Sunday, February 27, 2011

How to not spank your children in airports

I have never spanked or yelled at either of my kids in public. Nor have I threatened, cajoled or negotiated with them, either.

(Pat climbs up on nearby soapbox and straightens his coat...)

Here's the thing, boys, girls and robots... children have children sized bodies, brains and bank accounts. But what God blessed them and every single one of us with from the very first day of our messy, screaming birth is adult sized (maybe even McDonald sized) WILLS.

This is why you see kids, from toddlers to teenagers, exerting these wills over their parents regularly. I exerted mine over my parents daily from about 4 years old to when I was kicked out at 18 and I am responsible for half their insanity and certainly almost all of their gray hairs.

Also? "Cajoled" is a really weird, funny sounding word, so I threw it in the beginning to just amuse myself. Cajoled. Cajoled.

Anyway, while other parents with little to no control over their precious snowflakes were hyperventilating and getting more and more stressed as control slipped from their grasps, I had a simple strategy (and have used it on grown ups too, I must admit).

I never yelled, but got down right next to their crying face, quite close and spoke very calmly and quietly. Usually I would say something like, "you need to stop... now".

Now, some thought I had magic powers (which I suppose, I might), but I actually just had incredibly bright children. I am a genius, as you all well know and they are far smarter than even me. Austin is now doing advanced trigonometry or some such crap in High School, so you know it's true.

My kids quickly learned that there were only 2 certainties in life (they were too young for "death and taxes" then), and they were "vegetables taste terrible" and "when dad talks quieter, we are exactly 1 strike away from him dropping everything, walking to the car, driving home and getting spanked".

I never, ever threatened to spank them. Not once. I promised.

And we also hugged, kissed and told them we loved them, every single day.

Subsequently, by the time they were 12, they were far more mature than most of the 25 year old people I knew. And considerably more mature than their father, thank God.


  1. well, that's just perfect. I now have an acute distain for Austin.

    It's a special kind of distain reserved for those persons I love who, to my chagrin, excel at Mathematics and other subjects I can barely pronounce, let alone do.

    ...nice going with the gene pool dude.

  2. Ruthy, much to MY chagrin, Austin corrected me to say that he is now doing advanced CALCULUS, because Trigonometry was too easy last year.

    I tried to hearken back to the old days and make a promise to spank him for correcting me, but it was admittedly an empty one.

    Time for them to spread their wings or something.

  3. You always behaved in public even if it meant walking six steps ahead or behind us parents....I remember when you decided we were mature enough to be seen in public with you....we were walking on Jobs Lane and you were slightly younger than Austin is now.