I think as long as there have been kids and parents, there have been good kids and good parents, and there have been bad kids and bad parents. I do believe that there are more people, and more stress, and more of us have less time, and it becomes more noticable when people behave poorly.
Most kids do fine. Again, it's the loud ones that people notice. It does take training to get kids to behave. It is not necessary to "smack them on the rear" to get kids to behave. We never spanked our kids, and they turned out just fine. However, it did take a few cases of taking them out of a situation (I remember carrying my eldest out of a dolphin show when she would not settle down). She really liked dolphins and did not want to miss the show. After that, we never had to carry her out again as she knew that if she acted up, we would not hesitate to extract her from what we we doing. We also made it clear to her (and her siblings) that good behaviors would be rewarded. When they were young, going to McDs was a treat. We made it a policy that if they acted up in church, they would NOT get McDs for lunch. After a very short time period, we were going to lunch at McDs every Sunday (until they requested we go somewhere else).
It takes work to raise good kids. It takes consistency. One of the worst things you can say to a kid is, "This time I mean it". So all those other times you DIDN'T mean it? That's a bad lesson to teach a kid (and they will pick that sort of message up VERY quickly).
The bottom line is MOST kids are just fine and do know how to act. If they didn't, most places would be more like Chuck-E-Cheese or the McDs play area where there is almost total chaos.
And yes, each generation thinks the next one is going to a very hot place in a handbasket, yet we seem to survive just fine.
I don't know that I would "admit" to having the "bratty kid" but I have had kids and grandkids misbehave. And no one got smacked. I got way toooo much of THAT from my stepfather to ever inflict it on others.
But--you DO have to be extremely careful today with ANY sort of discipline. And not only in public. We were FOLLOWED out of a Target a few weeks ago when a very tired and cranky (and to her credit she turned out to be sick a bit later on---we just didn't know this) had a temper tantrum over something like a $2 toy. While my daughter took her off to first a "quiet spot" to try and calm her down I checked out---I was already checking out when this started. Then we removed her from the store but not before the SECURITY GUARD decided to FOLLOW us out. Now a 5 year old has NO clue what that MEANS but of course we do. And what it could mean is by TRYING to do "The Right Thing" here as MOST would understand it we were under suspician of child abuse even tho NO one had threatened or hit or shouted or any other form of what would be thought of as child abuse.
But that really doesn't MATTER these days. All it takes is a phone call by pretty much ANYONE to a Child Protective Unit and you are immed AT FAULT. No proof is really needed of your "guilt". And YES the kids DO know this as starting very young in the schools they are TAUGHT this and TAUGHT that they can "turn their parents in". I took issue with this a few years ago when my kids were in the school system and I suspect that this was very much noted as I was treated with great suspician afterwards.
So how I wonder DO these parents who DO abuse the kids hide it or get away with it? I know my stepfather DID but that was a "different day". And no one had the kids interest in mind. The kid was DISRESPECTFUL and you got to do whatever YOU thought it took to make them behave. Belts sticks fists---you name it and no one cared or turned a blind eye even the schools and the cops.
Somewhere in between is the answer---no one should be whacking on the kids ---and in Europe their kids are remarkably well behaved AND they generally frown on corporal punishment---but the kids need to KNOW there are consequences to their behavior. And this does take time---longer for some---to learn.
I walked away from a yard sale once when my kids were acting up and one of them had a melt down because she had wanted something there. I saw the neighbor a few days later and she said---You walked away from the sale! And your kids WANTED something! I would NEVER be able to do that!
I said I wouldn't have been able to live with MYSELF if I hadn't followed thru on telling them to behave or we leave---and then NOT doing that. It worked.
I agree with Halley on this one--unfortunately even the most mild form of corporal punishment under the wrong conditions can create a real problem for a parent. I had a client, a single mother swat her child (I knew this person and her family so I know she was telling the truth) in front of a restaurant in a very small community locally--a rather rural and conservative community. She was observed by someone inside the restaurant, a call was made, the child welfare folks became involved and before it was resolved my client went thru some very difficult time that included having to serve some sort of probationary period. For a year her life was pure hell.
I could not believe this was going on, checked with the woman's parents whom I also knew well and verified all of it.
Bear in mind that Idaho, especially in my area, is a pretty "live and let live" kind of place and still this sort of thing does happen. I suspect many of the methods my wife and I used to disciplined would not be advised--spanking, pining up against the wall, removing the child from restaurants and placing in the car, etc. would create nothing but trouble.
Every time I have to suffer thru some unruly child screaming in a shopping cart in WalMart I force myself to remember that the parent really doesn't have the tools I had to deal with correcting the child and that keeps me from being too judgmental about the matter.
I'll be the first to admit that we have been "those people" on occasion. I will also tell you that we weren't "those people" for very long at any one time because I had no problem at all removing my kids if they were being disruptive/disrespectful. Fortunately, we had very few incidents when our kids were younger.
After the odd smack on the butt, all that is needed is the look. When they get the look they know what will happen if they carry on. Our kids when small tried the tantrum thing an DW gave them bit of water from a cup in the face and tantrum was over. I guess that would now be abuse!
That is not always true, you would not stand for it, if you did something that I did not approve of, then I smacked you on the butt. When we physically or violently punish children we make them afraid of our hands or us and resent that treatment. Ive worked with thousands of adults, who had problems in life because they resented parents who did so.
Children are the same as a small adult, they have the same feelings or emotions and deserve to be treated like they do. There are many ways of punishing children that can work much better than physical pain.... Pain should be reserved for only the most drastic of deeds, like if a child inflicts serious injury on another. Even criminals are not beaten for their crimes.
Parents are smarter than children, because they have more experience in life, Many here have related punishments they have used that work. We need to use our knowledge, experience and intelligence to figure out ways to punish. Its taking the easy way out to spank or do worse to a child.
Personally believe every person should have a course in child behavior modification in HS at the latest. Children love to mimic adults, teach them through example. Saying do as I say, not as I do, just does not work...
At 35 my son once said, "Ive never spanked my children, because you only spanked me once. When I got a BB gun from a friend, and shot it, hitting Cheri (his sister)..." That kind of behavior is the only type where Id approve of spanking. After raising five children, all with different personalities, so each had to be disciplined uniquely, still feel the same. Each was punished in a manner that worked with that child. The son with the BB gun was the most difficult, he was much like I was. To a daughter, who if I said, "I'm disappointed that you did that", would break down and cry.
Realize it is virtually impossible for adults to change how you discipline children, but with practice we can learn anything. There are TWO excellent books about changing children's behavior or helping them to be the best they can be in life. "The One Minute Mother" and "The One Minute Father" available in a lot of libraries, they sound too easy, but the methods WORK. Hundreds of my clients learned with them, and they came to love these books... Wish Id written them...
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...I had no problem at all removing my kids if they were being disruptive/disrespectful.
That actually seems to be the key. Our kids also learned from an early age that we would not hesitate to remove them from the situation if they misbehaved.
Fortunately, we had very few incidents when our kids were younger.
I think that's because you were consistent in removing them when they misbehaved. They KNEW that if they acted up, they would NOT GET whatever they were hoping for.
We had a saying that went, "Don't make me take you out of here like a sack of potatoes". That came from the dolphin incident. My eldest was in a meltdown (kicking and screaming, the whole works) and the only way I could get hold of her was to carry her over my shoulder, legs kicking out front, with her rear on my shoulder, head somewhat down my back. It ended up being quite an easy way to carry a screaming toddler as her center of gravity was right at my shoulder, she could not get her feet or hands free enough to hurt me, and it was a bit humiliating. I dubbed it my "sack of potatoes" carry. The other two saw it, didn't like it, and would calm down with the threat of the "sack of potatoes". I may have used it 3-4 times at most over the years. The threat was usually enough. The bottom line was they KNEW that if they misbehaved, they would get taken out to the car to sit while everyone else got to enjoy whatever we were doing at the time. I guess the one downside is you need a two-parent family and only one kid can go ballistic at a time.