When I was a new mom, there was no “it takes a village” going on in my household. Without any family nearby and a husband who worked long, hard hours at the office, there was no choice but to act out a one-woman show, parenting my son, and then daughter, virtually on my own. Every now and then one of my friends would help out, or my in-laws would come to town and watch the babies, but the thought of another parent stepping in and scolding one of my kids really sickened me.
And then my oldest child turned 3.
Forget the terrible twos: there is no possible way that anyone could have prepared me for the nightmare that is a threenager. Overnight my darling, sweet, beautiful and generous son, who couldn’t wait to share his toys with complete strangers and said “please” and “thank you” and “nice to meet you” without any bribes, transformed into an unruly, opinionated, tantrum-throwing creature, whose favorite word is NOOOOO (in all caps) and can go from belly-aching laughter to brain-busting screaming in zero point two seconds if he’s denied a grape the exact moment he requests it.
As his mother, who is with him 24/7 and is definitely not the disciplinarian of the family, he tends to ignore any public scolding I dish out to him. Others, including my husband and my son’s 4-½ year-old girl friend, Amelia, have better luck scolding him than I do.
So lately I have been wishing there was someone else, when my husband isn’t around, who would put him in his place (in the kindest way possible, of course!).
Well, one mom has come up with a beyond brilliant solution to my problem, which is apparently universal.
In a Facebook post written by an anonymous woman after witnessing a child screaming in a grocery store with her mom trying to keep it together, she details her genius plan on ending public tantrums for good.
“There should be a secret signal parents give when they can’t take anymore so a random stranger can mean mug the kid and tell it to shut up,” she wrote in the post, shared by Jamie Matson (likely someone who knows Jane Doe), which has since gone viral.
She offers three good reasons for this. First, “the kid will be so shocked they will shut up.” Second, because “it will reinforce stranger danger,” and third, it will teach them “that while your parents love you and put up with your shit the rest of the world doesn’t care about you (or your feelings), no matter how cute you are.”
While it could be totally awkward if a stranger walked up and scolded my child, because obviously they don’t know what is really going on, if I could invite them to confront my misbehaved little munchkins in an “as-needed” fashion, it would be amazing.
Many parents thought this was a super clever approach to the tantrum problem we all deal with because it avoids strangers crossing boundaries and creating offensive situations (like stepping in when the child in question has special needs, for instance).
This post was obviously written somewhat in jest, but it is a reminder that raising responsible and well-behaved little kids does in fact, take a village, and we all need a little help once in a while.
If any of you parents decide to start this secret society and come up with a mom/dad code, I totally want in.