Behavioral disorders and little brats
There have been some photo quotes on Facebook lately that have generated quiet “amens” from me.
One of them read: “Discipline your children now so a prison guard won’t have to do it later.”
Another stated: “If you have children, remember this: When you finish with them, the rest of the world has to live with them so please teach them respect.”
Then there was the one which read: “When I was a kid they didn’t call it ‘behavioral disorders.’ They called it ‘being a little brat.’”
I have not yet fallen all the way into the abyss of curmudgeonhood so let me assure you that I believe many of today’s parents are doing a good job of parenting. Let me also assure you that I don’t equate discipline with what some folks call “whoopins.” Most every little hiney needs a reminder from time-to-time but too many parents over the years have abused their children with angry beatings.
The bottom line is that children need to be corrected when they misbehave. Some kids need only a verbal reminder; others need to be dealt with more firmly. To fail to properly correct children at the appropriate time is to cheat them ? and the people who have to live and deal with them ? a peaceful life.
Case in point: the kid who throws a conniption fit in the store because Mommy or Daddy won’t buy a toy they want and the parent fails to deal with it immediately and appropriately. The parents who give in set themselves up for another shakedown on their next visit to the store.
My five siblings and I all had our moments of fit throwing, sassing back, aggravating other siblings and general “bratiness.” Our nastiness, however, did not go unpunished.
To say that our parents were disciplinarians is to make an understatement. Dad was of the old school of hollering and spanking. Mom could articulate (and activate) her displeasure very well, but her discipline style was more strategic.
After supper Dad usually retreated to the living room to read the newspaper. If we boys began fighting or arguing he would issue a series of warnings.
First he would say, “Boys, settle down.”
The next time his voice grew louder: “Boys, I told you to settle down. Now!”
The third warning was stronger. Dad’s anger rolled his four sons’ names together. “Arvidgeralddavidpaul… I said stop it now.”
Dad was comfortable in his rocking chair, I assume, and didn’t want get up to deal with us. He gave us a fourth warning and when we heard it we knew it was time to straighten up. That warning came in Low German: “Pos op, jungen; ik will hauen du op morse.” Loosely translated: “Watch out, boys; I’ll spank your butt.”
If our misbehavior continued Dad would, indeed, spank our butts.
Dad was a strong disciplinarian in the car, too. I have always maintained he was the best one-armed driver in the state. Oh, Dad had two good arms but his right arm was usually stretched out over the back of the front sit so he could quickly administer discipline to one (or more) of his unruly boys in the back seat.
Dad’s long arms came in handy in church, too. He frequently sat with both arms stretched out on the back of the pew and behind two sons on each side. A quick flick of his index finger against an erring head kept us in line.
Our mother grew up with 11 siblings in an impoverished home led by a strict but loving German immigrant father. She was a savvy disciplinarian whose style was different than our father’s but just as effective; maybe more so. She demanded respect and usually got it… sooner or later.
I think I can safely speak for all my siblings when I say, “Thank you, Mom and Dad, for caring enough about us to not allow us to get by being brats.”
Psychologist Dr. Louise Hart summed it up this way: “If we don’t shape our kids, they will be shaped by outside forces that don’t care what shape our kids are in.”
(©2015 by Huisman Communications.)