the mudpond

It's good to let things breathe in your imagination because often your initial response to it is not the best thought-through response. I savour little glimpses of life. Mine and those of people who turn me sideways and around. Friend or stranger. Even a child. (the world looks different from down there) Sometimes an author, photographer, artist. I let things saturate and incubate here. Hopefully, deeper meanings can percolate up and flower.

Name:
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A stray cat.

6/03/2005

Doormats and Smartsmacks

I LIKE GOING to the movies. You can't appreciate a movie on a TV. You need to see it with other people on a large screen. The shared experience is what makes it great. So yeah, parents who bring their kids to age-inappropriate movies ought to be smacked on their heads. :P

Like this daft couple who brought their two toddlers last week.Darn kids were screaming. They were crying. The monsters were running up and down the aisles. Why did these parents bring their kids to see a non-cartoon movie? Why did they think the kids would sit still? And, why did they do nothing about their disruptive behavior?

I love that the variety of hawker food can be enjoyed in airconditioned comfort and unpolluted surroundings. But it's damn hard to get through when parents refuse to control their brood of hellspawns. These brats run amuck. They throw their food, they scream, they run around… there are kids everywhere, kicking benches, dropping food over the floor, and yelling at the top of their little high pitched lungs. The shitty parents do absolutely nothing about it.

The school holidays is definitely not a good time for the anti-smacking brigade to be pushing their cause. Within logical and humane limits, all parents have the right to rear their children as they see fit, so long as they do not inflict the consequences of their parenting theories on others.

If you don't want to take the time, the trouble, the pain and the heartache to rein in your kids, please lah, don't take them out in public.

On the other hand…

Screaming kids is topped only by MULTIPLE screaming kids. The clincher is perhaps when stellar examples of parenting (in public) either ignore the wailing or loudly state "Stop it or I'll give you something to cry about." Sometimes with choice language thrown in.

Lovely.

The other day, I saw a young mother getting off some steps outside the cinemas. Her distracted little
rugrat missy badly misjudged the height of the step, lost her footing and fell with quite a thump on her little bum. Her mother yanked her up by an arm and yelled: "Stupid! Why can't you watch where you are going?". She then gave administered in rapid-fire succession, three loud cracking smacks on the back of each little leg.

Oh great. The kid falls off the steps and then gets half a dozen stinging wallops for her accident.

Of course, thumped-bum and little-legs-on-fire Missy Rugrat yelped and howled and screamed in pain.

Charming.

Seems to me this has little to do with considered parenting and much to do with bad temper and over-reaction.

A child should know that when he or she trespasses beyond a certain point, something really bad will happen. And, to my mind, that really bad consequence has to go somewhat beyond mummy looking cross, a stern finger-wagging scolding, a denial of chocolates or a TV turn-off.

Obviously, smacking is not the only way to discipline children and anyone who resorts to such punishment without making it absolutely clear why it is being administered is a fool and wasting his or her time.

But what is a smack?

I don't know that a gentle rap over a toddler's knuckles as he reaches for something fragile or dangerous counts as a smack. It's more a caution.

Equally, I don't think a hefty wallop that leaves a lasting bruise or welt qualifies as a smack. That's assault, possibly assault causing bodily harm. Like the mother who has a
sick nightly bedtime ritual of caning her kids of five and three, as a way of getting them to go to sleep.

Somewhere in between is the sort of punishment meted out by loving and reasonable parents, few of whom ever fall into the category of criminal assailants.

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5 Comments:

Blogger mauser*girl said...

I couldn't agree more with this post. It seems like every time I have been to the movies these past months, someone just had to bring their children along.

As a result, we (my fiance and I) don't even go to see any "G" or "PG" rated movies at the theater anymore because those are always full of children. We also usually only go to the late night showing - the kind that starts at 9 or 10 pm.

You would think people going to the movies at that hour would leave their children at home, but they don't. When we went to see "National Treasure" a couple brought their infant who can't have been older than five or six months, to the movie theater with them. Of course the kid fussed all throughout the movie. And on top of that, the mother started breast-feeding right there in the movie theater!

I mean, good grief, if you're going to a movie that late, please find a babysitter. After all, there's a theater full of people who paid $10 a ticket that you should be considerate of.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Lucia Lai said...

then we also have parents who bought kids to church and allow them to make noises or play with the hymn books. it's a good thing that nowadays more churches have 'cry room' where one can leave their children there or have someone (like maid) keep an eye on the children there.

children are a distraction in church when the parents does not know how to control them. they must also train them not to eat in church, esp. those older children. and some let their children stray, and the daring one even walk up to the church's altar.

having said that, luckily i see very few of these parents around. most of them in our church do know how to control their children.

maybe i'm not a parent and not qualify to say this but i have to say something on one example you bought up - re: when the child slip and fell, the mother picked her up and beat her.

many years back, i notice that happenning to my neighbour. i lost contless no. of times when her child fell, she would scold her careless and all that sort and beat her. even when like she accidentally made something fall to the ground, she would get a sound scolding or beating. OTOH, i notice when the child was naughty, being rude to others, she did not scold/beat the child at all!! can you believe that?

4:55 PM  
Blogger 5xmom ~chanlilian.net~ said...

Only one advice - Stay home. I am staying put at home too 'cos I beh tahan other people's kids. Mine is bad but theirs are worse. hehhehehe

5:00 PM  
Blogger percolator said...

mauser girl,
An infant happily and contentedly suckling at the mother's breast is jolly fine by me. After all, it ain't at a bus stop or coffee shop. But if the infant is cranky and wanna go home, that's a different scenario.

lucia,
wah your church very good. Mine don't have this facility. But then we don't seem to have this problem at all. Our parishoners quite considerate. The moment the kids get fidgety or infants cry, teh DADS (haha) usually go out to be OUTSTANDING Catholics. Heh!

5xmom,
don't hafta stay home lah. Kids need to go out or you'll all become psycho. Just not the movies for toddler, I reckon. The 8yo can do movies rite? The teens won't wanna follow you anyway.. lol!

4:23 PM  
Blogger Lucia Lai said...

rotfl! that's a very good joke, percolator. i must use it one day.

2:02 AM  

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