Then, the other night Grant and I went out for supper, we were in desperate need of some adult conversation, some wine, a couple of plates of sushi, a nice relaxed evening.... but it wasn't to be, we had to contend with 2 little kids running around our table, shrieking their heads off, while their parents sat a couple of tables away, pretending that nothing was happening!! Just when Grant was about to go over there and discipline the parents, they finally got the picture and went home (I think the furious looks we were sending them and the loud comments about unruly children FINALLY penetrated their thick skulls...) Thankfully. Not a moment too soon.
And finally, the cherry on top. We are seriously considering taking Paula out of the (lovely) school she is in and sending her somewhere else because of a revolting child, who is behaving so badly in class that it is seriously affecting the quality of education the other students in the class are getting. I have had the misfortune of observing this child for the past 5 or 6 years and he is literally completely undisciplined.
What is it with the parents of these creatures?? I am by no means saying my kids are perfect. They aren't. My girls can be moody, they can be stubborn, they can be messy, they can be mouthy, they have faults aplenty. But, trust me, they know what is appropriate and what is inappropriate behaviour in public. (Which is more than can be said for their parents on some occasions, but we won't talk about that right now ok) I refuse to subject other people to the bad behaviour of my children.
The reason my girls know how to behave in public is because I have clearly shown them, from an early age, what behaviour I will not tolerate from them. Empty threats don't work. And for heaven's sake, tolerating bad behaviour is down-right stupid.
The way to get the message across is not to politely say "No my little darling, you can't screech at the table in the restaurant"... and 2 seconds later, repeat... and 2 seconds later... repeat. Please man! I don't want to sit there listening to you ineffectively discipline your child! You grab the kid by the arm, drag her to the bathroom. Yes - right before the horrified gaze of the other diners. (I'm the ugly mom who has done this! Twice.) You shout at her, violently enough to scare her, smack her and then lead her back through those same horrified diners. You only need to do this once or twice and the child will twig.... they will grasp the fact that if Mom says stop screeching at the table I should stop screeching.... In fact they won't even screech. This is how my kids learnt!
I remember once we were driving to Durban to see a musical that we had all been looking forward to for weeks, we had been driving for over an hour already and Roxy and Paula began to have a fight in the back seat of the car. I told them to stop fighting or we would turn around and go home. They continued to fight. I made Grant (who was furious with me!) turn the car around and we drove home. Yes, I had paid a lot of money for the tickets. Yes, I REALLY wanted to see the show. But, so help me, I was not going to make empty threats... I promise you, from then on my girls knew that if I threatened them with something I would carry that threat out, no matter WHAT. I was not in the least bit afraid to embarrass myself or my children in public if it meant getting the message across.
I am well aware that this makes me sound like a horrible and violent mom. Tough. I have showered my kids with more love than they know what to do with. They are very well aware that I completely and utterly adore them. And they are worthy of that love and adoration BECAUSE I have disciplined them properly.
And by the way I am not trying to make out that I am the world's greatest mom. Far from it! I have screwed up more fundamentally and more regularly than I care to remember. Climbing down from my soap box now.