The Honking Goose

something to honk about

this is not the line for parenting advice

I work in a mid-sized retail store where I am sometimes cashier at the register. Parents come through my line – okay, mostly moms – with happy little children – rarely. More often they are fussy or wailing or grabby. I don’t blame the children. Shopping sucks when you are a kid. It’s all “don’t touch that” and “not now” and “sit down right now” or “stand up right now” and so on. Part of the reason that having my kids back in public school is so thrilling is that I hardly ever have to take them shopping with me any more.

So these moms and their unhappy children come through my checkout line. Some deal with the situation really well and they are patient and sweet to their kids. Many of the kids are frustrated, but trying really hard to be good. Some moms are clearly irritated as hell, but still keeping it together. And then there is the rare mother that is completely at the mercy of her child’s latest behavioral storm. Those are the ones I really wish I could help, but I can’t, because…

this is not the line for parenting advice

I had a mom come through my line the other day with her daughter who was about four or five years old. She (the adult) flung an Olaf (from Disney’s Frozen) pillow across the counter at me and asked me to check the price. I scanned the barcode and informed her that the regular price was $29.99 but it was currently on sale for $19.49. I could see her waffling about the unnecessary expense and so I carefully held it hidden behind the counter to make it easier for her to say no and walk out without it. “Okay,” she sighed, “I’ll take it. She’ll have a huge tantrum if I don’t.”

disney character olaf

And I answered, all sweetness and light, “I understand, I have kids too.” (barf!)

Yes, I do have kids, but no, I don’t really understand. I have never in their whole entire lives ever bought them something because they would have thrown a tantrum if they didn’t get it. I’ve never spent $20 on a toy they didn’t need on a day that wasn’t their birthday. I didn’t have any other option. I just couldn’t. And so they rarely asked and if they did and I said no, they would generally except it. There were never any tantrums.

I wanted to tell this mom to grow a spine and not buy the Olaf pillow and not let her tiny daughter rule over her with the threat of a tantrum. I could have told her, it’s never going to get any better if she just gives in like that – it could get worse. I wanted to tell this mom that if she didn’t buy the toy her daughter might be sad, but she would learn an important lesson and she would learn to cope with her disappointment.

But nobody gets parenting advice in my line. It is not an item we offer at this store.

Advertisements

89 comments on “this is not the line for parenting advice

  1. vvuureoc
    November 24, 2014

    I remember trying the tantrum to acquire something. Cannot remember what it was but I slept on my stomach for five days and never tried it again.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 24, 2014

      There are plenty of better ways for kids to sway their parents minds. 🙂

      Like

  2. darkinkling
    November 23, 2014

    “Grow a spine” – so very true but perhaps easier said than done. I don’t have kids but vow not to use the iPad as a pacifier for them when I do. I guess it will work as long as I have the will but I’m also not sure what to expect when it comes to “keeping it all together”.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 24, 2014

      Growing a spine is indeed way easier said than done. But once it is done, it is so much easier to stand.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. writerinsoul
    November 23, 2014

    Very interesting post & comments! Your un-said advice was great.

    Like

  4. lgillum
    November 22, 2014

    I find it amusing that many parents worry about what kind of world their children will inherit, and forget to leave better children for the world.

    Like

  5. Chels744
    November 21, 2014

    Whenever I see a kid screaming in the store, I usually assume it is an autistic meltdown rather than a tantrum and avoid interfering at all costs. Even if it is not true most of the time, these parents are tired of having their kids meltdowns be mistaken for bratty tantrums.

    BUT, the minute I hear the kid saying “I WANT ___”, I know that is not an autistic meltdown, and no disability would excuse the lax treatment from parents. Still, I mind my own business and make a mental note not to let my nephew or future children behave the same way.

    Like

  6. hya21
    November 20, 2014

    Maybe you should.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 20, 2014

      I think if there was a parenting advice ‘store’ – everything should be totally free so more people would take advantage. 😀

      Like

  7. AlwaysARedhead
    November 20, 2014

    Our children were rarely, if ever given frivolous presents because we also did not have the money to waste. The children learned very young what was needed and what was not. Did they suffer, not at all, and now as young adults they are smart shoppers, and cringe when they see parents giving in to their children.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 20, 2014

      Spoiling children just doesn’t pay off for anyone. I actually think it would be harder in some ways to be a rich parent because it would be too easy to spoil your child.

      Like

  8. From The Pews
    November 20, 2014

    First, nice title and story!! Quite impressed 😉

    Next, good luck with the shopping boom upon us 😉

    And finally, girl, that child and mum didn’t do too bad. I have seen things…horrible, frightening things. Things that will keep you up at night wondering, Why!!?!?!
    Lol!

    It was nice of you to try and provide support, but I feel you. I really do…

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 20, 2014

      Totally. I’ve seen much worse, too. Especially at the park. Oh goodness. Oh, that just reminded me of something I might need to blog about. Thanks! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. melissajane14
    November 19, 2014

    Smart – Very smart! Although I was put in the situation (as a cashier) to ask children not to do gymnastics on the metal rail next to the check out counter. The parents would look at me like I was a complete a-hole telling their kids what to do, but I was just trying to avoid an injury, a scene, a lawsuit, or all three. Melissa 🙂

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 20, 2014

      I always appreciate someone else telling my kids what to do (as long as it’s not mean, you know?) because they’re more likely to listen to a stranger than they are to heed my words. Just the way it goes. So I always feel free to tell other people’s kids what the boundaries are. Most parents I hope would appreciate it. I haven’t done it at the store where I work now. But I certainly did when I worked at little food co-op.

      Like

    • writerinsoul
      November 23, 2014

      Yes! No one thanks you for saving their kid from busting their head open.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Rii the Wordsmith
    November 19, 2014

    Ever since I was old enough to be over tantrums, my mom has essentially pointed this out when witnessing this sort of event at a store. She never gave in to our terrorist demands. She advocates the lessons of restraint…or else of using a tantrum to obtain one’s desires. It would be so hard for me not to say anything were our positions reversed.

    Like

  11. MrJohnson
    November 19, 2014

    Every store selling items appealling to kids should have duct tape available just in case a kid throws a fit.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 20, 2014

      We do sell duct tape, as well. Even the fun colored and patterned ones. But I don’t think I should recommend parents use it on their kids any more than I should hand out parenting advice while ringing up someone’s purchases. 🙂

      Like

  12. It is all part of a learning experience. My tantrums weren’t rewarded, either. What was rewarded was coming up with the resources myself. But the road to learning that was laden with temper…

    Like

  13. J.Gi Federizo
    November 19, 2014

    Very interesting post, and it’s actually a good parenting advice post. You are very right. I’ll keep it in mind. I might have to keep it in mind very much in the years to come.

    Like

  14. threekidsandi
    November 19, 2014

    I am with you. My kids can keep a list of toys they want. Asking me kills the dream.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 19, 2014

      Even when my kids want to spend their own money on a toy, I often tell them to wait and think about it. And I promise to bring them back if they still want to buy it. About half the time, they change their mind after a day has gone by.

      Like

  15. divorcedandsingleblog
    November 19, 2014

    I don’t have kids, but I also worked in a retail store before. The scenes I saw there…gosh! I can never understand how you allow your kid to lay on the floor and scream like there’s no tomorrow, just because they want a toy. It’s ridiculous. I am glad that your kids are different.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 19, 2014

      I don’t even totally blame the parents, they don’t always know what to do about it. It is anything but easy, that’s for sure. That’s why I just wish I could help some how – tell them the things I’ve learned through trial and error. But life doesn’t always work like that. Not everyone wants my advice. :/ 🙂

      Like

  16. Trey Willis
    November 19, 2014

    I bet it’s hard to bite your tongue sometimes. I have friends who are teachers that are exhausted by the amount of basic parenting they have to do these days just because parents don’t say no. One parent told her that her daughter ‘hits when she is angry’ like that excused the behavior…

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 19, 2014

      After home schooling my boys for two years, I have unbounded admiration for all teachers. Especially public school teachers.

      Like

      • Trey Willis
        November 20, 2014

        As do I, especially here in NC where they are paid just above the poverty line…

        Like

  17. natasha
    November 19, 2014

    I enjoyed reading your post.. It reminds me when I was small and once my
    Mom took me to a toy store to buy a gift for someone and I just wanted a toy she explained to me and did not buy for me..after few days she again told me we are going to the toy shop but you will not ask for anything we are not going for you. This time I behaved. Yes u need to tell no to your children but you know why most parents give in cause it’s easier to give in that moment to avoid the explanations talks but they don’t realise the long term after effects are worst…

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 19, 2014

      I’ve learned to say yes or say no. What is the worst is a “maybe”. If a parent says maybe, their kid will pester them relentlessly. It’s always better to say no. You can always change no to a yes. But much harder to do the opposite.

      Like

  18. amommasview
    November 19, 2014

    By buying them stuff just because they throw a tantrum otherwise actually encourage that behavior. I can truly say that my kids never threw a tantrum and I am pretty proud of them.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 19, 2014

      My first son threw a tantrum one time. I remember it very well. It started out at the food co-op and I walked him outside to the sidewalk and let him flail around on the ground while I calmly stood by (to make sure he didn’t hurt himself) and chatted with my friend’s mom. He gained nothing and he never threw a tantrum again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • amommasview
        November 19, 2014

        Point made! And that us what it’s all about in my eyes. It’s about letting them know that you know what you are doing and you stick to it, no matter what. And they can not theow you off (gosh, they do, but they don’t have to know it…)

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Marissa Bergen
    November 19, 2014

    You could always set up one of those signs like Lucy from Peanuts.

    Like

  20. April
    November 19, 2014

    Giving parenting advice is a touchy subject to any mom. I found that if they don’t have an audience for their tantrum, they lose steam pretty fast.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 19, 2014

      Yes. And I knew I was risking being judgy with this post, because of course – who knows what her day (or week, or year) was like? Maybe she really couldn’t handle it, but on other days she does much better. I don’t know.

      Really it did just make me want to help. Some how. But that was just not possible given the situation. That was my real frustration.

      Like

      • April
        November 20, 2014

        I have never been perfect, and I would give in to certain things simply because I was too tired. I’m not sure if I would do that over a toy they will ignore within a couple of months because there is something more exciting. But you’re right, maybe she was weary…I’ve certainly been there.

        Like

      • writerinsoul
        November 23, 2014

        Judgy is not so terrible… The mother is not doing her child or society (and I’ll stand in to represent society here!) any favors. Will we want this girl to one day be our neighbor, our co-worker, our student, our in-law, or anyone else we regularly encounter with that world view imbedded in her psyche?

        Like

  21. mjmsprt40
    November 19, 2014

    When I was a boy, there were no laws against a parent saying no, and worse, meaning no. So, I heard it a lot.

    What happened in the years since?

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 19, 2014

      Well, if you ask MY kids there are still plentiful NO’s around. 🙂

      Like

  22. lizsmithtrailingspouse
    November 19, 2014

    When I was a teacher I sometimes got asked parenting advice for teenagers at parents’ evening, though at the time I was in my mid-twenties with no children of my own!

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 19, 2014

      At least they were humble enough to ask. That’s a good start. I think the world could use more parenting classes. It’s like the hardest job in the world and yet the easiest one to get.

      Like

  23. rebeccaalene
    November 19, 2014

    Me either. I feel like you are creating monsters when you give into your children’s whims. Yes, shopping sucks for kids but it’s a necessary evil. Life is not all fun and games. Childhood should be fun but it’s also the time to teach your children about life. If you always give them whatever they want you are setting them up for failure. That’s what I think.

    Like

  24. tcmc7
    November 19, 2014

    Wouldn’t it be great if a store DID offer that type of advice??

    Liked by 1 person

  25. gh0stpupp3t
    November 19, 2014

    Good on you. 🙂

    Like

  26. AZVHV.wordpress.com
    November 19, 2014

    Great post! You sound like a terrific Mom. My daughter has a similar mode of operation and it has rubbed off on her kids (as has Frozen) so keep it up, it does pay off. When my 10-year old granddaughter Liz started giving her Mom a hard time in the store, her 3 1/2- year old sister said quietly “Let it go, Liz”. Liz laughed and it was over.

    Like

    • amommasview
      November 19, 2014

      Ha! Love it!

      Like

    • J.Gi Federizo
      November 19, 2014

      LOL!!! That was so cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Like

      • AZVHV.wordpress.com
        November 20, 2014

        This kid is hilarious. Wise beyond her years. Hopefully a child can not be damaged by adults laughing at them cause we dio it all the time.

        Like

        • J.Gi Federizo
          November 24, 2014

          I hope my kids will be just as wise and, well, hilarious 🙂

          Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 19, 2014

      I’m fortunate I had good parenting role models to learn from (my parents). Bad parenting just breeds more bad parents, it’s hard to break that cycle. The world needs more parenting classes. Maybe taught by 3 year olds! Your story is a great example. 😀

      Like

      • AZVHV.wordpress.com
        November 20, 2014

        You are fortunate indeed! I totally agree with you. Ive always thought that both parenting and finance should be required high school courses.

        Like

  27. Yoshiko
    November 19, 2014

    Even I disallow tantrums. So now my toddler quietly puts the toy back.

    Like

  28. The real me
    November 19, 2014

    This is so true. I have lost count of the number of times I have seen tantrums only for the parents to give in. When I was a kid….oh dear I had a sudden feeling of growing old there…….I was told no and that is exactly what it meant.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 19, 2014

      You’d think a grown adult would realize they are only feeding that behavior by giving it to it – but no. I mean I get it, kids can really wear you down. But all the more reason to stand strong to make it easier on yourself in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. ljaylj
    November 19, 2014

    Your kids will grow up to be great adults because of your parenting techniques.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 19, 2014

      They’re on their way. I’m fortunate that I had good parents myself, so I can follow in their footsteps. Goodness, it’s sure not easy!

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Feminine and Feline
    November 19, 2014

    I am probably the only person in America that does not like frozen.

    Like

  31. Free by Forty!!!
    November 19, 2014

    Yeah, best to keep your mouth shut. It’s a shame but I am sure the store manager/owner was happy!
    FBF

    Like

    • amommasview
      November 19, 2014

      I guess that is also why they put all those goodies close to the cashier. You wait in line with the kids and they see a toy or a chocolate bar and of course they want it. And in order to not have to be the mom with the child screaming on the floor, they give in…

      Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 19, 2014

      Yep, I’m sure they were.

      Like

  32. Athena OfAthens
    November 19, 2014

    Our society is breaking down because of parents who won’t say no to the Olaf pillow because they refuse to endure a fucking tantrum. Think about what this country will be in 20 years….I don’t because it’s a scary thought.

    Like

    • Free by Forty!!!
      November 19, 2014

      Ha, we are already there. Most people in the 20-30 (maybe even older) range were raised by parents who bought their way through the process as opposed to parenting. It’s the age of the trophy kids! I think Millennial should be changed to Trophials or Trophy Babies or something like that!
      FBF

      Liked by 1 person

    • amommasview
      November 19, 2014

      Agree

      Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 19, 2014

      I does not feel good, as a parent, to always say NO to your kid. But unless the answer is YES, it should always be no. Because maybe is a dangerously slippery slope with kids. “Maybe” is were all the frustration breeds for the parent and the kid.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Sandi
    November 19, 2014

    I enjoyed this post, especially your line about “this is not the line for parenting advice.”

    Like

Honk at me:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on November 19, 2014 by in Parenting, Unsolicited Advice and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: