What happens to poorly parented children?

Joan came home frustrated from the grocery and pharmacy yesterday with two variations of the same story.

Counting ’til YOU give up…

Mother to child: “Put that back.”

(keeps playing)

Mother: “I said to put it back.”

(keeps playing)

Father to child: “You heard your mother.”

(keeps playing)

Father: “One…….”

(long pause, child keeps playing)

Father: “Two…….”

Child: “But Dad, I only wanted to play with it…..”

(LONG pause, child keeps playing)

Father: “Three…..”

(child continues to play, parents abandon the confrontation)


Empty Threat

From the grocery she went to the pharmacy. While waiting in line, there is a grandmother, a mother and a child waiting in the same area.

Mother to child: “Sit down please.”

(child sits, but gets back up)

Mother: “I asked you to sit.”

(child sits, stands, sits)

Grandmother: “If you don’t sit, I’m not going to buy you any tea.”

(child jumps up)

Child: I love tea. I want tea. (does not sit down)

Mother: Well, if you don’t sit down, you’re not going to get any.”

Grandmother: “No tea for you if you don’t sit down.”

(child ignores the grandmother)

(Parent and grandparent abandon the confrontation. Child continues to be up and about).

Don’t know if child got tea.

What happens later?

The child, having learned that persistent disobedience wins out, that there is no penalty for ignoring authority, and that parents don’t mean what they say … goes off to school. So now the child is disruptive and disobedient in the classroom and when the teacher asks the parents for help, the parents defend the child.

By the time the child gets to middle school, not only has he/she learned that their parentals are afraid of them and that they will not support any discipline or structure from the school, the student’s disobedience continues into outright defiance and disrespect.

By the time they get to high school, the parents have pretty much given up and so the school tries to protect the educational environment of others by imposing a variety of after school detentions, Friday schools, in school and out of school suspension and eventually, if the student even remains in school long enough, expulsion.

Get ready sheriff, here they come….

Eventually, disobedience, defiance and disrespect mature into criminal behavior. And so it goes.

What was YOUR experience?

Parents, how did YOU handle instruction to your child? Students, what was (IS) your experience in this regard. Feel free to use the COMMENT feature below to put your story in…..

How WE did it!

Our intent was to teach our sons that we expected compliance the first time. If we thought there was a chance they did NOT hear the instruction, we would repeat it. Most of the time, however, if the instruction was ignored, there was an immediate consequence. If the instruction was to sit, we would follow the ignored instruction with physically placing the child in the seat, for example.

We didn’t play the counting game because if you do, the child learns that they can ignore everything up to the last number prior to actual discipline…..or that if they ignore you long enough, the parent gives up and they can do what they wanted anyway.

I don’t ever recall a disruption in a store or a restaurant. Temper tantrums became non-existent because early attempts were either ignored (i.e. let them cry at home until they got tired of crying) or dealing with it sternly.

I only recall spanking each of my sons twice. Once was both of them for fighting each other, which we wanted to make absolutely certain was not allowed. Arguments yes, but not physical fights. And then, each of them one time the very first time we caught them in a straight out lie. Any significant discipline after the early childhood years was pretty much not necessary. Why? Because they learned that we said what we meant and meant what we said.

Why is that such a hard concept?

I can’t even stand to watch the behavior demonstrated (probably orchestrated) in those nanny shows.


So share your store, and thanks for reading.



4 thoughts on “What happens to poorly parented children?

  1. i have experienced this behavior many times in store with others children. Yes , with myown as well. Most inpublic would rather you ignore your child then to disipline them though. i have took my daughter aside at a store and repremanded her for her loud and disobediant talking me. Some people look to you as if your abusive to your child if you dont give in and embarrass your child right there. its a shame these days even the strangers or store employees will bribe the kids to behave then let you punish them publicly.

    1. Thanks for the response…..but I pretty much do not agree. It is never necessary to make an immediate public display in the middle of the store. I believe that if a child knows what is expected and that there will be a consequence for unacceptable behavior, they can learn to respect both the boundaries and the expectations. Bribing, as you describe, only reinforces the negative behavior and children are smart enough to learn, then, that if they act up, they can manipulate the parent and get bribes…. As a high school teacher, I get to see what happens when children fail to learn this concept — and then become teenagers. Best to you as you strive to raise your children in the way they should go.

  2. I ALWAYS explained in the car on the way to store what behavior was expected… asked for my expectations to be repeated and if behavior was not as expected I used to ask “Do we need to go into the bathroom to discuss your behavior/” I got immediate compliance…thankfully it didn’t happen very often…. 😀

    ps Steven remembers…..

    1. I like your approach. Yes, if children know what the boundaries and expectations are, they will stay within them. A question about a bathroom discussion or even a “look” that indicates there will be (not necessarily on the spot in the middle of the store) consequences…… children are pretty smart and can figure it out.

      ps Thanks for the tip. So if I see Steven in need of a caution, I’ll try the bathroom discussion question ……haha

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