Parenting in Denmark: The day I let a stranger discipline my toddler

by Judy Wanjiku Jørgensen June 6, 2017 11 comments
denmark toddler
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 
The bus driver, a stranger, exasperated, red-faced, hit the brakes. He marched over to where my family sat, he lowered his voice and reprimanded my toddler.
 
His calm demeanour while trying to maintain order caught me by surprise. My son’s meltdown started earlier on while my family was in a restaurant.
 
While at the restaurant, my eldest boy had become restless. We couldn’t get him to sit and eat. Instead, he was all over the place, teasing his small brother, who in turn became irritated. The loud playing and whining went a notch higher, much to the chagrin of some diners.
 
We tried to distract with screentime, but it couldn’t contain his adrenaline. Exasperated, we left the restaurant earlier than we would have wished.
 
I remarked to my husband that our toddler was hyperactive. His Dad’s nonchalant response attributed the sugar high to a lollipop that the boy had after dinner.
 
The excitement turned into overdrive when we got into the bus home.
 

Fiesty toddler

 
My toddler is very ‘independent’. He is testing boundaries. Of course, this is a good thing; it is a sign of a positive developmental milestone for a child his age.
 
On this occasion though, he wanted to get into the bus and choose his seat, on his own accord.
 
At some point during the journey, we moved seats, to get closer to his younger brother. Who sat further up the aisle in the stroller section.
 
This move triggered an avalanche of loud wail followed by loud crying.
 
For a fleeting moment there his Dad and I became speechless, helpless.
 
That is when the bus driver hit the brakes, came over and told our toddler off.
 
He said everyone in the bus had had enough of the screaming and whining, and we could all do with a peaceful bus ride.
 
I am a mama bear when it comes to children, but on this occasion, I let someone else do the talking to my toddler.
 
The driver’s calm demeanour and firm words put a stop to the wailing. My son recollected him, reverted to being a ‘normal’ human being.
 

Self-entitlement

 
I am raising my children in a society that puts individualism before collectivism. ‘I am’ comes before ‘we are’.
 
Minding one’s business is the norm. It doesn’t take a village to raise a child. Instead, the onus is on the parents.
 
Yet, the moment when the bus driver told off my son, I felt relieved. I was happy that someone else other than my husband or I had stepped in to remind our son that the world is not a bubble.
 
I want another mother/parent to come and tell me if my kids are bullying their child/children. I would like other parents to look out for my kids, more so when they err.
 
Growing up in Kenya I knew that it took a village to raise a child.
 
I grew up knowing that actions, positive or negative, had consequences. I also knew that a neighbour or relative would take care of me and correct me when I did something wrong.
 
In retrospect, I see the influence of my upbringing, though flawed, on my idea of parenting. I am ok with having other people influencing empathy, honesty, kindness, and respect in my sons.

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments

You may also like

11 comments

Muthoni Gichobi June 6, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Couldn’t agree more mama fadhili

Reply
Shish Nyeks June 6, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Alicia Daniels this is inspiring..

Reply
Alicia Daniels June 6, 2017 at 5:05 pm

Waah

Reply
Christine Owuor Nderitu June 6, 2017 at 5:10 pm

Love it!

Reply
Wamboi Waweru June 6, 2017 at 5:26 pm

Wow… a great piece!

Reply
Suchitra Mogili June 6, 2017 at 6:59 pm

Beautiful article about parenting Judy, I had similar experience couple of years back when I promptly decided to stop dining with my kids…especially at restaurants which are not kids friendly

Reply
Jeannette Jordan June 6, 2017 at 7:23 pm

I love your photos and honesty in your writing. Life is a daily learning experience. I have on some occasions intervened when I’ve seen toddlers having a melt down and the parents in flux. Sometimes children need to hear a new voice introduced into the situation. They tend to calm down because they are trying to process and know how to react to this new voice of authority. As long as it’s done in love and a respectful way. When I am simply annoyed, I tend to say nothing and just leave the area.

Reply
Alisha Mayson June 6, 2017 at 10:20 pm

I really relate to this article and appreciate this kind of community family culture.

Reply
Marion Kagure June 7, 2017 at 4:30 am

that article waria ta atumia atano. i remember even a stranger on the road would give u a though whipping for wrong doing and one would avoid to report to parents to avoid a further beating

Reply
Nyawira Muchemi June 7, 2017 at 9:27 am

Beautiful piece with lots of lessons to draw from!

Reply
Eric Mong'orion Gitonga June 7, 2017 at 9:28 am

Wairimu and Kuki yesterday’s discussion on discipline …

Reply

Leave a Comment