Parents Doing it Right

“Kids are spoilt these days,”

This seems to be a very common statement from many people. When I am in the supermarket doing my shopping, or just browsing around the mall and see some kids throwing insane tantrums, I fume inside. I have seen a child throw a tantrum over some chippings in the flour section that even I did not know what it was for…I knew for sure they were not edible. He stomped his feet, wailed, started punching the mom on the thighs…because that was the highest he could reach and the mom bought the funny looking thing to stop him from ‘causing a scene.’

I thought I didn’t get it because I am not a mother. When I was a child, my dad had a ‘look’. Sometimes all he had to do was call out your name and give you the look, and you would walk away from whatever ‘crazy’ you thought you wanted. Nowadays it seems like every trip to a public place will involve some child throwing a tantrum, and the parent following it up with an action I think encourages it. I have gotten to a point where I avoid parties that involve people coming with their children because I know there is a possibility some child will do something that gets on my nerves. It is a bit petty and pretty sad, I know.

When I hear stories of parents that take the necessary measures to ensure their children are more disciplined in this regard, I feel a glow inside. So when one of us shared an experience she had at the supermarket recently, the glow was lit and shining bright within me.

There was a father with three children roughly between ages 3–6. He was at the till preparing to pay for the various things on their trolley when it hit him that he did not have enough money. After removing all the money he had in his pockets-and this involved a thorough check-he put aside 3 yoghurts, a pack of queen cakes and 3 packets of flavoured milk. He turned to his children and told them they won’t be able to get those things this time round. All the kids did was nod, and life was alright. He paid for the other things, and together they headed out. No tantrums or sulking involved. Can you imagine that?

I know there are probably people who can imagine it…I can’t. I felt like if it was possible to find these kids and reward them that would be my goal. These were clearly their treats, and they had been willing to leave them behind, no problem. As kids we rarely understand our parents…I know I didn’t. Not often anyway. For these kids to be able to be this understanding at such a tender age is definitely worth rewarding. I am now on the lookout for a father with 3 children at the supermarket.

We all agreed that when it comes to discipline, the buck starts and stops with the parents. These parents must be doing something right. Looking back, if this had happened to me when I was a kid, I may not have thrown a tantrum because all my dad had to do was give me the look, but the pout would have stayed in place for the longest time and I would somehow start pulling off the silent treatment because that was the only form of defiance I could afford. I would definitely not be smiling at a stranger at the next aisle.

I told my friends of the day my dad sat us all down, each of us with our school fee structures and we all added up how much money we needed from him for school fees. He then proceeded to show us his payslip. I was in high school so I was definitely not a child. The money we needed was way more than what he was earning, and there was a feeling of remorse and sadness…for a while. But somehow this did not stop us from wanting new dresses as we had been accustomed to, or asking for more pocket money when it was time to head back to boarding school. We just never really understood how much of a sacrifice he had to go through to give us all these things as I mentioned here. Being a grown up helped me see all this. That…and having to spend my own money and make my own sacrifices.

The last time I hosted my niece and nephew for Christmas holidays, I called my dad a week in to thank him for all he did for us. I was already feeling the strain and I was just a week in! We had three more weeks to go. When he ‘hosted’ us, we never got to see the struggles he went through to make sure we had everything. If he had kept a blog then, we would have had a better idea. Someday my niece and nephew are going to stumble upon this blog piece and read it. Then they will understand that not only is their mother going through various sacrifices for them too…but so am I.

So here is to all parents who make hanging out with their children a bit more bearable for me and others like me.

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