'My bad child won't share'
Do kids sometimes get spanked because mom is feeling embarrassed?
Type "my child won't share" into Google and it will return some 304 million results.  Granted, it is kind-of mortifying when someone brings their kid into your home and suddenly yours is overcome with possessiveness and will not relinquish even one small plastic car.  You consider child-play therapy and possible medication until you go to that kid's house and exactly the same thing happens in reverse.

Hold on a minute!

I was told by a child behaviour expert that kids don't 'get' the concept of sharing until they're at least 4 years old.  What drives our obsession to make our children play nicely before they've even learnt to speak?  I think social pressures have a lot to answer for.

Mortifying motherhood

Socialising children is only made excruciating because of the manner in which we are judged by others. Raising kids under the scrutiny of your peers is really where the horrors lie. Fear of embarrassment or exposure in public is the very reason we type "my child won't share" into a Google search engine; we don’t want to be labelled as the parent withthat child. So in a social setting this is how the scene unfolds; the parent pleads with the kids to share, the kids cry because they don't really understand what is going on, there is a lot of noise & confusion, someone might even get a time-out, eventually a mediocre compromise is reached. You all realise this intervention method is a pile of crap and you sink into the couch ashamed at your inability to parent (no really, this is how we think).  

'This is going to be harder for me than it is for you...'

Disciplining in public is another thorny issue. I'm so jealous of people who've got this down pat- That parent who can pull their kids into line with one withering stare. I always want to sit them down and say, 'OK, how much for the secret formula. An arm? Here, have both'.

No-one realises that the mother whose child is being monstrous is about to implode with embarrassment, that this mother is aware of every single beady eye watching her, that this mother could happily exterminate the child on the spot for causing such a scene but loves the child too much to actually do so.  Does she give in to the evil stares and smack him? Spanking children these days is hardly de rigueur, and belting them in public, even less so. My admonishments, whether they be spanks, timeouts or stern talking-to’s are always delivered away from flapping ears; even if I have to drag him to the car to do so. Surely, the point is to teach children there are consequences to their actions, not to strip them of their dignity and humiliate them.

Before you judge

The pressure to discipline, make children share, shut the hell up in quiet places, to be socially groomed and appropriate at all times; is immense. I look back at my childless self some three years ago, shaking my head in disgust and tut-tutting at some poor mother whose kid was throwing a tantrum and I have to laugh. Boy, did I not realise how much of a bitch karma really is.

Are you ever too hard on your child because of social pressures?

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