A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

You Are a Bad Parent

I don't mean YOU specifically.
Or do I?
Possibly not, especially if I love you and care about you and know you more intimately than the passing BAD PARENTS I run into.  I know, just like you know, that the spurts of insane child behavior are not reflective or my or your parenting.  I know that this isn't how things go normally.
But sometimes, just sometimes, when I'm watching on other peoples parenting........I'm just stunned.  Occasionally horrified.
I am never, EVER stunned in the "wow they're too hard on their kids" way.
I am consistently shocked at the "Wow....they've completely lost the whip hand with that one" way.   And I think the phrase "the whip hand" should come BACK into heavy usage.  I think I'm going to bring it back.
Let's reflect on some recent parenting I've seen.
Here is a child with their parent in a setting where the parent is trying to speak to other adults.  Now, my 4 year old goes out of his way to be a booger when I'm on the phone - so I get the whole "I WANT ATTENTION" behavior.  I do.  This child is hitting and kicking their parent.  HARD.   Hitting and hitting and hitting.
Let's forget that this is some seriously violent behavior for the under 5 set......let's focus on the parental reaction.
The parent pulls out my least favorite parenting phrase of the new millennia.
"I want you to think about your choices.  You need to make good choices."
I think that I am going to slap the next parent I hear say those words.  
Or perhaps I'll say this.
"Excuse me, I'd like you to think about YOUR parenting choices.  You see, you've chosen to allow aggressive/violent/disrespectful/unkind/generally bratty behavior to go unchecked.  You're ignoring a tantrum, which I understand, but you're also not addressing your child as a human.  You're not addressing what is driving this behavior and either curbing it with discipline or redirection, and you're not teaching positive social skills to your child.   You're not parenting because you are embarrassed by your child's unbelievable bad behavior.  Please understand,  those of us with children realize that they do crazy, unpredictable things, and that sometimes you have to step in and BE THEIR PARENT.  STOP THE MADNESS.   I'm tired of hearing your child scream like a lunatic, without you at least trying to stop the behavior.  It isn't normal and it isn't cute.    I take all three of my kids out to eat and out in public all the time.  Sometimes they are bad.  Mostly they are good.  WHY?  Because there are repercussions.  As a parent, you have to set the boundaries of expectation for social interaction.  And there have to be repercussions for violations of those expected behaviors.  Out in the world, as adults, the repercussion for bad behavior can be losing a job, getting beat up, arrested, losing friends etc.  We set our expectations for how we may behave toward others in childhood.
Think about your choices.  You need to make good choices. 
Even when they are hard. 


Elizabeth said...

I completely agree with you. The other day at the grocery store, this kid was knocking shampoo bottles off the shelves, I would say he was at least seven or eight. His Mom told him to stop, in this weary voice, and then he did it AGAIN. She ROLLS HER EYES, swats her hand at him, and then picks up the bottles. Then she says something like "stop it, or I'm not buying you a toy". Oooh, way to set the limits there, Mom. What's wrong with telling the kid to pick up the bottles himself and that you expect him to keep his hands to himself in the store? I always remind my boys that they are just making some store employees' job that much harder when they mess up the shelves.

Anonymous said...

I have left an entire cart of things in the store because Hunter wasn't behaving the way that I expected him to.
Think back to when you were 6. You didn't dare act any way but perfect. Because you knew that mom meant business. When she said you were getting it when we got home...you got it. And not buying a cereal was more punishment than a toy...lol.
Are people really afraid to punish their kids in public???

Susan said...

I was just reminiscing with a girlfriend (whose children are well-behaved and polite and a delight to be around) about How Things Were When We Were Kids. We both remembered our childhood in the same way: NO meant NO. It didn't mean MAYBE or I'LL DISTRACT YOU WITH A COOKIE or WHAT THE HELL JUST KEEP DOING IT BECAUSE I'M NOT GOING TO STOP YOU.

We worry too much about hurting our kids' feelings or damaging their self esteem, but the inconsistency of no-doesn't-mean-no is much harder for kids to process.

At my house, no means NO. End of story.

cranky mama said...

Amen. The problem with addressing a very young child as your equal is that a young child is simply not your equal. A young child needs boundaries. If you refuse to set boundaries, you're doing your child a disservice.

tammy said...

Some of it is just laziness. My sister in law has actually said to me that it is just easier...

Also, you should see/hear some of the things that go on in kindergarten. I am often appalled at the parent's behavior. Maybe that's why we keep carrying screaming kids out of the classroom.

Anonymous said...

LOL! I found this one amusing.

Never judge the way other people's children act. The Lord will getcha, and yours will start to do the same......or worse.

As a "good parent" (with only 3 years experience) I had problems with people whose children bit. "Those people spoil their children, and don't know how to raise them." Ha ha, by 18 months, my second child, against all due vigelence, started to be a biter. I was stunned. I disciplined by children, I "told" them when they were wrong. I did everything right. I still got a biter.

Changed some things (one was working at a day care center, where I brought my kids with me, and like ALL day care centers, was too crowded, so I quit, and guess what? The biting stopped.)

Since then, I am always careful. Think other people's kids tantruming is so awful? It just hasn't happened to you yet. You, my dear, have only been a parent for FOUR YEARS. LOL! I've been a parent now for 21 years, and STILL haven't seen it all, with my youngest still only in Kindergarten.

One can ONLY judge other's kids when one is 100, has raised all her own childrenn and ALL of those children (and you have to have had at least 3 or 4 kids or more to see the variation in personality) and NONE of those children have ever caused you a minute of embarressment, every hurt your feelings or anyone elses, and have, of course, NEVER shown rightous anger in public.

GOOD LUCK with that one, dear.

Frank said...

Re:anonymous - Actually, it won't happen to us. Period. Children are individuals and will be different. Some of the different behavior is bad or embarrassing, true. But a tantrum? Absolutely not. We don't take crap from anyone, ever, much less a four year old. When they are 50 we still won't take their crap. We will judge whomever we please, just like you did by implying my wife doesn't have a clue. We are forty, not twenty-big difference. Bad parents are bad parents, regardless of what you think. By the way, biting isn't necessarily a disciplinary problem, sometimes it's teething or the disease Pica or other things. An informed parent is the best parent. Everyone thinks that they are good parents. Bullshit. I know you were trying to have fun and be helpful but it really didn't come across that way. Dear.