Kids, Life

Carpool Confession

May 30, 2013


Guys, I messed up. A few weeks ago, I had a little carpool drama between the older boys I transport after school. Of course, it was my last week of the year to do carpool duty and just when I thought I had a smooth trip this year…I didn’t stop questionable behavior out of the fear of disciplining someone else’s child.

If your parents were anything like mine, growing up and while under the care of others, parents made it clear that the supervising adult had free range to correct bad behavior. Is it safe to say that a lot of Mexican parents did this? I remember hearing my mother tell my teachers to pull our ears if we misbehaved! Our kindergarten teacher would slap our hands with a ruler if we even thought about fooling around!! PARENTS WERE OKAY WITH THIS!!

How does it work now? Well, I had to figure it out on my own. Some of my old middle school students will tell you that although there was no hand slapping or ear pulling in my class, I did have high expectations made clear in the beginning of the year. This is mistake number 1 I committed when I started my carpool. I should have set some rules back in September.

So this is what happened: It was obvious from the minute the two 3rd grade boys entered the car that they had been arguing. What was normal is that they like to disagree on a number of topics (the kidergarteners and I like to just listen). What was different this time was that I could sense that one of the arguing boys was a little more tense than usual. Mistake number 2 on my part: Although, I asked them both to change the conversation, I should have been more assertive with my request.

This went on for about 8-10 minutes. I had an internal struggle about how long to let them keep going. I did say the usual of, “Guys. Ok. Change the conversation.” It wasn’t enough. As we pulled closer to the first child’s house, he became mean and was putting the other down. It was phrases like, “Admit that you were wrong.” and “You made a big mistake”. I knew the other boy had enough of the arguing and became quiet. The aggressor saw this as a weakness and continued to argue. I finally and firmly said, “X, you are home. Please go.” But I know I was too late.

The argument was about homework delivery. The more aggressive child had been out sick the night before. The other child had his homework, but it never reached the sick child. They were arguing about whose mother made the mistake of not following through with the homework delivery. Perhaps the topic of the argument made me uncomfortable to get involved. They were talking about their mothers and my initial reaction was to mind my own business. I give the kids their “privacy” and I don’t participate in their conversation, although I’m always listening. This one in particular escalated so fast and before I knew it, one of the boys ended up close to tears and with his feelings really hurt. I felt horrible. I failed him and I asked him if he was okay. I told him that I knew he was a good friend and that he didn’t do anything wrong. The rest of the car ride was silent. The thoughts in my head were not quiet.

I wasn’t even home when the mother of the sad child called me to find out what happened. I had made up my mind to call her so I was glad to hear from her. I explained what happened and apologized for what I felt I should have done but didn’t. She was great and understood my crazy explanations. By then it was out of my hands and the two families settled it all.

Everyone was fine for the rest of week. It all got worked out. I asked other mothers for advice, “What if this happened again? What if it was worse next time??” Luckily, that was the end of my carpool duty for the year, but it really made me think about the whole topic of disciplining other people’s children. I would want someone to be assertive with my boys if they were behaving badly and I was not there. But I know it stings a little bit to have someone set your child straight (even without the ear-pulling or ruler to the hand). No one wants to do it. From now on I vow to 1) set my carpool rules at the beginning of the year and 2) I’m not going to worry about giving the kids privacy. I’m going to get involved in questionable discussions. Better yet, I’ll just say: 3) Everybody just stop talking or we are not moving and I’m calling your mom to come pick you up. Just like my mother would say.

Sound good?

Has this type of situation ever happened to you??

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  • Reply Maritza May 30, 2013 at 9:42 am

    There is so much I could say about this. I give your new rules for next year two thumbs up. Xox

  • Reply Yvette S May 30, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Well at least you made it through carpool! You had a good year up until last week! I would definitely want an adult to discipline my children if they were under their watch. With this decision comes the trust I would feel towards the adult. Whether it’s a teacher, friend, grandparent, tΓ­a, etc. If my children are under your care to me that automatically means you have the ok to discipline my children. I feel it kinda comes with the territory. I don’t want to be the parent of the child that no one wants to deal with because of a certain behavior.

    • Betty
      Reply Betty May 31, 2013 at 9:59 am

      So true Yvette. I survived the year! It really wasn’t bad and I liked having Diego to myself for a little “date” when the rides were over. Def a lot of positives! Thanks for your comment! xoxo
      Betty recently posted..Carpool ConfessionMy Profile

  • Reply emycooks May 31, 2013 at 1:07 am

    Thumbs up for your future carpooling rules. I do agree that if discipline is necessary I readily appreciate it although I know others prefer to be spectators. Sometimes children do need to be reprimanded. We learn as we go along:)!

    • Betty
      Reply Betty May 31, 2013 at 10:01 am

      Def learned as I went along. The boys will all get older and new things will come up. I’m glad this mild experience happened so that I know what to do in case something more difficult comes up! Thanks for the comment!!
      Betty recently posted..Carpool ConfessionMy Profile

  • Reply Isabel Garcia May 31, 2013 at 2:57 am

    I find it very unusual that not all parents like that another person disciplines their kids. I recently had a few of cousins with their children over to our home. There was one child that always misbehaves. When I saw her putting her dirty shoes over our leather chairs, I asked her to put her feet down. Her mom, instead of talking to her daughter, immediately wanted to leave. She got bothered that I told her daughter to get her dirty shoes off the chair. I thought both the daughter and mom behaved poorly and had no manners. Before entering our home, I kindly requested that they leave their shoes by the door. Thank you for sharing your experience and your firm rules at the end!

    • Betty
      Reply Betty May 31, 2013 at 10:03 am

      My goodness! I don’t get it Isabel!!! When I go to someone else’s house I over emphasize reminders for good manners. I rather look like a crazy/OCD mom than a disrespectful one. ja! Thanks for the visit Isabel! xoxo
      Betty recently posted..Carpool ConfessionMy Profile

  • Reply Sharon May 31, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Ah Yes! Sounds familiar. I’m definitely one to set up the rules beforehand. My house, my car, my rules. I expect my kids to stick to the rules of others too and should they not behave I’m ok with the mother saying something about it to him.
    I went through quite a similar situation in our carpool and after a while when the words just went too far, I simply but firmly said, that I did not appreciate this way of talking and I would not have it in my car. It turned quiet and the child did get upset. I got out of my car to immediately explain to the mother what happened.
    Kids need boundaries. They need to know how to adjust in which whatever situation. That’s life.

    • Betty
      Reply Betty June 5, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      Thanks for sharing Sharon! I like the idea of talking to the parent right when you drop off. Rules will be in place! xoxo
      Betty recently posted..Protest! Poetry for Girls TooMy Profile

  • Reply Liz A June 1, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Definitely agree about setting new rules next year. I’m with you about looking crazy/OCD mom about reminding my kids to follow rules, no matter where we are at. I also do feel guilty for coming out as a very strict mom, but it has to be done. So when my kids are in the care of other adults and we are not there I entrust them with discipling them if the need arises, respectfully of course. I always remind my kids they need to behave and listen to the adult supervising them. One thing I do not tolerate well is being disrespectful of others no matter how hard it may be for me to accept their reasoning. We can agree to disagree and that is what I try to tell my kids when I discipline them. Kids will be kids and they will have those moments like the situation you had, but their behavior will be quickly corrected at a younger age in my opinion if they are made aware of how their behavior or words may be hurting another person. Don’t beat yourself over this Betty. It’s a learning experience and when we reflect on the situation and our own actions we will learn how to deal with it when it arise again.

    • Betty
      Reply Betty June 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      Liz, I have never said, “we can agree to disagree” to my children. Although I treat them like little adults, you have me thinking that those words can be very powerful to them so they know that I value their opinion. We do so much of, “because I told you so” that children have got to be so over it. I know WE are the parents but maybe those words can show them that even though we are disciplining them, they are being heard. Love it! Thanks for chiming in! xoxo
      Betty recently posted..Protest! Poetry for Girls TooMy Profile

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