Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Don't hit your brother! EAT ALL OF THE POPCORN! Don't hit your brother! EAT ALL OF THE POPCORN! Slap! Slap! Slap!

Once again, last night, a parent trudged his way up to the Quiet Zone with two kids, acknowledged aloud to the kids it was the Quiet Zone and sat down in two seats by the window near myself and a Twitter friend of mine (@LoudMouthSoup).

One kid sat on the dad's lap. The other kid bounced, and danced, and wiggled, and fidgeted, and sang, and ate popcorn, and sang, and whined, and kicked his brother, and jumped, and ate popcorn, and SLAPPED HIS FATHER (multiple times) and kicked his brother some more while dad kept saying, "If you don't shut up, we're going to be kicked off the train!" and "If you don't sit still, we're going to get in trouble!"

This was punctuated with SHHH! and BE QUIET! and WILL YOU STOP?! and SIT DOWN! and DON'T HIT YOUR BROTHER! and followed by the dad slapping the kid on the leg and the kid slapping his dad back.

It was the slapping part that really threw myself and my Twitter friend. It's not something you see these days - a parent slapping a child, and so openly. I was also disturbed by the how the kid violently kicked his brother and also slapped his dad. As a kid, we were slapped but we never, EVER, slapped back. I wouldn't dare...

As a result, I don't slap my daughter as punishment. I didn't like it myself as a kid and so I don't do it to my child.

Today, I feel like I should have said something. Watching a kid and a parent get physical is just disturbing and also, I don't feel myself and other passengers should have been subjected to it.



Nora1968 said...

Cindy, there are going to be plenty of comments that say you should do what you did - mind your own business. This will not be one of them.

I am 100% against slapping, hitting, or screaming at kids as a form of punishment or "parenting". Like you, I was on the receiving end in my childhood and as a result, have never done this with my son.

There are lots of unknowns here. Perhaps the kid who was causing all the fuss has developmental or personality issues and is less able to control his behavior - the fact of this kid slapping his father back leads me in that direction. To me, that doesn't justify slapping him as a response (and in my experience NEVER does this elicit the desired end of the behavior anyway) and in fact makes the father's actions worse. Telling the kid to "shut up" or they'll "be kicked off the train" was a classy touch too.

What I can't understand is why this idiot (father) even bothered to TRY to sit in the QZ, or - having tried - didn't haul both kids out of there and move elsewhere when it became clear that it wasn't working out. I am no fan of the QZ as you know, but I do agree that, since the policy exists, this kind of interruption and distraction would be on the list of what passengers sitting there would be seeking to avoid. So I think that any of you would have been well within your rights to at least gently point out that you know HE knows it's the Quiet Zone, that his family was clearly not in a position to comply with that, and ask him to move to another part of the car.

Of course, it would be understandable that someone might not be keen to take on a father who is increasingly pissed off at his unruly kid(s) and probably as desperate to get off the train as everyone was to see him leave....but at some point, I believe that everything about this situation needed addressing - particularly if I felt the slapping of this child was getting out of hand.

And if I'd been there, I can assure I would have been just the one to do it - been there and done that .

Squiggles said...

It is a hard one. It is disturbing that the kid is violent. Something is going on in the house for the kid to do that to the parent. Plus, in thisday and age, most sane people don't physically punish their kids in public.

When I was little, the corporal punishment (aka spankings) were always done at home and only in extreme instances.

I did say something once, when confronted as to why people were giving a Baby Momma "The Look" because her kid was acting up. The kid is question was kicking and biting the mother. And the mother couldn't care less.

C.J. Smith said...

I should have mentioned that eventually, after Pickering, the dad did move the kids to the lower level. He also apologized to the commuters around our quad for the bad behaviour.

I am kicking myself for not saying something.

Also, I did not get the impression that the boy sitting next to me, the one who was slapping his dad had any mental or development delayment. The kid was tired and cranky.

MATT said...

I was spanked/hit as a kid; I didn't like it either. Why didn't I like it? Because it was absolutely effective in making me stop doing what lead to the punishment.

I have no objection to people disciplining their children in public, and while this father trying to control his children may have been mildly uncomfortable to some, I respectfully disagree that other people are witnessing anything problematic. The alternative is that you might instead be "subjected" to the perpetual bad behavior of the unruly child. You can't please everyone.

If I have to choose between allowing a child to misbehave in public, and disciplining a child in public, I'm not embarrassed to go with (or witness) the latter. Too many people are afraid of what others think to address misbehaving children in public.

I haven't spanked my children in public that I can recall, but I wouldn't be afraid to either.

LoudMouthSoup said...

MATT - I'm LoudMouthSoup. I'm the other witness. This was an exchange of hard slaps, well beyond anything you might consider a punishment. The lack of command in the father's voice when telling the kids to stop showed he did not consider this a last resort but something that was okay to do at any time.

Anonymous said...

Slapping a child is not cool. We should ALWAYS speak up when we see this.

Anonymous said...

Yes C.J., you're a doctor and can diagnose everything that may be wrong with someone's annoying little brat. There are so many diagnosable disorders now, it's stupid.

That being said, it isn't okay to publicly abuse your kid. That being said, these brats need to know how to act in public, and they need to understand consequences, social disorders or not.

There should be no such thing as a quiet zone. The whole train should be considered a "treat others how you want to be treated" zone. No music without headphones, all conversations at a reasonable level, don't talk about anything you couldn't talk to your mother about, ...

C.J. Smith said...

Where did I say I could diagnose or that I'm a doctor?
I was raised with a sister with developmental, mental and behavioral disorders and delayment.
My own daughter has Autism Spectrum Disorder.

This kid was tired. He wasn't special needs. I don't need to be an expert to tell you that.

Nora1968 said...

I rarely agree with anything posted by someone named "Anonymous" but "Anonymous 9:57 pm" gets full applause from me - for everything except the unnecessary and snarky comment about Cindy. The common sense, treat as you want to be treated mentality that doesn't require an actual ZONE to occur is what I've been saying all along should be happening.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Well, if they all got kicked off the train then the dad could've yelled out "I told you so!" as they exited the Quiet Zone.

Anonymous said...

Now more than ever it seems necessary for parents to get a handle on their kids. They pacify them with electronic babysitting gizmo's and let the public have to endure the brats when they get nuts. When I grew up it only took getting hit once to know you'd better STOP whatever it is you were doing (i.e. misbehaving).
We learned a helluva lot quicker.
Parents should do us all a favour. Pay attention.

Anonymous said...

@Nora1968: The comment came off as snarky because I knew C.J. was going to use the "I've got relatives and a daughter that have autism" line. I took issue to her comment that she "did not get the impression" that the kid may have some sort of social or other disorder.

Well, I'll play the card too. I've got a relative who is diagnosed in the Autistic spectrum, but hasn't gotten a full diagnosis yet. I couldn't tell you why he isn't fully diagnosed.

He's a good kid, but can be hard to deal with if he gets tired, hungry (he is always hungry), frustrated, has to put effort into something, or doesn't get his way or feels he isn't being heard. His reactions to different things and events seem completely illogical to me. If I'm around him when he acts out or has a meltdown, I have to remember that he is young, and he is dealing with some pretty serious anxiety issues.

A lot of times you can't tell by just looking at someone.

C.J. Smith said...

The kid was a brat. Not every kid needs something wrong with them to be poorly behaved.

The kid made eye contact. He expressed himself well. He just was tired and cranky and it showed. Plus, bad parenting.

I refuse to go through life thinking every kid who misbehaves can't be thought of being bad because I'm supposed to be mindful the kid as ADHD, or pick an acronym.

My daughter behaves herself in public. My sister does not.

I don't care to argue this further. Why can't I say in my opinion the kid wasn't autistic? He made eye contact with me several times which is more than I can say for most autistic kids, including my own.