The other day I wandered into Target to pick up a few things for my home. I came across a guy wearing a Derek Jeter tee shirt named Jimmy. Jimmy was walking and whining, and walking and whining. And for some reason, he seemed to be everywhere in the store that I was. Jeesh. The whining soon became crying, and then I heard his mama say, "That's enough, Jimmy. Your daddy would be so ashamed of you." Well, that had only one effect...escalated the behavior. You see, Spot? Mom was already feeding into it. Jimmy didn't care about his dad's shame. His dad was nowhere in sight. He just wanted to get his mother's attention. Now he had her. He was bawling, walking along following her, on occasion hitting her too, and moaning at the top of his lungs. Apparently, he wanted some ball that he'd found as they moved around in the store.
Next, I hear her say, "Look, Jimmy...forget the ball, how 'bout some Woody sheets for the bed?"
Way to go, Mom. Bargaining. Bargaining is the worst strategy of all. Because now? He has an opportunity to make a decision...so, of course, he's holding the power. I moved out of the sheets and towels and tried to get on with my shopping. Over in the seasonal aisle, I can hear Jimmy screaming at his mother, "Don't you dare put another thing in that cart! If I can't have my ball, you can't have anything either!" I'm starting to scream now too...but of course, only inside my head. Mom's response, "I have the money, so I can have whatever I want. I'm the mommy you know."
Jeesh. The MOMMY. I wanted to ask Jimmy what he thought Derek Jeter might think about his behavior. But most of all, I wanted to tell the MOMMY to just have the guts to take a stand. She had no stratagies for dealing with Jimmy and really no clue about parenting at all.
Seeing kids who would be otherwise under control in the classroom out living in the wild is a scary thing sometimes, Spot. I remember having a wild child or two of my own. But taming that wild child will make him a whole lot happier. What happened to the simple approach, "The answer is NO." Followed by a systematic ignoring of behavior that is not only inappropriate, but harmful to Jimmy's future well-being. Jimmy's a walking bag of misery and a future work in progress for that poor teacher who will be responsible for him in the fall.
Boy did I love walking away though, Spot, getting back to my shopping and remembering the best thing about my job. Yup...summer! If I could fill my cart with summer, I'd never need anything else at all! (Hope you're having fun too, Spot! You're such a good little dog!)