On anger, discipline, and the New York Times.
First and foremost in the news this week: parents plus wealth times typical city congestion equals another New York Times slam-dunk! In one of the non-newsiest articles ever to belch forth from the New York Times, we find out that on the Upper East Side, chaffeurs (excuse me–hired drivers) are dropping off well-off nursery school kids. Who’d have thought?!
No, really, this is news. Because all those cars are annoying, you see. Cars get in the way! News!
Despite a strongly worded request from the 92nd Street Y nursery school’s director to either park or drive around the block, the hired drivers continue to idle their limousines and luxury sedans each morning, double- or triple-parked in front, blocking traffic (and not doing any favors for the environment) as parents escort their children into school.
While it’s true that the drivers should maybe toodle around the block a couple of times while they’re waiting for the parents, I have to ask, this is news? Idling cars? I want to march down to the New York Times right now and ask if they don’t have anything better to write about. (I mean, I hear a war’s on!) Lucky for them it’s face-shatteringly cold out there. Instead I’ll just post my favorite quote, uttered by the co-author of The Manhattan Directory of Private Nursery Schools about the increasing number of chaffeured kids:“It’s very in-your-face. But that’s the population they engender. How do you think they got a retractable playroof?”
Not by offering sacrifices to the leprechauns who live in your compost bin? I’m doing it all wrong.
But if the New York Times fills you with rage, for your sake, repress it! Verbalizing that anger of yours is not only unladylike—it will kill you. According to (probably male) scientists, women who vent their rage and frustration are more likely to develop blockages in the heart arteries. Instead, recommend scientists, you should tamp that anger down, way, way down, where it will fester and, slowly but surely, in some other non-heart-related way, kill you. (N.B.: Scientists didn’t actually recommend that).
I didn’t even know we’re supposed to feel anger. Last I heard, we were only permitted emotions that involve the need to cuddle, an urge to organize recipe files, or the desire to watch Grey’s Anatomy. I need to re-read my manual.
Even if you’re still expressing your anger, try not to take it out on your child: another study published this week shows that spankings are a bad idea. A research team at the University of New Orleans in Louisiana studied the effects of corporal punishment on 98 children. Their conclusion: Hitting doesn’t help, and most often hurts. In fact, the research team failed to find a single positive effect engendered from hitting. According to Reuters, “children on the receiving end of a slap can learn that when they are upset and angry they hit, rather than understanding their behavior was wrong and that they need to do better.”
Finally, reader Brandi sent in the following news item: when a toddler had a tantrum on an AirTran plane, airline officials issued their own time out: she and her family were kicked off the plane. At first glance this seems like harsh punishment, but consider: the three-year-old girl began her meltdown as the family boarded and was still in full freak-out mode fifteeen minutes after the departure time. What’s an already-delayed airplane staff faced with 112 inconvenienced passengers to do? Put the kid in cargo hold?