Both a Parents’ Best Friend and Worst Enemy

I witnessed a 10 year-old boy having a major meltdown at the shoe shop last Sunday. He acted in an obnoxious way and completely embarrassed his mother. Kicking out in obvious frustration, he berated his mother for taking him to the shop (even though she took him because he needed new shoes!) He screamed out on a number of occasions, “This is so boring!”

It took a while for the mother t0 react decisively. At first she tried to reassure him, then sweet talk him. Finally she decided to threaten him. Nowadays, when a parent threatens their child there seems to be a standard “go to” consequence – the use of the family game console. The mother said, “That’s it! No more Playstation for the rest of the day!”

And then she paused, if only to reflect on what she had just done and whether she was comfortable with the challenges that come with setting such a punishment.

“What?” came the boy’s reply. “No Playstation? For the whole day? Why?”

“Because of your tantrum. I’m fed up with it!”

“But that’s not fair! I was just bored, that’s all!”

And then, as if the penny dropped, the mother realised what she had done. In a haste to punish her child, it dawned on her that she had in fact punished herself. She realised that her child is tolerable in front of the Playstation and a considerable challenge away from it. So she scrambled for an “out clause.”

“If you behave for the rest of your time here I might reconsider.”

Unfortunately, this is becoming standard practice among parents. As much as they hate watching their children becoming couch potatoes and gaming addicts, as much as they wish that they could get their attention quicker and steer them away from these distractions when it’s time to do homework, they have come to rely on it for peace and quiet. Here this mother had the perfect punishment for her son’s terrible exhibition. Following through would certainly be a “game changer.” It would make the statement that if you want to misbehave like that in public again it may come at a major price.

But no, this parent wasn’t prepared to risk ruining the rest of her Sunday for the sake of this statement. She probably wanted her son to be out of sight and mind for the rest of the day and there was no way that was going to happen with the punishment she nominated.

I am not trying to judge this parent. We have all breathed a sigh of relief as our child has camped in front of television or computer screen at some stage.

I am merely commenting on the stranglehold this technology has over parents, children and families.

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2 Responses to “Both a Parents’ Best Friend and Worst Enemy”

  1. charlottecelestelee Says:

    It is such a sad fact isn’t it? That parents nowadays do not know how to set boundary and rules but to resort to such “bribery” type of method their kid’s outburst and tantrum.

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