to behave. My kids are old enough to go to restaurants without their parents now, but I still refuse to patronize restaurants with a “no kids” policy.

    • Muddy River Muse,

      I was thinking something similar to you when I was writing the article; perhaps the adults who ‘misbehave’ in public are the ones who’s parents didn’t properly raise them as children….maybe their lack of discipline as children has turned them into adults who are rude in public.

  8. Grandparents v Parents = Different Mindsets. I speak of that wot I know. Three generations in the same household out of necessity? Objective observation gets squeezed out pdq. All in the same room? Smiles and love. In a coffee shop? Letting off steam. Taking this stuff seriously … Really? Just a calm thought from a wrinkly. 🙂

    • Different Mindsets is definitely what is going on. That pretty much applies to many different areas of life; it comes down to people needing to learn how to get along even when they have different philosophies

  9. Kids inadvertently crave structure. Poor behavior also needs to be quickly redircted. I feel sorry for these kids.

  10. It is a delicate issue when we talk kids Spanking is in some countries seen as child abuse. But is it that wrong. It sure as hell taught me a thing or two. But the lines are so blurry. A tap on the hand when they tried to put a sandwich in you VCR ii think can work. But if a child calls the childrens-phone it is quickly escalating and parents are getting a a label for 5 years.
    Time out works if the parent can be consistent. But the parents should also know another house holds other rules. and it is there where parents are most needed to uphold some level of respect to some ones property.
    It is a hot issue and I seen many branches.

    On a personal opinion I do find there is less respect overall. More bullying because of differences. we as a community are loosing grip and think to much in boxes as a measure of security and upbringing. Parents are being told to work work work and are unable to teach their children values. and school lack that to because they are having to e prestige and better then the rest and cannot deal with the social aspects of life and its values. We as a community, Western even lack resolve and loosing value because of that.

    • Ranting Crow,

      your so right; even if a parent believes spanking is okay…in our day-and-age I probably wouldn’t ever spank a kid in public for fear of getting into trouble with the authorities

      “More bullying because of differences. we as a community are loosing grip and think to much in boxes as a measure of security and upbringing”

      I see this as well; it seems like people are drawing lines in society and there is very little work being done to learn how to get along with people who have different philosophies….its as though thinks that we must all agree on everything.

    • Personally, I am not anti-spank. I think it has a place, mostly when a children are too young to understand that they have done something very dangerous and harmful to themselves. Like, if my children ran across a busy street (especially narrowly missing on-coming cars) and didn’t seem to understand how they could have gotten hurt, they got a swat.

      My wife and I aren’t perfect– we have dealt with CPS more than we’d like. It’s especially difficult with my son with autism. He headbutts, tackles, and gets rough when he can’t seem to use his words, and sometimes that’s what he understands best in return. But we work very hard to show him manners, courtesy, and proper behavior.

    • I applaud your efforts I do. i worked with children for a little and it may be hard work. and we all do our best. it is the least we can do right.
      As for spanking or a swat. yes a little swat i think yes. But i seen parents get a label because there children ran in a door post. An accident..A tap on the finger if they play with a candle. yes sure. it has place, i think.

      Butt he lines have been so thin and blurry. we are afraid to even touch our children. Here mostly.

      keep smiling man. i am sure you are doing great.. and the best for him..

  11. I had a similar issue when I was back home visiting my daughters and their children. My grandson actually “Shhh”ed me one day! I was shocked. The way I was brought up this was absolute disrespect, my daughter’s reaction to it was a bit calm by my standards. My children were brought up to respect adults, family and strangers alike, and to this day are polite. I believe many younger parents are skipping out on the basic foundation of manners, and giving in too often to their little “bosses”, resulting in disrespectful, demanding, and rude children. I was also able to take my children to any public place without ever worrying about their behavior, because they knew what was expected of them. They could even order for themselves by age 5, with “please”es and “thank you”s. sigh

    • wow….’shh’ed by a young one…..perhaps we are simply moving in a new direction as a society and we can’t go back to the way it used to be? I dunno…..not sure what I completely think about this subject.

    • I’m a Gen Xer, but I won’t stand for that disrespect whatsoever. Sometimes it’s gotten me into a little trouble on the Internet– adults have even told me that I can’t expect so much from the younger generations (because I’ll chide twentysomethings when they get mouthy, too). Oh well.

    • I was “reprimanded” by my ex mother-in-law for being “too strict” with my children. I expected them to say, “Yes, ma’am” when asked to do something. I was brought up military, and it was natural to me. I’m glad I was that way with my own.

    • “Yes sir” and “Yes ma’am” is fine by me, although I wasn’t brought up military (my maternal grandfather is a Marine, however).

      What is it that some people find those responses condescending?

      My own children are fiercely independent, so I can’t really use an authoritarian touch too hard, but I think they understand what my expectations are for behavior. My daughter gratefully chooses not to swear although I can cut foul combinations of profanity that gave one of my ex-Navy truck driving friends some pause.

    • My oldest one can make me pause with her mouth at times, but mine isn’t always pure lol. All of my children are adults, and still show respect and good manners when meeting someone. I’m proud of how I taught them.

  12. Grandparents often need to bite their tongue to keep from interfering with discipline. On the other hand, even if we had radically different approaches to child rearing, they are guests at the grandparents’ house and are obliged to follow common rules of courtesy and respect. If they stayed at the motel, they would be expected to pay for any damage caused by them or by their children.

    • your so right Barbara, I think a lot of parents of small children think different rules apply when staying at the grandparents house versus a hotel….but they should be just as respectful in both places.

  13. 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.
    YES to this! Whenever I catch people giving sour looks to parents, I think, “Really? How are kids supposed to get better at anything if they’re not allowed to actually participate?” My four-year-old is usually pretty engaged with us, but once in a while, I’ll even catch folks glaring at us because even his quiet, non-intrusive table play is too much for them. I try not to pay them much mind, thinking they’ll either understand when they have kids . . . or go on thinking they understand much more than they do if they choose not to have them.

    I spent most of my life not wanting to have kids. It was a wonder to me that anybody did want them. Now, I look back on that and smile. Like those restaurant judgers, what I saw was but a very, very small portion of a vast and vibrant larger picture.

    • I’m reminded of that phrase ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and think to myself that people in a society should be more gracious and loving toward parents and children and that strangers in a coffee house can actually help families by being patient with them when they bring their children in 🙂

    • Thank you! Can this be repeated over and over many times for parents with children that have autism? So many of us are worried to take our kids anywhere because we’ll be judged or chastised when they don’t act as well as the neurotypical kids seem to.

  14. Well…pretty sad I may say. If we cannot stand ours among us, this is a sign that we are really getting old, where habits and comfort come before a family.
    In our culture, grandparents have a big role in grandkids’ education so they cannot complain 🙂
    Other than that, yes, I think education has the biggest role in shaping a future adult. Doesn’t matter how poor someone can be, there are always resources if there are two hands…JMO.

    • I think that is one thing that is different between Europe and the united states is that here in the U.S. grandparents often don’t want very much to do with helping raising the grandkids….there are many grandparents that do; but I think that is less and less the case.

  15. “What you plant now, you will harvest later.”
    Every house is built different with their own family rules. Parents play a big role,( then schools)but you must become a child sometime to understand their world.
    Got to finish my ☕️Turkish coffee now 😀

  16. We never really know other people’s life stories, so it’s pretty hard to judge.

    Perhaps the Grandfather was overly strict with his daughter and she rebelled by being too liberal with her own children?

    Children need a balance of Love, Discipline, Guidelines (and more Love). They need to be guided and treated with respect. It’s all about balance. But I do think they need to know that they should respect other people’s homes & possessions. They need to be treated as befitting their age. Children up to the age of about 3 are hard to reason with. You can’t really explain why they should do, or Not Do, certain things. But after about 3 years old, (& this varies with every child), you should explain why something should or shouldn’t be done (in private and/or public).

    I think Grandparents, while respecting their children’s parenting, should have the right to expect their grandchildren to behave in the Grandparent’s home, but if a Grandparent never has any time with the Grandchild on their own, then they’ll never have a chance to develop a relationship with their Grandchild.

    Children learn by example. If the parents lack self discipline or have negative behaviours, then it’s more than likely that the child will develop them. I don’t have children, but I have seen the effect of lack of parental guidance turn disastrous in later life of the child.

    Reverse psychology sometimes works with little ones. I’ve found the most effective way to get a child to do things is to work with them too (e.g. ask them to pick up their toys and put them in the box, then say “why don’t we both pick them up together today and then we’ll have more time to …………”.). Other days give them responsibilities and reward them when they’re kind & thoughtful. Don’t give too much attention to bad behaviour. Encourage them to eat good, healthy food, but don’t forget to buy the occasional treat or ice-cream on special occasions. Encourage them to share decision-making. Spend quality time with your child and a quality relationship will develop in your family. Ignore you child and they will ignore you (& your expectations).

    Understand that peer pressure might sway them at certain times of life, but if they have a good understanding of the end results of poor decisions & behaviours, then there’s a fair chance they’ll develop the skills to make wise decisions in their own lives (despite peer pressure).

    It’s all about balance. Yin & Yang. Less & More.

    All children are different. Get to know them and their individual personalities. But I wouldn’t hesitate to discipline any child in my care, or in my home. It’s the way you do it (that counts).

    • balance is the key…..

      “I think Grandparents, while respecting their children’s parenting, should have the right to expect their grandchildren to behave in the Grandparent’s home, but if a Grandparent never has any time with the Grandchild on their own, then they’ll never have a chance to develop a relationship with their Grandchild.”

      I totally agree with you 🙂

  17. When our children were young we always set up expectations for their behavior before we went anywhere, from dining out, traveling by air, or a visit to a friends house. They seemed to know intuitively how important the travel part was to me and never crossed the line of bad behavior. Did they drive me crazy sometimes at home or in a hotel room? A resounding yes! What bothers me about the grandfathers story, no matter how exaggerated, is the total lack of respect his grand kids seem to have for him and his belongings, and I guess the same lack of respect from his daughter…an adult. Maybe he should have just tossed the kids in the yard for a few hours every day like my parents did to me and my five siblings!

  18. Children are amazing! I totally agree with you! You have to discipline somehow – that’s how they learn to be good productive citizens of society! lol… how strange that some people don’t get that.

  19. I was an amazing parent before I had kids. Whew! I had all the answers and knew exactly how to handle every situation. However, after we actually had kids of our own, my idea of what was acceptable parenting got quite broad. I peronally believe in house rules. However, multi-generation homes are very tricky. I feel for the grandparents, parents and kids in this situation. How hard it is to navigate it all when your circumstances are out of control!

    • “I was an amazing parent before I had kids. Whew! I had all the answers and knew exactly how to handle every situation. ”

      lol love that!!! very funny 🙂

    • Yep, this happened to me, too.

      This even after my parents told me ‘you’re so good with kids’ when I was younger (long before I got married). There’s no teacher like experience.

      And I agree… multi-generation homes CAN be tricky, but I think that’s partly due to cultural differences. I’ve been told it’s not unusual in parts of Europe (Eastern Europe especially, I think) for children to remain at home until they are married or otherwise financially independent. It also seems here in the States there is less concept of extended family under one roof outside Latino and black American homes.

  20. I think that poverty and the breakdown of the family go hand in hand. One fosters the other. But making bad parents wealthy doesn’t make for good children, but good parenting can help give children a chance to get out of poverty. Crime in my opinion is correlated with poverty but not caused by it, despite what the marxists say.

    As for your friend, he’s more patient than I would be.

  21. A European family who lived next to us, many years ago, took their toddler and went home for a visit. They came back right away because no one could stand their child, not even their parents, and they were asked to leave. I have been at lunch and watched kids jumping up and down on the seats behind my friend, hitting her in the head and screaming. The adults did nothing. We left. We were trying to order lunch one day and the waiter said, “I can’t hear you,” and my friend said, “that’s because the kid in the booth behind me is screaming so loud that no one can speak. Either ask them to leave or we will.” The management finally told the people they would have to take the kid outside. The grandfather looked at the waiter and said, “We woke him up too early this morning.” No…I DON’T THINK SO. The kid is out of control and it has nothing to do with getting up early. Those are just excuses for bad behavior. I can totally understand why people don’t like kids anymore. When I see nice kids I compliment them and I compliment the person they are with. It’s so rare to see well behaved children anymore that I feel as if I have to say something. I was in Target and a five year old was screaming “F#@ you” at his mother, over and over again, laying on the floor, kicking his feet. The father walked away, shaking his head. The woman just stood there an looked at the kid laying on the floor…SHE DID NOTHING. Everyone who was shopping was horrified and just stood there in shock. I’ve seen so many badly behaved children that I agree, kids should not be allowed in places after six, so that people can eat in peace without kids running up and down between the tables screaming, running into people and even TRIPPING them. I’ve had waiters apologize for the screaming children in restaurants and tell us that they couldn’t ask them to leave but they would be finished eating soon, if we would just stay, because people were leaving and giving the place to the screaming children and their parents. It never used to be like this. My grandchildren were not like this in any way and there was no harsh discipline. We expected them to behave and have manners. We taught them to behave and have manners. No one seems to be doing that now days. My granddaughter doesn’t even like kids and doesn’t know if she ever wants to have any because they are such a pain. Small children have all the power today…the parents seem helpless and at their mercy. I don’t know if it’s because parents are having children so late in life or because they have been told that there’s a certain way to do things. When we raised our kids we didn’t read anything. We knew you didn’t run through diners, didn’t lay on the floor screaming, didn’t jump up and down on seats, lay in doorways to stores, scream constantly, hit people and throw things, mouth off to your parents and disturb everyone around you. So, yeah, I can easily believe that people don’t like kids anymore. And I had a friend in the same position as the person you just wrote about. They were ready to move out and just let their daughter, her husband and their toddler, who was destroying their beautiful house, have the place, because they couldn’t stand it anymore. My friend raised her kids to be polite and very well behaved but times have changed and her kids, now parents themselves, have given their children all their power…given power to someone with an undeveloped brain who cannot possibly make decisions or manage themselves. And, sure, not all kids are like this but enough of them are that I don’t know anyone who wants to be around them anymore. People talk about this issue all the time and very few are pro child. “I can’t stand to be around them,” is what I hear all the time. And people who don’t have children don’t have a clue…not a single one. Dr. Spock apologized to women everywhere, once he had a child of his own. I admire him for that. Dr. Spock was the only child rearing book out there at one time. He said he was wrong and had no idea what having a child was like until he had one. People think they are damaging their kids by saying “no”…they say they are stifling their creativity. But the truth is the damage that’s being done isn’t about that. It’s about not having anything your kids can count on, like rules and not being out of control. That’s where the real harm comes in. No direction, no safety. People ask their kids what they want to eat. The kid is two…he only knows what you have given him so far. They ask tiny children to make decisions they are not capable of making because they have had no experience and don’t know how to think about anything. So, people move to child free apartment buildings or compounds. No children allowed buildings in Florida. I think this might become a bigger trend in the future, unless something changes. It is what it is. But people shouldn’t be surprised if people don’t think their children are cute. They shouldn’t be surprised if people don’t want them in their houses. Why would they?

    • I had never heard that about dr. Spock….how fascinating…..

      I think my coffee house friend would love to read what you’ve said here, a lot of it echoes the larger part of our conversation and what he was sharing with me

      Thanks for the great comments 🙂

  22. I think most people have an opinion on raising a child because we all were children at one point. We remember what helped us and what scared us.

    On another note, blaming crime on bad parenting is too simplistic. Take just one example of “bad parenting”: the absent parent. Are they absent because they are lazy? Because they have to work three jobs to put food on the table? Because they went to jail for possession of a small amount of pot? I highly doubt most parenting issues having anything to do with the parents choosing to put their children in those situations.

  23. Discipline is a VERY important part of parenting. A child relies on their parent/s to teach them right from wrong. Most of the time, regardless of the discipline technique used on the child, they will learn through the parent/s actions. Therefore, if a child sees his parent staying quiet (which translates to acceptance) when he/she misbehaves, they will continue with that behavior. As parents, especially in this day and age where we are encouraged to be unique and creative, we are all struggling on a daily basis to rear our children to be the best Men and Women they can be. I personally love taking my kids out as they are well behaved and polite in public, but this was not always the case. We are a homeschooling family so we have had the time to go out for coffee and meals where I was given the opportunity to teach the etiquettes required for restaurants, cafes and shops. I love children so I enjoy their company, however I agree that it’s quite a downer when your attempting to relax in a place where a kid is screaming and running around whilst the parent is on the phone or just negligent. I think that saying that crime is a result of bad parenting is a bit much. It puts WAY too much pressure on parenting. Everyone has a destiny to fulfil and we are all responsible for our choices in life. I cannot blame my mother for a murder I may commit now as it is a choice I have to make. We are all unique and the beauty of us as human beings is that we have free will to make our own choices and find our own happiness.

    • Great comments and I’m always impressed with mothers (and fathers) who homeschool….it takes a lot of work and dedication and I wish society was more appreciative of all youre doing 🙂

  24. Great blog, interesting and thoughtful without being biased. As to whether parents raising their children poorly contributes to increases in crime, well you can see the train of thought there and I have certainly heard it said by many people in my neck of the woods. If its true or not, who knows?

  25. I wonder how much of the inclination towards parents doing nothing to curb their children’s outbursts relate to the numerous opinions that are now out there about the “correct” way to parent. I know some parents who are scared that if they discipline their children in public someone will mistake it as child abuse and call the authorities. I know a couple who had their three children taken away because one time their 2 1/2 year old figured out how to climb on a small stool, unlock the front door and wandered out very early one Saturday morning to go “sploring” around the neighborhood. They were then deemed unfit parents because of that incident and it took them all summer to prove to child services that they deserved to get their kids back…these were not irresponsible parents either. In society’s rush to help curb legitimate child abuse they instead created a culture unsure of what is considered acceptable practices for disuading small children from engaging in socially unacceptable behaviors. Many people who don’t know what to do, do nothing. Ultimately if they aren’t your children you rarely get a say in how they are raised. I struggle with this issue concerning my niece. Neither of her parents parent the way I feel they should and both my husband, my parents and myself often find ourselves getting really frustrated with their lax attitudes towards teaching good habits and disciplining. The best we can do is bring up our concerns to each parent and try to set good examples when we have one on one time with the child. Makes me wonder what the inconsistancy does to the kids who deal with parents who differ in their parenting styles. I will add that I do believe in non-abusive discipline for children. I really think that kids need boundaries and black and white examples for behavior. There will be plenty of time for them to explore the gray areas of what is and isn’t acceptable when they are old enough to be held legally responsible for their actions, but until then it is up to the adults to lay down the laws.

    • Well said! I know a mother who had the same thing happen. The authorities told her that she wasn’t allowed to discipline her ‘out of control’ teenaged daughter. To make matters worse, they then told her that they couldn’t help her either. So, there she was stuck between disciplining and having social services take her daughter away, or just letting her be and do whatever she wanted. It’s a scary world we live in, where the kids are now in control, rather than the parents.

    • Sometimes I wish society would pull its head out of its ass so we could all go back to getting things done instead of being stuck in this spiral of decline.

    • We had to get a double-locking deadbolt (keyed on both sides) for my son, because he would just head straight out the door and wander otherwise. This was just as we were learning he had autism. The city police seemed to inuitively discern what the issue was, but we had a much harder time convincing CPS until his school and his doctors started speaking in our behalf.

    • Thank you! It seemed to work a lot better than the door and window alarms (yes, we tried other solutions).

    • Parenting in general is a constant effort of trial and error but eventually you figure out the solution that works best.

    • Yep. Not to mention that what worked well for one child doesn’t necessarily work well for another. I learned REAL fast that my two kids are their own individuals. They still sometimes say things that alternately remind Cimmorene and I of ourselves, however.

    • 🙂 Hybrid blends of their parents and their own unique experiences.

    • That’s a great way of putting it!

  26. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I don’t know, without being there myself, whether it is lack of discipline or not being used to the constant, whirring motion of kids! My kids are generally well behaved but they do have their “bouncing off the walls” moments. Of course we all all need boundaries and to learn to respect others and their space. We used a few pats on the bum when they were 2 or 3 and couldn’t be reasoned with. Now we use time outs and taking away of privileges. But kids ARE exhausting! Even the sweetest ones! Thanks again for stopping by brooklynbarangay!

    • I think every parent has to figure out what type of discipline works best for them and thats why I’m always careful not to criticize all the various. “techniques ” parents use….as the saying goes “different strokes for different folks”

      Thanks for your comments 🙂

  27. I feel for your friend and everyone involved in his situation. It can’t be easy for any of them.

    As to:
    “Is it just me or are children pretty amazing?” It’s not just you! I think children are pretty amazing, too. And they are funny and truthful. I like what you say about how you feel every time you hold a newborn. One time, when I was walking the beach with my newborn daughter, a young woman approached me to talk about the baby. She asked if she could hold my daughter. To my surprise, I said, “Sure.” I gently handed over my daughter to this total stranger, who held my baby close to her chest, closed her eyes and whispered, “Whenever I hold an infant, I feel close to heaven.”

    • What a great story….yea, I don’t know what I would have done if I were in your situation on the beach, but I love the story because it reminds us that strangers are nothing more than our fellow humans 🙂

  28. My mother and I were discussing this topic yesterday. Why is that kids are so much more misbehaved than they used to be? I firmly believe it’s because parents no longer discipline their children. A simple spanking could have social services at your door, so now parents are afraid to discipline. Telling little Johnny how bad his choice was and trying to reason with him, is not going to work. Instead of people disciplining their children, they dope them up on medications to calm them. That is not the answer. In fact, that’s the problem. I should stop there, because this will undoubtedly lead to a rant if I don’t.

    • Please understand that the choice to put my children on medication was considered very, very, very carefully. I already had personal experience with psych med treatment myself for about 20 years, and I did NOT want them to experience some of the really horrible and near-fatal side effects that I did.

      First, it was my daughter (who is 11 now). I was really reluctant at first, but it seemed to make a real difference with some of her attention problems. Her pediatrician suggested a med break recently since she was doing very well, and two weeks into the month long cessation period, she got into trouble at school for what looked like cheating. She had spaced out and wasn’t listening to the science teacher when she said to put everything away before the test. She decided in detention, on her own, that resuming her ADD meds was the best decision. This is the girl who chooses NOT to swear despite her father’s bad example, because we had an intelligent discussion with her about it.

      My 6-year old son was found to have ADHD and ODD as well as his autism– his autism classroom teacher was very concerned that his symptomatic behavior as such was holding him back from progressing in his schoolwork. We had to put some pressure on his pediatrician (same doc as my daughter’s) with paperwork from the doctor that diagnosed him for autism (this doctor said he seemed to have ADHD and should have treatment) and the school. Since starting a couple of meds his marks have improved, which include reports for social behavior as well as academics.

      We speak to our children’s teachers repeatedly about their behavior and how they are doing in school. For a time, contact with my son’s teacher was near daily, and this was the same woman that was his kindergarten teacher last year as well as his first grade teacher this year. I can most assuredly tell you we do NOT slack off on discipline. We cannot afford to do so.

    • My son is autistic as well. Although I admit that my comment sounded like a blanket statement, it was not. I’m sorry that I worded it in such a way.

      It was meant for people who just don’t want to deal with their children, not for those who have real issues. I know several children who do not need medication, yet they are on it. They spend their days spaced out, mentally separated from the world. When they’re off their meds they are normal, well functioning children. It’s sad, knowing that there is a perfectly ‘normal’ person inside who is being suppressed by those drugs.

      I had energy when I was a child, talked back to my parents and had a nasty temper. My Mom disciplined me, I matured and eventually all my bad behaviors stopped. They were natural behaviors for a child. But, for many kids these days, these behaviors are deemed as abnormal.

      It sounds like you are doing an excellent job with your children. You obviously care for them a great deal and are following through with their needs. The fact that you are so close to their teachers and health professionals is proof that you are doing the right thing.

      Again, I’m sorry that my comment came off as a blanket statement. It was not meant for those kids who truly need the help. There are many who do and having an autistic son myself, I know this very well. It was only for those who use it as a ‘band aid’.

      Good for you for being such a great and caring parent! There should be more like you.

    • Yeah, I get you now, and thank you very much. I’m sure you know very well that raising children with autism can be very exhausting.

      Cimmorene and I have seen bad examples of parenting, and it frustrates us to no end. This is especially so when we see obvious examples of kids that really do deserve a lot better.

      My sister has seen quite a bit, as well, as she’s a librarian. She has plenty of frustrations with CPS and some social workers as well, that they sometimes do NOT do right by the parents and the kids. (Both of her kids have autism, a boy and a girl. She helped Cimmy and I a lot with getting services started for our son.)

    • It’s wonderful that you had your sister, to help you get services for your son. It can be overwhelming, especially in the beginning when everything is new and we’re still in ‘shock’ (for lack of better words) over the diagnosis.

      I checked out your blog and look forward to reading your posts. I wish you the best with your son. Autistic children have so many gifts that we can learn from. They are truly amazing people.

    • Yeah, it actually put us in an interesting place– we saw lots of shock at the parents’ support group at our Responding to Autism center. So many parents that were just numb, not knowing what to do next. I didn’t feel as seasoned as some of the others that had been in for a while, but there weren’t really too many others that were in transition, so to speak.

      I should go back. It’s just been tough, as we’ve been so super busy. We love the Center, though… we’ve been able to count on them now and then for activities we know where Boy will have a great time and people know full well what to expect.

  29. Yikes, this would be a tough situation for everybody. Frankly, If I were this gentleman, I’d have a sit-down with his daughter and her husband to talk about expectations. Should have been done before they ever moved in, but now is better than after somebody gets their feelers hurt.

  30. I could write all day about this. In the end, parenting is the hardest gig on earth.

    That being said….why would he allow his grown ass daughter to disrespect his home? She needs to find her checkbook, get a hotel and read a book about structure.

    I need to get back into my classroom, as children flow in on Tuesday I’ll have plenty to correct, yet again.

    …oops. I should just keep driving.

  31. The most important parts of discipline: both parents agree on it (mom and dad don’t have different rules), and each parent is consistent in administering it (they do what they say they will do).

  32. Shit – I wish someone would be in a timeout … maybe I’d have avoided half the crap I fell into this past year 🙂 BTW, looks like you spend as much time in coffee houses as I do – cheers! And thanks for stopping by – looking forward to reading more –

  33. Part of the trouble in parenting is that things are seen as “right” or “wrong” when they should be looked at more as cause and effect. When it comes down to it, discipline should be focused more on teaching rather than to simply control a child. In the long run it will likely result in less child-related headaches.

    Of course, this is just a theory. I know next to nothing about raising a child. That is just what I prefer personally in my learning experiences.

  34. I also think that children are being treated to softly, in fear of their feelings getting hurt. Now, they get to do what they want knowing there will be no repercussions, and some even aware that if someone does intervene, that their parents will take care of it. When I adopted my four children, they had been in alot of broken homes, and were manipulative and unruly. I made it a point to take them places frequently. At first, it was a nightmare…they were horrible. Overtime, they got better though, and there is rarely a time that we go out to eat, that the kids arent complimented on their behavior. Loved the post!!

  35. There are a lot of parents who don’t really discipline their kids and it really is a problem for teachers and others to deal with because then the kids are spoiled rotten brats and no one wants to be around them. I love kids, BUT I don’t like being around kids who are virtually allowed to do whatever they want, whenever they want and I don’t like the idea of a “child” telling her parent what to do in front of a grandkid – all it does is reinforce the idea that the kid can do no wrong and that’s a huge issue. Kids who get that message are the ones getting away with all the bullying in this world; they’re the ones who do commit at least small crimes like vandalism and what not because they know they can’t get in trouble for it; in fact real recently, a young man ACTUALLY got off of killing four people when he was driving drunk simply because his parents never taught him right from wrong (or something of that nature – he was a kid who came from privilege so poor lil’ guy had no clue about morals just because he’s rich – go figure). The lack of parenting is an issue in more ways than one and I see it and I saw it even more so when I was working in schools. My mom had a horrible experience with kids who did put things like cleaner in a substitute’s coffee; they put pencil shavings in her coffee and the school never disciplined the kids… ever. The parents never got involved or anything. I’m sorry but that can seriously impact a person’s health if not all out kill someone. That’s a problem I would say. I think some places have gone too far with banning kids from being at restaurants and yet, with more and more unruly kids it’s hard to say. I am single no kids, but how kids behave can impact my day or what I’m doing so I’m entitled to an opinion. That’s not to say that I have all the answers or that I’d be perfect as a parent. I don’t expect perfection from anyone, but I do expect if you’re going to have kids then you need to raise them… raising them means helping them become responsible adults and that means disciplining them, showing them right from wrong, helping them learn to make decisions, etc. If you can’t or are unwilling to do that, then don’t have kids. In all honestly, it’s not fair to the kids because life will eventually become difficult for them in some fashion, and it’s not fair to the rest of us who have to deal with the kids as kids or when they grow up to be lil’ monsters. Again, really, I love kids. Most are super funny, observant, smart, etc. I love their company. Most kids are really good, even despite having bad parents, but there are those that drive us all crazy.

    • your mom should of put pencil shavings in the kids milk to get back at them 😉 I’m j/k lol

      dude, kids at school can be so nuts….i don’t even wanna get started on that because i will go on a long rant; it seems like the schools are powerless to change the culture of the situation and its such a shame.

    • Haha! Yes I agree, kids in school are nuts but part of that is parenting – they don’t see their kids as being bad so they never discipline them and they get away with all kinds of things; schools do have their hands tied I know but the instance with my mom – they could have done more than they did they just didn’t. It’s a crap situation regardless.

  36. Like you say everyone is different, I can kind of get where the Grandfather is coming from, If they’ve moved into his house they should follow their rules, like not smashing things into TV screens.
    As for the link between lack of discipline and crime, that’s the whole nature VS Nurture debate. No-one has ever won that one, however the general consensus seems to be that both Nature and Nurture have an effect, although there are times when nurture overrules nature and vice versa.
    I guess what I’m saying is that my guess is as good as anyone’s.

    • “that’s the whole nature VS Nurture debate. No-one has ever won that one, however the general consensus seems to be that both Nature and Nurture have an effect”

      totally agree….it seems like a combination of both in my mind.

  37. In this context it’s worth noting how successful the TV Supernanny show has been – not only in English-speaking countries. Other nationalities have their own version, too – the German one in particular is very popular.But people have been complaining about kids and their bad behaviour for as long as there have been humans – ancient texts prove it 😀

  38. Shall we, your readers, share our coffee house stories? I met a friend for coffee over at It’s A Grind. We hardly ever get to do this and we were both looking forward to it. As we were getting our coffees and greeting each other as girls do, hugging and saying ‘what a cool scarf’ , a little girl pulled the fire alarm while standing on the back of a sofa. So the place emptied out because the fire station a mile away could have heard the alarm!!! My friend had arrived early and she told me the little girl kept reaching for the alarm and the parents did nothing. Given 8 minutes of undisturbed effort she was finally successful. Her father sat on one side and her mother one the other and they made no attempt to curb her enthusiasm for the alarm. Mind boggling. Some parents don’t want to actually be bothered by having to parent. We took our coffees to some chairs at the other end of the shopping center and stayed 6 hours. Coffee with friends, does it get any better?

    • Wow, what a great story….im not sure why so many parents out there seem to be shrugging off the responsibility of truly raising their children, I realize that there are definitely a lot of children with special needs…but for all the children that are not; perhaps there are simply too many lazy parents

  39. An interesting debate.

    A few months ago I was in the restaurant of a four star hotel with my two daughters (4 and 2 years old). They were causing their usual havoc. Spilling glasses of water, drawing on the table cloth, dropping their food on the floor. A well dressed, middle aged couple entered the restaurant, took one look at us and told the waiter that they would not be dining after all.

    To be honest I couldn’t really blame them. Sometimes I don’t want to dine with us either.

  40. Greetings Kenneth–great topic here–and you are spot on when you say that there are all those varying beliefs around parenting and discipline and who is right-really? But I have always believed that if a ‘big’ person has to resort to physical violence then that person is the one out of control and not the ‘little’ person. Some would call these teachable moments–I thought that was our job as parents. I wrote a book about this stuff. Anyway and that said there has to be rules and consequences for choices made. Without boundaries there is just chaos and no one likes that-not even the ‘little’ persons–all the best–Jim

  41. Thank you for stopping by Kenneth. The parenting piece was thought provoking. Truth is…there are no quick and easy answers and just as many discarded owner’s manuals needing rewrites. Following the golden rule as it applies to everyone, at any age, works for me at least in theorgy. Application too if you are patient enough and persevere. Otherwise, carry a stick to break into pieces and then to draw in the sand with. I sometimes think to ask myself, “What would Jesus do? This is in response to the story of the condemned adultress. I know this is not a kid story, but it is sort of. I also remember how Jesus said, “Suffer the little ones to come unto me. Love with words while sparing the rod. Heal and serve with the hands. Tell stories and give object lessons maybe. Be gentle with yourself and others, because you will have lots of chances to get it right. 🙂 Lighten up and play. Calm them with read alouds, music and art. Teach kids how to work for the satifaction of the thing, not the promise of reward or bribe. Teach by example. Say I love you and mean it with actions. Share Gratitude and simple kindnesses. ~~~&~~~ But what do I know? I swim in deep waters and my kids are nearly grown. PS- Teens are in a whole other league. Be fair in the eyes of the child. Be willing to listen more and to talk less. Be willing to be taught by your kids and then thank them for it. Point out strengths. SMILE MORE.

  42. Great post. I think the grandpa is in a tough spot but I do think he needs to have a sit down with his daughter about what he is comfortable with in his house and what he is not, in terms of the behavior of the kids. I see my parents get uncomfortable sometimes when I can tell they don’t agree with how I am disciplining or not disciplining one of my 4 kids, but they will usually talk to me about it in a respectful way. The grandfather has every right to be frustrated and lay down some ground rules so he can live in his house without feeling like he is going to lose his mind (especially since he is doing them a huge favor). But 3 kids under the age of 7 is a handful (even if they are well behaved) and he is probably not used to this kind of chaos. Well, I’m glad they will be moving out soon, and then I hope that they will be able to appreciate each other more when everyone has their own space.

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