The Out of Control Mommy and Public Vs. Private Discipline

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Author, Billy the Kid

As parenting season, I mean football season, winds down its appropriate timing to talk about something I observed at the Austin high school football game during the season.

I was with my sister and we were walking from our car into the game and we were very close to the concrete facade where the tickets were being sold and obviously about to enter into the stadium.

As we got closer the pace of our footsteps picked up but then out of seemingly nowhere a strange sound caught my ear.

It was the dreaded screaming and all too familiar angry tone of the mommy’s frustration and rage boiling over and spewing out onto the viewing public. Or in this case me and my sister and a few others around us who did not want to be viewing this.

Near as I can tell the mommy wanted the boy to do something and the boy had dug in his heels because he did not want to do it.

The mom was acting much like my granddad did in his younger days with a fierce gleam in his eye and an intense stubbornness to back up the energy he would gladly expend in order to get his way.

I saw this same gleam in her eye and resolve to ensure her boy would do what she wanted.

Unfortunately, the boy seemed to have inherited the stubbornness that was the equal of his mom and she was probably the source who’d genetically given it to him.

So they had a Mexican standoff going which was getting quite loud, and she had grabbed his arm and her frustration and anger was getting ever more physical.

Now you know I’ve never been a parent but having to witness this was definitely unpleasant. To intervene is not my business but what is appropriate discipline and when or if should you intervene on another parents’ discipline?

I certainly agree you have to maintain a level of control and the respect of your children to do as you say because in many cases you know best.

The question I would ask you is this, “Is it better to discipline and berate your child in public or in private?”

Now the moment I asked this question I immediately realized the answer is going to depend on some context.

You have to know whether your child responds best to public humiliation and social pressure or whether your child responds better in a private setting.

Most of the time when your child is shy and fairly internal the private setting will be much more effective. When your child is very social and embarrasses easily the public setting maybe the most effective.

You know your child better than anyone else…probably even better than they do. At least until they reach the age of 15 or 16 when they have some self-awareness and self discovery at which point the scales of knowledge are more balanced.

So let how your child responds best determine what kind of discipline and also the setting where you’re going to administer that discipline takes place.

I’m sure some people will disagree with me, but disciplining your child is your business and even though it’s unpleasant for the public onlookers if that’s the best way to reach your child and gain the compliance you need then I say “go for it”.

I certainly look forward to hearing your comments about how you feel on the public versus private discipline issue and what kind of effective tactics you’ve used to compel your kids to do what you say.

Author: Billy the kid

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