I went shopping this morning, all by my lonesome.

At WalMart.

Shoot me. Shoot me now. My ears are still ringing with the squalls of kids who haven’t been taught how to behave in public.

Every brat—and I don’t usually call kids brats, because most of them aren’t, even when they’re misbehaving—that resides in a 25 mile radius was there today. Or maybe it was just one, exuding enough of The Kid Who Gets Beat Up Every Day After School to seem like they were all there, running around, screaming, whining, handing out headaches like candy.

I spent considerable effort trying to avoid just one of them. One 8-10 year old little girl, who seemed to be everywhere I went. She did not ask for things, she whined for them. She did not speak calmly, she whined at high volume. She did not laugh lightly, she whined dramatically.

She. Just. Whined.

When she wasn’t whining, she was running. Up and down aisles, darting between those obnoxious center-aisle displays, around people. When she finally took a step that seemed as if it might land on top of one of my feet, I glared and seethed, “Where is your mother?”

Wide-eyed, she turned and ran in the other direction. Two minutes later I heard her whining to someone—I presume it was the missing mother—I want to get this for Daddy. I want to get this for Daddy. IwantotgetthisfordaddyIwanttogetthisfordaddy,Iwant…

In my head I was thinking, “I want to put duct tape over your mouth.” What I heard from Mom, “Daddy doesn’t want a Nemo tape.”


Mom, I think, is so used to the kid whining that she doesn’t hear it. And I don’t think Mom knows the long term effects that allowing a kid to chronically whine might have. It’s not just annoying; you let a kid whine enough and it becomes habit. They whine in social situations, and they become targets.

My friend Murf said it pretty well in an article he wrote for Martial Artists Wired back in 1997:

… if our children are allowed to fall into that trap they will be unliked and possibly friendless as they enter school. Whining is an open invitation for trouble. Whining signals to the untoward that herein lies a victim. Whiners are often easy marks, more dependent on others to do simple things they could do for themselves, less willing to take responsibility for things they find unpleasant--it's easier to whine and complain long enough and loud enough until someone else gives in. When one lacks the skills of independence, however, one becomes open for someone more cunning, cruel, and untoward to take advantage of.

I found the kid to be incredibly annoying. If I could have images of duct taping her mouth shut flash through my head, what do kids who have to deal with her at school want to do? What have they done?

I’m not proud of the fact that I thought of the duct tape, but then, too, I wonder what in the heck her mother was thinking. Letting her run amok through a very big store? Letting her tick off other shoppers? Not trying to exercise some modicum of control over her daughter? We’re not talking about an exhausted Mom simply tired of dealing with kids all day; this woman never even tried.

And in the end, it’s her kid that will pay for it. Maybe not today, but someday.

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