Discipline in the Public Eye

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Bad kid behavior while running errands is a drag. Here's how to handle it.

It never fails. You pick the kids up from school and sigh at the long list of errands you need to run before you get home to cook dinner. Your kids are either bouncing little balls of energy or so tired they’re cranky. But, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. Off to the store you go.

Next thing you know, your child’s meltdown in the middle of the aisle draws much unwanted attention.

BEFORE YOU FLY OFF THE HANDLE

It’s that exact moment when you feel the heat in your face. That’s the moment you hear most often talked about. The way you punished your child at the store.

Shonda Moralis, MSW, LCSW, states in her book, Breathe, Mama, Breathe: 5-Minute Mindfulness for Busy Moms (The Experiment; 2017), that the lifespan of an emotion is just 90 seconds. Ninety seconds!

“According to my estimation, this means the average time it takes for an emotion to move through the nervous system and body is about equivalent in length to a labor contraction,” says Moralis.

That’s a fleeting moment. One that you must realize you can allow yourself to let your anger on the situation dissolve. It’s tough, we know. But, have faith in yourself. You can get through it and in the public eye, too.

DISCIPLINING IN PUBLIC

If your temper got the best of you, chances are, you said or did something your not proud of. Or, however, you were able to gain control of the situation and handled it right then and there. Some parents gawk at others for putting their kids in place while out in public — going so far as to call it public humiliation.

“I don’t think punishing a child in public for his bad behavior will embarrass him when others are looking,” local mom Vasanta Knight. “I have leaned in very close to my child saying I need her to calm down. If we can’t do that then we walk out of the store and leave. I will discipline at home.”

“Yelling, spanking and shaming would be ‘pubic humiliation,’” says local mom Dottie Cortez. “Waiting until you’re home to punish isn’t a good idea either.”

The choice is yours. The important thing to remember is that this moment in time is between you and your kids … not the entire world. So, why would you share it on social media? Believe it or not, many parents do.

“Posting pics of your kids and bragging about your way of discipline online, where everything is permanent, is ‘humble bragging’ and it’s an icky personality trait,” says local mom Jennifer Morgan.

 

Kiera Ashford is associate editor of Nashville Parent and mother of three.

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