Weekend Walmart Trip

During a trip to Walmart this past weekend, I saw something that has me torn. Torn, because how I raise my kids and how I was raised comes into question, and I'm not sure which is right anymore. After seeing a mother and her misbehaving son in the store, I am wondering just how I would have acted in the same situation.

Not long after we got to the store, a mother and her young son came in. I'd say he had to be about five years old or so. Plenty old enough to know better, in my opinion. I didn't pay any attention to them until the little boy started throwing a fit. Over mushrooms. I really don't know the whole story as to why the mother wouldn't buy the mushrooms or why he was so upset over them. But, as he got angrier and angrier, he began hitting her. Punching her, is more like it.

At first, she just kept telling him to stop punching her. But, every time she'd tell him to stop, he'd do it again, harder, all the while screaming at the top of his lungs. Everyone in the store was staring. I felt bad for the mother, and of course my first thought about the child was that he needed his butt spanked.

The mother went through the store, with her child in tow punching her and screaming, as if he weren't throwing a fit. She tried to ignore him, hoping he'd get tired and stop. When he didn't, she began to get angry and started grabbing his hands when he'd try to punch. Her words to cease came through gritted teeth.

This went on the entire time we were there. When we finally got to the checkout, she was in line in front of us. Her son was still screaming, still punching. By this time, she had had enough. She grabbed him in a bear hug and through gritted teeth, told him that he will not punch her again, and to sit down on the floor until they were done. At this point, he is crying real tears and said, "I WILL punch you again! I WILL punch you again." She turned her back on him and he hauled off and kicked her in the shin. "Did that hurt?!" he yelled at her from the floor. She ignored him and began to pay for her purchases. She made small talk with the cashier, all the while her son kicking her from the floor. When she got done, she began walking away without a word. The little boy got up and followed her out of the store, kicking and punching her as they went.

Now, first of all, I have to commend this mother for not giving in to his demands while throwing a fit. That would have been wrong. I also commend her for not beating the crap out of him right there in the store. It sure looked like she wanted to, let me tell you. I could tell it took all her will not to smack him silly.

My question is this. What could she have done differently to stop this child from hitting/kicking her and save herself the embarrassment? What would I have done? What happened to that child once they were out of the public eye? What should have happened to him to teach him that he can't act like that?

The reason I'm torn is because I know what my mother would have done if we had acted like that in a store. She would have snatched us up, paddled our behinds, and put us in the cart. Either that, or she would have snatched us up, paddled our behinds, and left the store with us. Either way, we would have gotten a good spanking for our troubles. I can remember numerous times that I got spanked, or smacked across the mouth for being naughty or mouthy, and I turned out fine. We knew how we were supposed to act, and we did or suffered the consequences. I really feel that the threat of child abuse nowadays has damaged our children. We can't discipline them the way we were, and they act like heathens.

Now, having said that, I can honestly say I can count on one hand the number of times I've spanked my children collectively. For some reason, even though I was brought up that way, I do not spank my children. There really has been no need, except on very rare occasions. My children also never acted like that in public, either, so I just don't know what I would've done in her situation. All I do know is, that child needed some sort of discipline right then and there, and I feel like she failed miserably. Although she didn't give in, he didn't learn any sort of lesson about hitting/kicking his mother. What a sad situation.