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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Friday
Aug262011

A New Form of Birth Control!

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Last weekend I was wandering through Target looking for placemats. I’m still not completely familiar with the layout of “my” new Target here in Charlotte, so ended up doing a full lap of the store before I found where they kept them (for the record, NOT in linens, but in housewares). Wherever I went in the store, I could hear this little boy, probably about two years old, doing what two year olds do best: throwing a tantrum. And I mean  a tantrum of monumental proportions. It was something about a ball momma clearly was not going to buy him.

I was heading towards the cash wrap when I got about an aisle or so away from the pair. From the sound of things, momma was about to lose her cool and you could tell she was cutting the trip short because of her mean little kid. And yes, that child was mean. So I’m walking and I mutter a comment under my breath that I've often heard my Dad use in similar situations, “Why don’t you just smack that kid and really give him something to cry about.” 

A footfall later a woman walks right up beside me and pleasantly says, “The perfect form of birth control, no?” I had no idea anyone was nearby and she startled me. Flustered, I said “You didn’t just hear what I said, did you?” She laughed and said she hadn’t, but had heard me mutter and was certain it was about the child. We laughed and parted ways.

I went through the busy line, momma and the screaming child a register or two over. I paid for my purchases and stopped to pull the sticky tag off the sunglasses I had just bought so I could wear them. This process took longer than I expected and as I was finishing up, momma and Evil Child finally made it through the cash wrap. Momma was pissed. And I’m sure embarrassed. The kid started to run from her, screaming at her because now it was crystal clear he wasn’t going to get the ball he wanted. I heard momma say, “Why would you even think I’d buy you anything after all this?” Not that the child was in any way capable of grasping the concept of that question, but I had to give her private mental kudos for not placating the brat.

So now I’m standing there and the kid runs and ends up right at my feet. I’m standing there looking at the kid with an expression of what I’m sure would be the same if a miniature albino rhinoceros had presented itself. He gave a screech of what sounded like, “Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall! I can’t go without my baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall!'”

I said, in a loud sort of whisper, “HEY KID!” and he whipped his head up and looked at me.  I continued, glaring at him “You’re not getting the ball. Give your mom a break.” For about 3 heartbeats he had stopped crying and just stared at me. I raised my eyebrows at him in a way that mocked his little tantrum. And he knew it.

He turned his head and was immediately back in tantrum mode. He screamed and fussed his way all the way out into the parking lot, shooting me sideways glances as I walked to my car. Momma got a hold of his arm and yanked him towards their car, her other arm pushing a cart full o’ Target crap. He broke loose and ran. It was Saturday. There were cars everywhere. Momma screamed, abandoned the cart, grabbed the kid and whacked him several good ones on the bum, now having her own tantrum about safety and looking both ways and cars and all that.

Evil Child was too young to understand any of this beyond the fact that he’d gone too far and really pissed momma off. Scared the shit out of her is what he did. Momma finally followed my earlier advice about really giving the child something to cry about. 

In my mind, I see no issues whatsoever with corporal punishment. I was whacked as a kid. In fact, in what I see now as sick twist on the part of my parents, we would always get those plywood paddleballs  in our Christmas stockings. Well, guess what became of those paddles when the rubber band broke, as it always did about 5 seconds after you started playing with it? That’s right, they became the weapon of choice for misbehaving children. Skinny plywood sails through the air and it stings.

One time, and it only took one time, I misbehaved at my grandparents house. My grandmother made me go out and pick my own switch. Ever heard of that? It means you go out and choose the very instrument that you are about to be beat with. Pick a branch (generally switches are chosen from sapling trees – bendable green branches) that’s too thick and it might not sting as much, but you’ll get more whacks. Pick a skinny one and it’s going to sting like a motherfucker, but you’ll get fewer. Decisions, decisions.

People today might say that’s cruel. I don’t think so. It puts your stupid-ass child-brain through a series of very clear action/reaction/consequence type scenarios. That thing I did at my grandma’s house? Yeah, never ever did that again. And I didn’t hate her. Or grow up trying to kick asses on the playground. If anything, it made me respect my elders and taught me how to behave. And grandma didn’t tell my parents what I’d done, which was super-cool because I might have had a double-dose of punishment if she had.

I’m not exactly sure of my point here but I’ve come away with two very distinct thoughts:

1. Momma should have whacked that kid WAY earlier than the parking lot.

2. That other lady in the Target was correct. A most excellent form of birth control.

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Reader Comments (13)

Funny post. I'm not one for corporal punishment, but you're definitely right, other people's kids are the best form of birth control... ever.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersparrowgrey

You couldn't be more right about the birth control!

I'm with you, Louise. My parents used those paddles and switches. Matter of fact, my mom beat the shit out of me with a phone book once. I do feel that I got far too many spankings as a child and not enough alternative punishments, bu maybe I'm just that hard-headed :P I do feel like in today's social climate, parents are less likely to spank in public for fear of retaliation by onlookers.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLittle Spoon

I agree, Natosha. Beating and abusing a child is not corporal punishment. There is a difference and I don't consider physical punishment a bad thing. I saw a news report just this month where an all-boys private school banned their corporal punishment that had been a part of the school's curriculum for a long time. Guess what? THE STUDENTS over-ruled the ban and voted it back into practice! They believed that the imminent threat of the corporal punishment was a fair practice and one that worked. Go figure.

When I was in kindergarten or first grade (can't recall) my school still paddled. If you got one, you got it from the principal in front of the class. Let me tell you, the thought of that alone kept me in line fo sho.

August 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterLouise

I agree. A good spanking is sometimes necessary. While its ideal to think you can just "talk" with a child - i don't think that starts to make sense to them until they reach a certain age. When i was growing up, the mere threat of a spanking was enough to get us quiet, and i don't recall ever getting spanked more than twice.

Now that we're pregnant, i notice how parents react as well as when a child misbehaves. I'm one of those who clearly stare and roll my eyes at a "evil child" LOL but i'm trying to see what reactions/techniques work best by the parents. Seeing an "evil child" always made us think "THANK GOD we don't have one of THOSE!"

But now that one's on the way, we are blindly hopeful that our child won't be one of "THOSE"... HA, yea right, you know we're screwed!~ LOL

Happy Weekend! :)

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmyJean

What happens when you see adorable, well-behaved kids:)

It isn't that some spanking is awful, but there are many other effective ways to guide children into good behavior. Yes, I know, that sounds preachy. Don't mean it that way - but it is true. Not spanking takes a bit more thought and consistency, with predictable consequences for misbehavior. When a kid learns that tantrums don't result in desired results, tantrums - for the most part - end. But what if tantrums sometime work? Kid keeps trying. Might work this time.

Mother began the paddle tradition:)

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterflo

Can you believe this? I don't rmember you ever having a tantrum! Your brother tried it a time or two. Perhaps he let you know it wouldn't work... :)

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMom

@AmyJean and @Flo - These are good points and I think that's where most parents/humans fall short is in that consistency. Sometimes you're just too tired or whatever to deal with a child's behavior. If you're not consistent, then you're screwed. Growing up, much like you Flo, the mere threat of a spanking made us hop to. Or even when Mom would take the paddle out and wave it around, we'd scatter and stop acting out.

And for the record, when I do see well-behaved children and hard-working parents, I do compliment them! In fact, I remember specifically sending a girlfriend an email telling her how much I appreciated how her and her husband handled their cranky 2-year old at a brunch we were at together! I was amazed at the skill and patience!

August 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterLouise

Kudos to you for 1. Saying something to the kid. 2. Relating it online.

Living in California gets me some really nasty looks when I use spankings to discipline my son. It's usually a last resort, but I think he might have thrown 1 tantrum ever, and I quickly put a stop to it. My parents had all kinds of things they used for spankings, although picking my switch was one of the most memorable. I stood out there for over 20 minutes trying to pick the one that would hurt the least. Now that my son is 7 the number of spankings as lessened dramatically, and we can have conversations to stop misbehavior, but he knows the spankings are still there if he doesn't listen.

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrynn

@Mom - I think you have me mistaken for some well-behaved neighbor kid.

August 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterLouise

It's not until you have kids that you can ignore the child and think to give the Mom a look that says, It's gonna be okay. Been in "Ball Lady's" court way too many times :(

abby

August 26, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterabby

Darn, did my last longish comment not save? I just gotta say wow and hope that I don't end up like ball lady some day. Children can help us develop new pockets of love as well as new pockets of patience.

xoxo,
Chic 'n Cheap Living

August 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChic 'n Cheap Living

The thing about corporal punishment is that when the wrong people use it, it too quickly crosses the line into abuse --taking out their own rage and anger on a little person. I think THAT fact is what makes corporal punishment kind of squicky and weird to talk about these days -- we know and talk about physical abuse now, whereas with previous generations it was kind of swept under the rug. That being said, I was spanked as a child and I have no problems with it. My parents had a great system when I was very young where if a series of two or three warnings weren't working, they'd pull me aside and give me a few smacks on the bum. When you're a toddler, you're kind of a little dictator -- you think the world revolves around you and you have absolutely no sense of reason or rationale. But when I got smacked, my parents' message came across loud and clear and it always shocked me into stopping what I was doing immediately. As I got older and learned about reasoning and cause and effect, my parents' punishment methods switched from spankings to taking things away, or going to bed early, or groundings. I like this system and, like you said above, it never made me hate my parents or feel unloved. If I ever have kids I'd probably use something similar, although I'm going to be very nervous about retaliation if I ever spank my kid in public.

Kids get smart, though. This brought to mind a story my dad mentioned once -- by the time I was two and I knew did something wrong, before my parents could even react I'd turn tail and run to my bedroom with my hands covering my butt, shouting down the hall for good measure, I LOVE YOU DADDYYYYY!

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlyn

@Lyn - Love this answer. My brother and I would run from my mom when she whipped out the paddle and tried to threaten us with it when we were like, teenagers. We clearly weren't as smart as you were when we were toddlers.

September 7, 2011 | Registered CommenterLouise

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