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The Lost Art of Parenting


There are times when I wonder if the art of parenting has been lost, if common sense has become extremely uncommon, or maybe a little of both. 

This evening we were in town to buy garden supplies, and stopped at Fuddruckers in the mall for supper. It's a casual burger place, with a relaxed atmosphere and good food. Your stand in line to order and pick your food up at the counter when they call out your name. So we're not talking about a high class establishment, but....

Sitting at a table near us was a group of four adults and a couple young children, one being a young toddler in a booster chair.  During the course of our dinner we watched as the little one was first allowed to pour the contents of the salt shaker onto the table while no one moved to stop him or take the shaker away.  Then he picked up the pepper shaker and licked the top of it! Obviously the spicy taste didn't bother him a bit as he continued to play with it and lick it.  Once again not a single at adult at the table moved to take the pepper shaker away.  And I can guarantee you that when the left, the young people responsible for clearing tables did little more than refill the salt shaker and return the pair to it's holder on the table, with no awareness that this child had just smeared saliva all over it.  YUCK!!  

I saw the same thing happen once with a young child and a squeeze bottle of honey.  In that case I actually informed the waitress in the small  restaurant we were at, so that the bottle could be replaced (hopefully).  Once again the mother who was present did nothing. She was busy talking with her friend while the child was left to entertain herself.  In the "olden days" mothers packed toys and finger foods in their diaper/tote bag or purse to keep little ones occupied while the adults were conversing.  Apparently they are on their own nowdays!  And if they're a bit older they can most likely be found running around between the tables at the restaurant causing general commotion and getting in the way. 

A short while later we headed to WalMart to pick up a few items.  WalMart is famous for it's nasty much-used restrooms.  The store was busy and the condition of the restroom was as expected.  In the stall adjacent to the one I occupied, a young child of maybe three was being allowed to crawl around on hands and knees on the filthy floor while the mother was using the facilities but was fully aware of what the child at her feet was doing since they were engaging in conversation.  Then she picks up the child to leave, washes her own hands, but never even thinks about a good dose of soap and water for her child!  Just thinking about it made me feel sick!

I've seen the same situation where a little one will drop a pacifier and the parent will pick it up off a questionably clean floor in a public place and pop it right back into the child's mouth!  Considering that the pacifier was covered with saliva when it hit the floor, what are the odds of it returning in sanitary condition?  Disgusting... and stupid!

Then there is the mom out dressed to the hilt, or the dad doing his weekend stint with the kids, who brings a child out in public without shoes, a jacket for the cold, or sometimes even in clothing other than their pajamas.  Good grief!  How hard is it to dress the kid appropriately?  The obviously do pretty well with their own attire. 

Another issue is children who are left in the toy department of large chain stores to "entertain" themselves while the parents shop.  The children wreck havoc strewing items everywhere, and playing with toys in the aisles. Some unfortunate store worker has to put all that stuff back in order again.  It's not a playroom or drop off daycare, parents... keep your child with you and under control!!

These are just a few of the examples that come to mind.  Some days I have to really work to restrain myself from walking up to parents such as these and saying "What the hell is wrong with you?"  Yeah, I know that wouldn't meet with a good response, and would not likely have the desired result of a wake up call, but you just have to wonder if they give any thought to the HUGE responsibility of bringing up a child.  Is it anywhere in their list of important things to do??  Lets hope all of these kids have good guardian angels, 'cuz I think they're going to need them.  I try not to think about the generation of children they will grow up to raise!

Ok, done ranting... stepping off my soapbox now. :-)

20 comments:

  1. I agree 110% and it's really hard to keep my mouth shut when I see this stuff, but so far I have. We had one woman come into the municipal building to do some business and she let her 3 young children run wild....through the halls, into offices, into the Board room and actually climbing on the podium. LOL....one of my co-workers marched in there and calmed them down right quick. I watched the mother glare at her but she didn't say anything. Simply amazing.

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    1. We had problems similar to this at a job I worked at previously, Val. Women would even bring their children along when they were interviewing for a job, and leave them in the reception area. When mom disappeared for her interview, all hell would break loose! I have parked more than one child on the bench and told them to stay put. What amazes me even more is how disgruntled parents become when you have to correct their children for them. Maybe it's to cover their embarassment, but I doubt it.

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  2. It has got to the point I don't want to be around kids because the majority of them are misbehaved. I only want to be around behaved ones. Parents have became lazy and dont respect society. They teach their children not to respect society either. I see a lot of misbehaving in the summer where I live because you know they have a attitude they let them get away with anything on vacation. (lol) I live in a tourist destination.

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    1. I agree Kristy, I groan we we go out to eat or to a movie and I see a kids sitting nearby. I have come to assume they are going to act out and the parents are going to allow it. I can imagine what it's like in a vacation spot, because yes there is even more leniency then. You and I knew better at a very young age, and we knew what was going to happen if we didn't behave in public!! If we don't teach our children to respect limits and boundaries, and not to interfere with those around them, they are going to grow up to be self-centered, obnoxious adults... and they do! UGH

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  3. This may open a whole can of worms but i can say from experience, that when i was a kid, fear of getting a good smack to the ass kept us in line the majority of the time.

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    1. That's absolutely right, Ken - there were consequences for acting out in public, and we knew it, so we didn't! My children were raised that way, and I bet yours are too. Sadly, too many are running the show in their homes, parents are either too lazy or afraid to teach children the skills they will need to function well as adults. Every choice we make has consequences, better to learn that young!

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  4. I have been that person that walked up to a parent. I didn't say "What the hell is wrong with you." But, I've told children to please turn around and quit staring at me while I'm trying to eat and please quit bouncing up and down in the booth behind me; please quit kicking my chair it's rude; I don't care. If I'm trying to teach MY children how to behave, how can they watch other kids acting a fool? I don't yell or scream, I ask nicely, in my "mommy" voice.

    When the children don't respond to my request, I'll speak to the parent politely, if that doesn't work, I'll get a manager. I'm not paying to go out to eat and listen to kids screaming and run around like they're at a playground.

    Okay, now I'm off my soapbox.

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  5. Good for you Elsie! I've done the same on a few ocassions where the kid's behavior was totally disrupting my dinner such as the kid kicking the booth behind me or hanging over it beside me like a vulture. Often the biggest issue is getting Mommy and/or Daddy to put down their cellphone long enough to get their attention! What are we teaching the children about how important they are when the phones can't even be set aside for a 30 minute meal?

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  6. I so agree. I wish I were more like Bing. She has no problems with telling a child to knock it off or asking the parent to please do their job.

    Once, in a grocery store the mom in front of us was busy chattering on her cell phone while her two toddlers opened package after package of DVDs. Bing sweetly picked the discarded ones off the floor and added them to the mother's check out pile.

    "I think you should buy these, don't you?" she asked the mother. "I mean, your children just destroyed them." The mother sat there with her mouth hanging open and finally sputtered out, "You wouldn't be riding my fuckin' ass if I weren't black, racist bitch."

    I was horrified, but Bing burst out laughing, further infuriating the woman.

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    1. Go Bing!! Just as one should not talk on their cellphone while driving, they also should not talk on their cellphone when they should be supervising the children! Bing handled it better than I would have. I usually tend to just sit there and stare (glare) apalled that someone would allow their child to do that. I will speak of it a child is acting up in my home though. You bring them here, you make them behave or I will!! Sad we should even have to consider that!

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  7. It's seems that parenting has been become only a part time job and I just don't agree or understand. When I was growing up, we were well behaved in public, why? Because that was my parent's expectation of us. Now, on Saturday a friend brought his five year old over to play while we caught up. This young boy was well behaved and a joy to have over... but I was surprised, because it's a rarity and I told his Father that very thing. It's sad when it's refreshing to find well behaved children who actually say "No thank you, I don't need any more water." They should be the norm not the exception.

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    1. That's absolutely right Boxer, it wasn't even a trial and error process, we just knew better, we knew how we were expected to behave and we did. It used to be said that kids acted better when they were out than they did at home, company manners and all that. Now I think the reverse is true, and certainly is in schools as well. I tend to compliment parents whose children are showing good manners too, it is so refreshing when one see's it!

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  8. Oh how I agree there are so many stupid parents around now days and not just young teenager parents some of the worst offenders I have seen are parents in there 20's or older..........I remember when my girls where little we often didn't eat out because the would play up and me and hubby would get embarrassed but now days parents don't seem to get embarrassed as much.........

    I always would carry more then one dummy with me just in case my child dropped the one they had on the ground and I was unable to wash it in hot water. How hard is it to control your child and if you can't then don't take the child with you leave said child with someone and go on your own........

    As for children being left to play in the toy department what would the parents of those children do if the child was taken or seriously hurt because no one was watching them. I would never allow my girls to hang out in the toy department, I had to be there watching them like a hawke..........

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    1. You are so right, Jo-Anne, and that's another thing, children taken along everywhere, even to movies that are definitely adult content. Are babysitters a thing of the past? I'm sure said parents would sue the store... and likely win... if their child was hurt playing with the toys. I was in a drugstore after work today and two young boys had the display of diecast model cars all apart with all the cars down on the ground playing. I had to ask their Dad to help them move the toys so I could access the items I needed in that aisle. Didn't bother him a bit! I would be terrified to leave a child alone in a store nowdays, they could easily go missing!

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  9. You would think the parents would be embarrassed by such behaviour! I can understand if they want to bring their children up with a softer approach - but it's ridiculous to let them disturb others. Not at all good for the child's development.

    And the points about hygiene that you've mentioned... gross!!! Especially the one where the mother let her child crawl around on the bathroom floor! You don't want a kid touching anything in a public bathroom - much less playing on the floor!

    (By the way, I'm back!)

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    1. Bozo! I've missed you! That's right, children need to be considerate of others, but then their parents need to be that first!! Yes, the bathroom thing really got to me, the place was so dirty that even I didn't want to touch anything!!

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    2. Oh, I totally agree! I always side with children over parents lol... they're just doing what they've been taught!

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    3. Children can and do misbehave at times, because they are children and learning the rules. It is the parents' job to correct them, and that's what seems to be so often missing. Parents don't teach their children right from wrong anymore. How are they supposed to grow up and function in society as adults?

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  10. Ugh, it's rampant everywhere. Just recently I was in an open-air cafe. The tourists (I knew because they were English-speaking) at the next table had a very young toddler with them who was SHRIEKING at the top of her lungs for what felt like forever. Did nothing to try and stop her, had no toys for her, no interaction at all, no wonder she was shrieking for attention. Poor thing couldn't have been more than 9 or 10 months old, far too young to be expected to sit silently and do nothing in a restaurant. When they finally had enough (and long after the other patrons had) they let her down to the ground, where she promptly (and unsurprisingly) crawled straight for the road, at which point the father got angry and threw the child into her stroller, yanking the straps unreasonably tight. When the mother said she wasn't sure the baby could breathe well that way he smacked the mother's had away! Still no affection for the baby, no attention at all other than negative. Broke my heart. They finally left but had I any idea who they were or where to find them I'd have seriously considered calling child services. So awful, and if that's what they do in public god only knows what happens in private...

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    1. Oh Lord, Robin! I've seen things like this too, where your heart just breaks for the child, because as you say, if the parents treat them like this in public, imagine what happens in private. Children are not an inconvenience in life, they are your purpose and your number one priority! I hope there is a special place in hell for people who abuse/neglect their children, there should be!

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