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"Murphy was an optimist!"

I disciplined your children October 17, 2007 10:25 am

Posted by Doug McCaughan in : Daily Life, Of Being Dad, Touchy Subjects
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It takes a village right? Of course, now-a-days, people seem afraid to address other people’s children, particularly if you are a man. Wonder why that is!

Sarah performs with wingsLast night we were watching Sarah perform at Bearden High School along with several other bands. It was a great show! But at one point I snapped. I watched 3 younger boys, 11 or 12ish, tossing an empty 20 ounce beverage container back and forth like a football. They pause and one of the boys rips the label off, tearing it into 3 pieces in the process, and threw them to the ground. I spoke instantly and instinctively. "Gentleman! I need you to pick up this trash and throw it away." The guilty boy responded, "Oh that just fell off." I had to continue firmly, "Now you are lying to me. I saw you tear it off. Pick up the trash and put it in that trash can over there." They did and I am sure they had some words for me or perhaps gestures when my back turned. I saw them playing later and made a point of kindly thanking them for doing the right thing, "Thanks for throwing the trash away. I really appreciate that." I received a polite response, "No problem."

Should I have ignored it? I don’t think so. In bygone times, it would have been expected and appreciated. I am not sure what parents think or expect today. Maybe those boys will think the next time they or someone with them litters or thinks about vandalism; maybe it will make all the difference. I hope that when my children step out of line, someone steers them back onto the right path.

Post narration:

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Update: Be sure to read Barry’s post on Disciplining Other Children! I like that Barry reminds us to let the child’s parent do the disciplining if the parent is nearby.

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1. Missyb64 - October 17, 2007

My sister and I were just talking about this on Sunday. Back in the day every grown up never hesitated to take us to task if we were acting up, and then they’d let our parents know about our misbehavior. My parents not only didn’t get upset, they’d give us a whacking for good measure, and there was no court of appeals or anything to get us off the hook. Today, however, so many people act like you have insulted them and their parenting when you point out their children’s errors to either them or their kids. Since when did parents start that? If I were a parent I would hope that if someone saw my little darlings doing something wrong or dangerous that they’d speak up. Please don’t let me find out about it after it’s too late to stop it, only because you are afraid I’ll get angry with you. I won’t, because I think it takes a village to raise kids, a big village. Be part of mine.

2. Barry - October 17, 2007

I’ve commented on this here:


3. Barry - October 17, 2007

Doug – when I listen to your streamofconsciousnesspodcast, I feel like I’m listening to Fresh Air on NPR 🙂

4. Doug McCaughan - October 17, 2007

I need background music!

5. K. - October 17, 2007

I’ll yell at your kids if you yell at mine. LOL!

I totally agree. Kids need it. Back when we were kids we had respect. In the form of fear? Maybe. But look what’s lacking in today’s generations and how they act.

I’m glad you followed up with a thank you – lets them know it wasn’t just an adult bossing them around, yet encouraged better behavior in the future.

You’re a good egg, Doug.

6. JayMonster - October 18, 2007

Oh, I so agree with this, but I also have the “joy” of dealing with some parents that do not “appreciate” the same values, and have been in earshot in a similar situation. I have also heard it from my wife that I am “sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong” and that I have “no right” to exert such instructions on another person’s child.

I think I will just e-mail her this (and Barry’s) posts.

7. Barry - October 18, 2007

It’s a thin line to walk sometimes with other parents – you have to play it by ear and work within the situation. If one of the parents is a known hothead, it might actually exacerbate the situation to reprimand the child. In that case the best thing to do might simply be to remove your own child from the situation. Regardless what else is going on, protecting your own child is the first priority. Building a brighter tomorrow is still second…

8. Reality Me » What do you think of the audio narrations? - October 22, 2007

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