Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I was a bad boy

Maybe I was five years old. Not sure. Mother was buying fruit and vegetables at the greengrocers. I was standing outside. Back in those days, the price of the fruit was written on a plastic tag which was attached to a metal spike which was stuck into a piece of fruit. Very hygienic.

I idly pulled out a spike from a piece of fruit and stuck it back in. Did it again, but stuck it in a different spot. Next time, I stuck it in another piece of fruit. This is passing the time. Then the greengrocer yelled at me.

I was mortified, humiliated and embarrassed. The smart mouthed me wants to say that I learned a lesson, don't get caught. But I knew I had done wrong and that I had been told off good and proper. I learnt some sort of understanding about what is other people's property and you just can't do what you like to it, including to peaches in the greengrocers.

I can't recall now, but I expect all the greengrocer said was, 'hey, stop stabbing the fruit', in a very gruff tone. Mother was embarrassed too. I think I might have been popped into the freezer for the rest of the day and not spoken to. Mother most certainly did not say, Andrew, be a good boy and don't do that, or tell anyone about the nasty man who yelled at me.

There must be a hundred and one ways of bringing up children but approving or tolerating bad behaviour cannot be one of them. However, it seems I have such an old fashioned view of children.


  1. Anonymous9:25 pm

    The things children remember! As for the freezer....brghhhh!

  2. Oh, yes, tolerating bad behaviour is soooooooooo healthy for all concerned....NOT!
    Children will push to test the boundaries and will get worse and worse, waiting for someone to give enough of fat rats clacker about them to say "Stop, this is not acceptable" but the recent trends have created several generations of self-absorbed, self-indulged egocentric monsters who demand entertainment and gratification tailored to their whims.

  3. What I find hard to deal with is having people visit with unruly children. I don't feel comfortable in telling them off myself, and think the parents should do something themselves. In their house, my kids doing the wrong thing would be stopped by me. Why do other parents think it is ok for their kids to do the wrong thing in my house, while they watch and say naught??

  4. Figure of speech Scott. Ignored for the day.

    Precisely Jayne,which is why I am the grumpy uncle.

    Raelene, I would have no problem having a word to a stranger's kid but a friend's......oh, hard one.

  5. There is also the age, role reversal situation.

    Before my mother went into the nursing home she used to accompany me shopping at Coles.

    Her dementia was already causing her to behave oddly and most of the staff there were familiar with this and generously made allowances.

    Mum had developed this habit of stopping in the fruit section and removing the stalks from apples.

    One day a staff member spoke to her about this and whilst he was perfectly entitled to do so his manner was rude so I complained to the store manager.

    Realising that Mum was in the wrong I modified my complaint by conceding that the staff were generally understanding of her condition. Interestingly the manager seemed amazed by my concession. I had the impression that he never heard a good word from customers about his staff.

  6. Jayne said everything that I had to say. Prior to going to someone else's place, or going shopping I set boundaries.
    An example of shopping for me is this.."Don't ask for anything, because you are not getting anything". If the kids are told they will get something then I set the limit, and if they try to budge it then I just do not get them a thing.
    Setting the limits of what is bought, and also how the kids are epected to behave is the key for our family.
    On a wonderful note, I went to the last parent teacher interview and well, Tomas went so well. Yet again the teacher complimented him on hs manners and his thoughtfulness.. so I am guessing those limits I set are not harmful afterall.

  7. Except Victor, in this role reversal situation, you can't give her a hidden pinch. You can't tell her in advance to behave or tell her off afterwards. Not great for you and if the staff were generally understanding, well done them.

    Cazzie, pretty pleasing to hear that your son is well mannered. Every mother would like to hear that.

  8. i can imagine it would be very satisfying to stab a fruit with a sharp implement!

  9. I think it's very good for people to discipline children with a firm/stern tone...even other people's children.

    On the other hand, it is not okay for an adult to yell uncontrollably at your child, pace back and forth like a maniac, shake their finger in your child's face, and threaten to do something to ruin their birthday party which is supposed to begin in an hour.

    I agree that we shouldn't approve of and tolerate bad behavior, but this should apply both to children AND adults. In my opinion, adults behave much worse than children. Who's going to discipline them?

  10. Fenz, clearly I thought it was.

    Right Dina, that is just stupid behaviour. I guess you have mothers there too who spend their whole time screaming and yelling and threatening their kids, but to no apparent effect. The kids maraud on regardless.

  11. We were treated like this, and I thank God for Mum and dad's common sense and love. Its not love to be appeasing kids all the time

  12. And aren't the appeasement results really flowing through into young adults now.