Thursday, December 13, 2007

If I'd Have Done This When I Was Growing Up, I Would Have Been Slapped By The Friend's Mom, Then Spanked By My Own

Spare the rod, spoil the child:

Why you MUST be brave enough to tell off other people's children in your home

Should you ever tell off other people's children? Not so long ago, no one would have even asked this question - most reasonable adults would have thought the answer such an obvious and emphatic "Yes!"

The fact that we dither over it now, and - if we say "yes" - qualify it with all sorts of provisos, illustrates just how far down the road we have come in letting our children rule.

The question has troubled me lately because of the behaviour of a particular child. Such is the state of modern manners that, like most mothers, I am not easily shocked.

No messing! Don't be afraid to put other people's children in their place when in your home, a behaviour expert advises

I know plenty of children who barge across the threshold unbidden, who demand food and sweets, who jump on the furniture and respond to an invitation to stay to tea with, "What are you having?" rather than, "Yes, please" or "No, thank you".

But this boy, aged nine, appalled even me. He had come to play with my son Tony, who is eight, and he approached the tea table and the scrambled eggs on toast he had requested with a swagger and declared: "Yuck, I'm not eating that! Do you always burn the toast?"

There was no obvious excuse for this rudeness: the toast may have been half a shade darker than he likes it, but it certainly wasn't burnt. He's an infrequent visitor so you couldn't argue that familiarity explained the contempt.

But despite the fact that his sheer cheek, arrogance and rudeness astonished me, I let it go...

Good move. You wouldn't want to be sued by the angel's parents, or maybe arrested.

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