A little girl was at the playground with a little bowl full of cheez-its. It was one of those snack bowls with a lid on. She kept teasing other kids, extending it to them, and when they’d give her any attention, she’d say “My cheez-its,” and run away. I didn’t really like her attitude, but I just sat and watched. The mom was busy, talking to another mother. And the little girl kept going. Until her little brother saw her.
The look on that little boy’s face was of someone who had just witnessed his puppy being run over by a truck. It was devastating. I didn’t know if I felt bad for him, or happy that the girl got caught. I opted for just trying to keep a straight face, of course. The little boy grabbed his own hair and yelled, “Hey! Those are my cheez-its!” And that’s when the mom saw them.
I couldn’t hear the exchange between mom and children, but I saw the girl staying on the bench with the mother while the boy walked away, happily snacking on his crackers. Next thing I heard was the girl crying to top of her lungs and screaming “But I want them! I want them now!” Her crying was so fake it was annoying. Seriously, I have tons of patience with kids, but that fake-crying act was just plain irritating. But I was proud of her mom, for sticking to it. For not making the boy give the snack back to his sister.
Then, all of a sudden, the screaming stopped. I looked right away, afraid it was because someone got tired of her tantrum and shot her dead. But no, what made her stop was the snack the mom was handing to her. Not cheez-its, though, and for that I’m proud of that mother.
It’s so hard to see parents disciplining their children in public places. Most of them seem ashamed for their children’s tantrums, when they shouldn’t. Children will test you. All the time. And they learn pretty fast that it’s easier to get their way when others are around, because they know mom and dad will do anything to avoid a scene. But why? Why are we so afraid to discipline our children in front of others? Are we afraid of being judged? Why are we suddenly insecure about our parenting when we were the ones who decided what was best for our children in the first place?
Kudos to the parents who let their children throw tantrums and don’t give in. It’s hard. But in the long run, it’s totally worth it.