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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Who's the boss?

A little boy of about 3 years old is happily playing on a plastic toy vehicle in the playroom of the department. His mother is sitting on the nearby bench watching him. She's brought him into the department because she is worried that he has a painful hip.

Approaching them from a distance, I can see that the little boy is scooting along quite well and using both legs with no problem. But, for the sake of his mother's peace of mind, I will give him a formal 'once over'.

I ask the mother to bring the little boy over towards me so that I can examine him. She stands up from her seat and calls to him, "Son, son, can you come over here?". Her son ignores her. She doesn't move from her spot, so I walk up towards him, and say, "Hey, could you go over to your mum and sit on her lap, please?"

He looks at me, and looks at his mother, and begins to yell. Loudly. Then, he slides off the seat of the plastic scooter so that he is lying flat on his back on the floor. He kicks his legs in the air at me.


His mother doesn't move or say anything.

So I say to the kid, "Get up from the floor please, and come with me."


I look at his mother and motion to her to pick her son up off the floor. She does not move.


Her son is wiggling around on the floor, screaming and flailing his arms and legs. He looks over at his mother and notices that she has turned into a pillar of salt. Then, he turns over onto his tummy, looks up at me with a look of defiance, and then smashes his head into the floor.

He looks at his mother and screams again and tilts his head back again for another blow. His mother has gone all white and has taken two steps back.

Now, I understand. She's afraid of her own child.

Well, I'm not.

I put one arm across his arms and chest, and the other arm between his legs and pick him up the floor, still screaming and kicking.

Then, I plunk him down on a couch, and I say quietly, "Be quiet. There are sick children here trying to rest. Now. Stop. Shouting."

And he stops.

Mrs Salt has shaken herself out of her reverie and has materialised by my side. I fix her son (now whimpering quietly) with a stony glare, and say to her, "I don't think he has a problem with his hip. He is just fine. You may take him home now."

She nods her head sheepishly, watches as her son jumps off the couch and happily runs out of the department.

I wonder if that kid is going to get a scolding for his atrocious behaviour. But I sincerely doubt it. I reckon Mrs Salt will be the one getting the punishment - for the rest of her life.


Blogger aliendoc said...

Good for you! I wonder if you would have received the same reaction from a parent in Singapore...I hear stories of how parents turn around and berate the person who is trying to control the precious, misbehaving child.

9:29 am  
Blogger Zak said...

I think aliendoc is a 100% correct!!! I get that a lot in my job. Once, I called a parent to school to tell him how horrid his child has been behaving and had ended up poking a pencil into another kid's arm, he had the audicity to scold that child (instead of his!). He even called the poor boy stupid for not avoiding the pencil!!! I realised then that his child is as horrid as he!

7:04 pm  
Blogger tscd said...

Seriously? That's awful.

I think the parent didn't yell at me because it was obvious I was trying to stop the kid from hurting himself further. Since, nobody else was doing it *roll eyes*.

zak: don't teachers get to give demerit points for poor behaviour and get kids to do extra duties like weed the field or catalogue library books or help canteen auntie with dishwashing? Or put it in the report card like "improve social behaviour", "more parental discipline needed"?

7:33 pm  

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