I just came in from a quick trip to JoAnn's to pick up the batting that was on sale and a few other bargains I just couldn't resist. I had expected my shopping trip to be an enjoyable roam through JoAnn's in search of goodies...a relaxing stroll up and down the aisles formulating crafting and sewing ideas along the way.
Instead I spent a nerve wracking 20 minutes while a woman and her four little brats disturbed every patron inside the store. From the far end of the store I could hear the children whining and fighting. As I walked toward the checkout, the clamor grew. When I reached the end of the line I was positioned across the cutting table from the woman and her children. The ruckus was unbelievable. At one point the woman said (loudly so everyone could hear) that she was happy when she went into stores and saw other children misbehaving because then she knew it wasn't just her kids. Oh. My. God. I would have been MORTIFIED if my child had ever behaved like that...and I certainly would not have tried to rationalize it to everyone within earshot. Her children were, without exaggeration, the perfect poster children for birth control! Then as if to downplay their disruption she proceeded to ask her approximately 3-4 year old son (again in a volume for all to hear), "Did you poop?" "I smell something." "Did you fart?"
Good God, get me out of this madhouse! The cashier told me that the woman and her children had been in the store for over an hour! I can't imagine how they did their jobs with the cacophony of screams overpowering every thought.
Maybe I am really showing my age, but my son would NEVER have behaved like that. He was taught from a young age that good behavior is rewarded, bad behavior is punished, and mom MEANS what she says! At age 16 my son would sit in restaurants marveling at the poor behavior of the nearby children and has stated more than once that we should "pity the children and smack the parents". I told him I was glad to hear that because if he EVER raises a brat HE will have to answer to ME! There is no way I would EVER subject others to my child misbehaving. When he was young, if J misbehaved I left wherever we were immediately...a store, a restaurant, even CHURCH. Now our church has a "crying room" so that the rest of the congregation is not disturbed. WHAT? Now the church is making excuses for poor parenting? If, as an infant, J started to cry...I took him out to the car, calmed him down with feeding or changing...and returned once he would no longer disrupt the rest of the congregation. Lots of parents did exactly the same thing. They respected their fellow congregants and removed themselves and their children when necessary. The child learned at an early age that misbehaving in church was NOT going to get them out of going. Today the parents don't have to deal with their misbehaving child, or
crying infant, they can remain oblivious to their responsibility inside the "crying room". Pathetic.
When my son got older, consequences were followed through. Once when we were in Friendly's he was misbehaving. I warned him that if the misbehaving continued he would not get his kid's meal dessert. He was NOT disturbing others, but was simply not doing as he was told. After the meal, the waiter brought over his "clown sundae" and placed it in front of him...at which point I picked him up and out of the booth, walked to the cash register, paid and left. He SAW in very clear illustration that Mom means what she says and there are consequences to misbehaving. He didn't get the sundae on the table (neither did I for that matter), but it was more important that he learn from the experience. And he did. Once when my parents took him to Chuckie Cheese's he refused to listen. My mom took him by the hand and walked him out of the restaurant...his purchased tokens unused. He never misbehaved for my parents again.
Now, don't get me wrong...I'm not a perfect parent and J had his "terribles" at three instead of two...but I TRIED hard to teach him right from wrong, respect for others and for situations. That was MY JOB...and NOT PART TIME, BUT FULL TIME! Sometimes I felt like I was breaking a wild horse, but repetition and follow-through is the same no matter for horses or for children. I can remember spending three whole nights lying on the hallway floor outside of his bedroom, picking him up every time he climbed out of bed and opened his bedroom door, and placing him (silently) back into his bed. I would no sooner get back down onto the ground in the hallway, head on my pillow, than he would open the door and step out into the hallway again. By the fourth night I could barely speak coherently...but his door stayed shut and I awoke the next morning to realize I had slept all night through on the hallway floor blocking his door, while he had slept the night through in his bed. The contest was over and I had won.
It worries me when I see the lack of self control and discipline being instilled in this younger generation. No wonder there is such a sense of entitlement amongst many of the teens and youngsters today...they have gotten whatever they wanted from the time they were young simply by misbehaving. Unfortunately misbehaving now is becoming more and more harmful to their fellow citizens and instead of a toddler throwing a tantrum to get what he wants, we now have young adults pulling triggers. And I'm sorry, I didn't feel one iota of pity for that mother in the store today. Instead I felt outrage that she brought into this world 4 human beings whom she has no intention of parenting...and we are all expected to silently suffer the consequences.
Maybe it's time I moved to an isolated location where I don't have to interact with parents who just don't give a damn about how their lack of effort is impacting our future generations. I think my son is right...it's time we pity the children and punish the parents...
But, so you don't think I am blind to the good parents of this world....I want to offer my sincerest thanks to all of you wonderful parents out there who have put the raising of your children before your own wants and needs...knowing that parenting your little people is the most important job you will ever have. I wish you patience, a will just a smidge stronger than your child's, and the glorious moment in the future when your child thanks you for being such a wonderful parent. That is when you know you have truly succeeded and your job is truly done.