So after college and my grad program, I had grand ideas about jumping right into the publishing world and starting my career as an editorial assistant. Well, fate and the economy hates me/everybody and that didn’t happen. Also, Indianapolis has next to nothing in the publishing field unless I wanted to do textbooks or Christian stuff. Um… no and no. Thanks but no thanks. Pass. So I’ve spent the past six months of my life working at Books-A-Million (after a terrible few weeks working the night shift in an Amazon warehouse, but that’s a whole different story about the gateway to hell). I’ve learned a lot of things in my retail job. Some of them will help in my publishing or other book related career; some of them will help me to be a decent human being.
Today’s lesson from retail involves children, or should I say, banshees. Oh. My. Dear. Lord. How does a creature so small make such a terrible, shrieking sound at such volumes?! Yes, I’m talking about a child having a tantrum. Whether it’s over a book or toy that they want and a parent won’t get, or a sibling hit them, or they’re being dragged away from the train table, the tantrum is always the same. Children are the reason that I hate weekends in retail, although I did win a bet once for how many tantrums there would be in a Saturday after noon shift. The details were that it had to be for more than five minutes, and you had to be able to hear it from across the store. I bet on five. I won.
Parents, when you have a shrieking child in the store, let me confirm for you that everyone is judging you. Especially the staff. I wish I could say something to these morons that are raising children, but unfortunately, I’m forced to hold my tongue. Does nobody discipline their children anymore?! I’ve had parents who will just sit there and ignore a child as it wails at the top of its lungs for 10 minutes straight. One woman completely ignored her daughter as she kicked and screamed and knocked over books trying to get attention. Ignoring is not the way to treat a tantrum in public. Because while the parent is ignoring, the child is still get enormous amounts of attention from everyone else in the store. Everyone else is looking from the child to the parent wondering how and when the parent will shut the brat up. And so, the child gets the attention it wants, rewarding the tantrum, and the parent looks like a complete idiot.
When a child makes a scene in public, the very first thing you should do is take the child out of public. Drag it kicking and screaming to the bathroom or to the car so that you’re the only person that the tantrum is directed at. Then you use your other disciplinary measures. Counting to ten, grounding, scolding, ignoring, and/or spanking. My mother used to say that if I kept crying, she’d give me something to really cry about; and that would shut me up quick. The ignoring technique works with some children if they are in a controlled environment like your own home. Put the brat in time out and let it wail its head off where only you, the fine parent, have to suffer. But don’t let it wail in public. This is horrible parenting, everyone else within ear shot is definitely judging you, and some people–like myself–really hate you.
Parents these days just don’t do enough research on why their children act certain ways. Tantrums are ways that children communicate when their limited vocabularies fail. They don’t know how to tell you what they want or need, become frustrated, and because they haven’t developed social skills or any skills, it comes out as a wail. This is how tantrums start. However, they continue when a child learns that it can get what it wants from shrieking. When a parent gives in and buys the child the toy or let’s it have its way to shut it up, the parent is communicating to the child that this is a legitimate way to get something. Deal with tantrums in responsible ways at the time (just let it runs its course where only you have to suffer), and then when your child can actually think again, discuss the proper ways to ask for things. Teach them to use words and not screams. And for the love of all that is holy, take them away from other innocent people. Because you may love your child, but I certainly don’t. Don’t be passive in your child’s life, and don’t just react to get them to stop–that’s worse than being passive. Be the adult and start acting like one!
This rant brought to you by…corporal punishment!!! It’s not just for nuns anymore! So parents, feel free to lay a heavy hand on your child’s behind every once and a while to establish authority and punish bad behavior. (This blogger does not encourage or condone beating your children, using a belt or a paddle or anything other than your bare hand, and spanking should only be a rare form of punishment. Child abuse is not a joking matter and too many children grow up in households where parents or guardians beat the crap out of them. All I’m saying is that there’s a happy balance between not doing anything and abuse, and it’s called a stern spanking when it’s rightly deserved.)
Here’s a link to a news article that says pretty much the same thing as this post, but done much better. Hey, give me a break, I’m learning.http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/smack-in-the-middle-of-hysteria/2008/01/23/1201024992191.html
Oh and one last side-note: DON’T LET YOUR CHILDREN PULL THINGS OFF THE SHELVES AND THEN JUST LEAVE THEM ON THE FLOOR!!! Either teach your child to pick up and put it back where it belongs or at least give the pile to a sales associate who will gladly put it away. We get angry when you leave a mess on the floor!!!!!!!!!!!! *takes a deep breath* I just like my store to be clean and straight… Yes, I am a tad OCD.