I watched a facebook video of a young mother trying to vindicate her discipline choice, which she had posted on facebook last weekend, never expecting it to go viral. The gist of her story is she took her three children to Dairy Queen for ice cream after a day of activities. Her kids grabbed the cones from the server and ran out of the door. She went outside and took their ice cream cones and threw them in the trash, because her children failed to thank the server or her for the ice cream.
Fox news picked up this mother’s story and her parenting has come under attack. Here’s a bit from a PJ Media article, “Mom Brags on Facebook About Dumping Kids’ Ice Cream. Was She Wrong?”:
“Sullivan dubbed herself in her post as the meanest mom ever—perhaps Mommy Dearest. Her adult children will someday let her know if the title fits or if she’s just overly dramatic.”
The article goes on to lecture about good parenting and point out why this mother’s public discipline was akin to abuse. “Mommy Dearest” really… The mother posted a follow-up video to defend herself, describing her day with her children, while her husband was out of town: trip to a coffee shop in the morning, shopping for a birthday present, a birthday party, to a child’s soccer game, then swimming at a friend’s house, followed by eating dinner out with friends capped off by this ice cream stop. Sure seems like too many activities for young kids aged, 8, 7 , and 5. Be that as it may, posting about her discipline on facebook was probably more of a mistake than throwing her kids ice cream cones in the trash and having her parenting judged based on one facebook post.
Having gone through parenting challenges, here’s a lesson in judging parenting from long ago, that shows it’s best not to judge. Our youngest daughter, now in her late 20s, lied a lot as child – yes, that is the truth, she did. She was also very spoiled, being the baby of the family, and of course, she was adorable and knew how to charm people from an early age, which led to her being an expert at getting her own way.
One evening when she was around 10 years old (give or take a year), she had a friend in our home with her and she asked if she could spend the night at that girl’s house. I asked the girl if her mother had approved of having my daughter spend the night. She assured me that her mother said it was okay, so off they went on their bikes to the top of our street and then left down another street to that girl’s house.
My husband was still on active duty in the Army and he got up very early to go to work for PT (physical training) and then a couple hours later he came home to get a shower and get changed into his work uniform. I used to get up and make coffee and talk to him before he left for PT and then talk to him before he left for work.
Just a couple minutes after my husband left for PT, there was knocking on the back door of our house. It was my daughter returning from her sleepover and when I didn’t buy the first lies she told, finally she admitted that her friend had never asked her mother about having the sleep over. My daughter said her friend helped her sneak into their house and told her to sleep in the hall closet. Her friend woke her up early and told her to go home, before her mother found out my daughter was in there. I lectured her, but wasn’t sure how I wanted to punish her, so I fell back on that, “Wait til your father gets home!” line and then I sent her to room.
When my husband returned from PT, he started ranting about, “What kind of parents would let their kid out riding a bike so early in the morning?” He went on and on about some kid flying down the street on a bike, with no headlight on the bike, as he headed to PT. Finally, I couldn’t contain my laughter any longer and I said, “That would be parents like us!” The dismayed look on his face was priceless. So, I told him about her sleep over in the closet. I don’t even remember if we grounded her, I just remember laughing so hard at my husband’s sputtering indignation about “what kind of parents would let a young kid ride a bike so early in the morning”.
Another time she was in third grade and I used to do volunteer work at the Red Cross handling Red Cross messages. I went on post to the Red Cross after our 4 kids went to school. My husband was at home that day for a training holiday. Around noon my husband called me and asked me if I knew where our youngest daughter was. I was confused, because I had sent her off to the bus stop in the morning. My husband informed me that the father of this same girl from the sleep over incident had just brought our daughter home. He caught his daughter and our daughter playing in the woods behind his house. He told my husband that his dogs kept barking, so he went to see what was going on and there were the two girls running around in the woods. My daughter claimed she walked past the bus stop up to that girl’s house and they missed the bus, but then decided it would be more fun to play in the woods all day. Yes, she skipped school in third grade.
Our youngest daughter, married with no children yet, grew into a responsible adult and she’s rather fond of lecturing about how children need rules and firm discipline… The thing about families is they never forget, so she gets reminded of her childhood exploits if she gets too sanctimonious about “proper” parenting.
My parenting advice is never utter the words “what kind of parents would”…