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Moms Who Don't Discipline Their Kids Make Me Crazy

by Kiri Blakeley on November 4, 2012 at 9:25 PM

toddler tantrumMy friend does not believe in disciplining her 2-year-old daughter. Yes, you read that right. My friend, let’s call her Lisa, once let her daughter, let’s call her Megan, flush the toilet 30 times. Just because she wanted to. When both of them were at my home for dinner, I watched her daughter deliberately pour a glass of water right over my table. I had to say, “No, Megan!” while my friend just smiled.

My friend confesses that at a recent play date, her daughter smeared a gooey snack all over the host mom’s bedspread. She apologized to the mom but didn’t tell her kid she’d done anything wrong. I’ve stopped speaking to my friend on the phone while Megan is awake, because she screams endlessly while we talk, blasting a hole in my ear. My friend never once says, “Sweetie, I’m on the phone.” Why does she allow all of this? “I guess it’s just easier this way,” my friend admits. “The truth is, I hate to make my daughter cry.”

I asked my friend if she worries that Megan will grow up to be one of those people who believes she can do whatever she wants, whenever she wants, with no repercussions. “Mmmm … yeahhhh,” she reluctantly admits. “But I keep hoping one day I’ll start to discipline her. Right now, she’s so young. I figure she’s like a dog. She’s not going to understand what I say anyway.” Umm, okay.
 
I ask my friend if this could just be making life easier for herself, and she admits it does: “If I tell her not to do something, she pitches a fit. I’d rather just clean up whatever mess she makes than argue with her.” She also admits she leaves the role of “bad cop” to her husband, who is more of a discipline type. She also reveals that this is the way she herself grew up – her parents let her do whatever she liked. And, hey, she didn’t turn out psycho.
 
Lisa says this laissez faire attitude doesn’t apply if her kid wants to do something dangerous like, say, run into traffic. But sometimes she prefers to let her kid “learn the hard way.” For instance, Megan tried to touch a burning candle and, rather than warn her about it, my friend said, “Go ahead.” Megan got her fingers close enough to realize that a candle was nothing to play around with, didn’t get burned, and now says, “Hot hot” when she sees a candle. Says Lisa, “She’ll learn her lesson that way faster than if I tell her no. If I say no, she just wants to do it more.”
 
My friend admits to feeling guilty in allowing this parenting style to run rampant in public places. She’ll take her daughter out of a restaurant or other public place if she’s acting up, but there’s no lecture afterwards telling her that she didn’t behave.
 
I’ve spent a lot of time with Megan (an only child) and her mom, and I’ve sometimes found myself in the role of disciplinarian at their house. Once when Megan was screaming at the dog for “stealing my food” (the dog was nowhere near her food), I told her in a firm voice to “knock it off.” Lisa just grinned. At least my friend doesn’t seem to mind if someone else takes over disciplining, but sometimes feels like a burden I don’t really want. (I draw the line at letting a kid be a brat with pets!) Interestingly, Megan is very attached to me despite my drawing boundaries. She even seems to welcome them.
 
Luckily, Megan is naturally a pretty good kid -- she throws tantrums and is clearly spoiled, but she’s also good-hearted, loves people and animals (even the dog she screams at), and in general doesn’t act like too much of a lunatic. But I do wonder how she’ll fare in the real world one day. And I do feel sorry for her future teachers!
 
Does it make you crazy when moms let their kids run the house?


Image via feli*/Flickr

Filed Under: discipline

Comments

52
  • Pinkmani
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    Pinkmani

    November 4, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    Permissive parenting tend to grow up to be immature, impulsive, dependent. These children are the least self-reliant and self-controlled. These children seek help after even the slightest of difficulty and have not had the teaching of a self-disciplined parent who guides the learning of life skills in their children. 


  • SuzyB...
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    SuzyBarno

    November 4, 2012 at 9:32 PM
    Oh it makes me so crazy!!! Both my husband and I are big in discipline and we also let out kids learn the hard way, if it will not cause serious injury. Of course we tell them "if you do that, it will hurt, be careful!" But kids are kids and they want to defy you. If they defy they will figure out that curiosity killed the cat. Please people discipline your kids! Because then when my kids end up at the park with your kids they will play so much better together!
  • Amand...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Amanda Johnson Hull

    November 4, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    Yeah, it makes me nuts.  I want to hand out copies of "Parenting with Love and Logic" to everyone.  Changed my life, and my 2 year old is super well behaved.  2 years olds know what you're saying, and they will follow rules when given clear boundaries.  You create those boundaries by having reasonable consequences that are enforced consistently.  Anyway, I think that kid will probably turn out fine, I'm more worried about all the grief the mother will go through.  Parenting can be so much easier than that!


  • JoyfulJ
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    JoyfulJ

    November 4, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    Permissive parenting drives me nuts...what makes it worse is when my family sees my gentle parenting as permissive parenting.
    I have boundries for my kids and they are inforced just not by conventional means.


  • Momm2...
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    Momm2threeboyz

    November 4, 2012 at 11:01 PM

    I can not handle when parents do not discipline their kids! It honestly makes me think less of the parent as if they can't handle having kids. If they are friends of mine, they have to understand A) I WILL discipline their kid if I see they need it and the parent doesn't do anything and expect them to do the same with my kids and B) there's a chance if the non discipline continues, I will NOT hang out with you as much, my kids will NOT be around yours as much as possible and we will have to be friends via electronics! I'm semi strict with my kids and in return they now don't have to be told no all the time, they are good when they are in public and with other people, even when I am not around. It took a lot of energy and consistent discipline to get them like this. I dont need someone else's little non disciplined brat to mess up what I have accomplished so far in raising my kids just because a parent doesn't want to take the responsibility/time/effort to do the same with theirs!


  • Midni...
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    Midnite00

    November 4, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    Oh honey you should work retail... I have heard teens call their moms the b word.  I have seen kids hit their parents. More then you think right in the face!   Run around and just do what ever they want.. Makes you want to slap the parents.  Or laugh like the other night a parent just kept saying the child's name in a monotone as the child climbed counters, ran in circle laughed as she ran around. Like they didn't care.... but when she tried to climb a flatbed and jump off I told her to get down she wasn't aloud to do that...... (good god parents she could have killed herself doing that!!) 


  • bubba258
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    bubba258

    November 5, 2012 at 12:13 AM
    Your friend sounds like a dickhead and I feel sorry for her kid, a future dickhead.
  • Tonya
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Tonya

    November 5, 2012 at 7:32 AM
    @bubba-
    Agreed. And thanks for the morning laugh. :)
  • Katie...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Katie Hesney Johnson

    November 5, 2012 at 8:12 AM

    Uggghhh, her kid sounds like a future nightmare! There is a way to discipline without feeling bad. Time outs are my method for my three year old, anywhere, anytime she misbehaves (malls, stores, etc). 

    Parents please dicsipline your children so we are not suffering for it later!!


  • Hyman
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    Hyman

    November 5, 2012 at 8:16 AM
    I'm so torn on this. While I am not there yet, at (going on) 15 mo old, my son is learning right and wrong, but is not disciplined.

    How do you even discipline a two year old? Do they comprehend it?

    Sounds like she needs to use the word "don't" and baby proof everything at her house ... Since she is not into telling her child no, than if there is nothing to get into she won't have to say it.

    When the child does do something unacceptable than she can't say "I won't allow you to do that".

    That's what I'm doing anyway. Who knows. Finding right and wrong is so hard!
1-10 of 52 comments

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