Parenting

Mom Brags on Facebook About Dumping Kids' Ice Cream. Was She Wrong?

“This is going to hurt me a lot more than it’s going to hurt you.” Cliché? Maybe. Nevertheless, before it became a punchline for baby boomers, it was true. Good parents hate to see their children hurt. There is no joy in punishment. Yet, they knew if they didn’t teach them right from wrong, their children would pay a heavier price later in life.

Defiant children were marched to a woodshed private area and emerged with a red rear bumper and an adjusted perspective. Now it looks as if, for some parents, it’s a social media status post opportunity. For Jamie Sullivan, it’s her viral moment.

According to Fox8,  Jamie Sullivan wanted her kids to “see” the person behind the counter at Dairy Queen and say thank you. Obviously, they failed the test. So she punished them. In public.

Jaime Sullivan took her three kids, ages nine, seven and five, to a Dairy Queen.

She said their teen server handed each child their ice cream, but none of the kids said ‘thank you’ or even smiled. So, Jaime took their ice cream away and threw it in the trash.

She said when her kids stopped crying she explained to them that if they were lucky, they would work a job like that some day, and she told them they need to be more polite.

Sullivan dubbed herself in her post as the meanest mom ever—perhaps Mommy Dearest. Her adult children will someday let her know if the title fits or if she’s just overly dramatic.

So… I am the meanest mom ever… Like… Ever.Took the kids to Dairy Queen after dinner. They ordered their dessert…

Posted by Jaime Primak Sullivan on Sunday, April 17, 2016

With over 35,000 shares and the incident becoming the topic of conversation on FoxNews, her parenting method needs to be examined.

Here’s the issue. This mother set her children up to fail. This was not a teachable moment. It was a pop quiz with consequences. Sullivan claims she has repeatedly told her children to say “please” and “thank you.”

Next page: Why this mother’s punishment did not fit the kids’ crime.

Children who grow up in a household where “please” and “thank you” are everyday occurrences—both required as well as modeled—automatically say it out of force of habit when they are in public.

Manners, like obedience, are taught within the home on a daily basis. “Please” and “thank you” can and should be taught at the same time as “I want.” A child’s manners are a reflection of respect, both modeled and received.

Good parenting does not include setting your children up to fail or engaging in public humiliation. Punishment should be reserved for crimes. It shouldn’t be a punishable offense to not say “thank you” or to fail “see” a teenager behind the ice cream counter. These are traits of childish behavior at best, or failed parenting skills at worst, depending on the children.

Sullivan said she wanted to teach her children to “see, really see” a Dairy Queen worker. By that, I can only guess she means she wanted them to see that the worker deserves respect and to show it by saying “please” and “thank you.” What her children actually saw was their mother giving them something they wanted, then taking it out of their hands and destroying it in front of their eyes.

This lesson certainly didn’t hurt Jamie Sullivan more than it hurt her children. But she taught them something, to be sure. What do you think these children actually learned?