Terrible Horrible No-good Very Bad Parents

octopiRewind. Sometime in the 1990s, I was going in to the Westgate Kroger and a tall guy with a rather grim look on his face was carrying a small girl (three years, maybe?) out of the store. She was screaming her head off. One o’ them thar Planet Ann Arbor parentally correct busy-body type people was following him out, anxiously asking, “Sir, what is wrong with your little girl? Sir? Sir? What is wrong with your little girl?” Ohhh. Been there, done that…

Kee-reist. The mommy wars go on and on and I think I know why (partly anyway). When my parents and I were kids, parents were pretty much free to do whatever they needed to do to discipline their children. Was that a good thing? Probably not, in the case of folks who regularly slammed their kids’ heads into walls or beat them with belts out in the woodshed or whatever. My parents didn’t do that to me but I was spanked sometimes. By hand in the appropriately padded place. Nowadays we are all supposed to do discipline with words. Hushed words at that. No raised voices. Ever. It’s all negotiation. If you get yourself out of control because your toddler has been just totally uncooperative for *hours* and you are trying to do something like maybe get somewhere on time, people think you are crazy. Get that crazy-woman some drugs! Now! You are supposed to calmly sit down and *negotiate*. Always. With your *toddler*. Okay. I do not think so. Sometimes you just have to choose to be in charge, whether the results are pretty or not.

I think I can count on one hand the times I swatted one of my kids on their butts. I did do it, rarely in case you didn’t read the first sentence. Hit them with a belt or smash them into a wall or put them into a washing machine? No! Raise my voice? Oh yeah! Kayak Woman is only now, as an old bag, learning how to quiet her voice. And, man oh man, she can still raise it if she gets “out there”. I know people who never get “out there” and I wish I could be better at that but I’m not. I am me. And overall, I do not think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I think that children have to learn that they will not always be the center of the universe.

I wasn’t the best. I loved my babies beyond description. I read all the right books and glommed on to all of the parenting articles in the newspaper. I did the best I could between my own instincts and all of the conflicting information I got from other sourses sources. There were good days and bad days. We got through it all enough that a few weeks ago we were all together hiking around the beautiful city of San Francisco and having a wonderful time! I think that if we are really going to try to prevent child abuse, we need to target folks who don’t read the local newspaper (not that we have one any more) or buy tons of books. I also think we have to support young mothers in every darn way that we can and not give them long lists of rules about how to bring up their children.

We have to support fathers, too. That father that I saw at the Westgate Kroger so many years ago? I knew that kid was okay. I know what happened in there. He passed by the cosmetic counter and that kid wanted him to buy her lipstick and he said “NO!” Like I did once about a billion years ago. He was calmly carrying her out to the car so she could settle down from her public tantrum. For all I know about that situation, the child’s mother was in the checkout line (this was before the uscan) and told the dad, “Take her out!”

3 Responses to “Terrible Horrible No-good Very Bad Parents”

  1. Margaret Says:

    I LOVE parents who let their kids have tantrums and ignore it AND the child’s wishes, instead of giving in. (like I see so much now days) I say, “Good job–but it’s tough, isn’t it?” I was once that mom in the store whose younger child was pounding her legs on the ground because I wouldn’t buy her gum. She soon found that she NEVER, EVER got what she wanted when she acted like that. 🙂

  2. Pooh Says:

    Oh yes, I remember a incidence of carrying a child in full tantrum out of the store! Not pretty at all! It did however get me to the front of the checkout line. Everyone, and I mean everyone, said, “Please, go in front of me!”
    That’s why overalls are such a smart clothing choice for small children — you can pick them up be the back of the straps and keep them out of the way of the infant in the chest carrier. Smarter parents realize that you are much better off not even trying to shop with two small children!

  3. mouse Says:

    “sourses”? (Fourth paragraph)

    I remember screaming “STOP STRANGLING ME!!” at the top of my lungs in the middle of the grocery store. Why? I was getting a hug. To be fair they were squeezing too tight, and I understood “strangling” as “being prevented from breathing”. (I still think it was a logical response.)