I came across this funny (and true) meme from NickMom today on Facebook. However a parent wrote something interesting in the comments.
"People need to get ahold of their kids. I never had this problem. Does no one discipline anymore?"
The comments in response to her weren't very nice. Things were said such as "LOL every GOOD mother has this problem" and "Not all moms throw their kids to the side to have their 'own' time!"
I think since a toddler isn't old enough to bathe by himself and I'm always in the room when he bathes, I certainly don't expect him to understand he isn't allowed to come into the bathroom when I'm bathing.
Mostly, the reason this comment bothered me is because parents that yell at and discipline their kids when they haven't actually done anything wrong drive me crazy.
For example, I will never forget several years ago when I went swimming with a relative. All of our kids were playing in the kiddie pool. A few of them were getting in and out of the pool (mine included). But my relative kept yelling at her kids for getting in and out. I couldn't understand why two kids stepping up and down six inches of wall made her so irritated. It got to the point that she threatened to remove them from the pool entirely. She was so busy yelling at them "for being kids" that she ruined their family time at the pool.
Or there's the time that my one year old threw a tantrum because she was tired. It was a minor tantrum that ended quickly because I knew what she really needed. A nap. But that didn't stop another relative from suggesting that I "give her a good smack on the behind." But he didn't stop there. He went on to explain to me that he started spanking his kids as infants.
There's also the time I went to dinner with relatives. One of the kids with us was a four year old boy. The restaurant we went to wasn't the kind with crayons and pages to color, so he got quite bored while we were waiting for the food. Like any normal little boy he started to get antsy. He tried climbing out of his booster chair and was talking a little loud. One relative started complaining about how "he was so out of control" and "was ruining everyone's experience." Never mind that no one else at the dinner complained about him at all. As soon as the food came, he settled down and was fine.
The next incident actually didn't involve any relatives. I was in the store and this woman was trying to look at some makeup in the cosmetics section. Her son sitting in the cart who was around 3 years old kept trying to talk to her. Not back talk. Just talk. She told him to "shut up" a couple times. On the third time she threatened to smack him if he didn't "shut his damn mouth." Being a kid, he was quiet for a few seconds, but no sooner than he had said "Mom" she smacked him on the hand so hard it left a red mark. The ironic thing was that his crying was far louder than his talking!
My point is this. The best parenting advice I ever got was "let the punishment fit the crime." Maybe you feel differently about the situations I gave. I personally don't feel any crime was committed.
Parents that over-discipline and nitpick about everything often have kids that become afraid to do anything because they are constantly getting yelled at or criticized. These kids also have problems with understanding what the rules are, because they don't know a rule has been broken until they're already being yelled at. I find some parents that do this also give extreme punishments for minor offenses.
Actually any parent can do these things. I've certainly been guilty of doing all of them when I am stressed out, tired, and frustrated. Here are some other parents' views and tips on "letting the punishment fit the crime."
Let the Punishment Fit the Crime
Is Humiliating Your Child Ever the Right Thing to Do?
Parenting Tip of the Day #9
How Parents Can Make Their Child's Punishment Fit the "Crime"