Note: I'm throwing my hat into the A-Z Blogging challenge sponsored by Tossing it out! What you will be reading via the letters A-Z will give you a glimpse into my world and what I do when I'm not here - blogging.
Let me set the stage, if you will...
It’s a few weeks before Christmas, about three or four years ago.
I’m doing a little last minute shopping at a local drug store. I am there to take advantage of discounted Christmas cards.
Standing on my left is a woman, also looking at cards. Her little girl, about two, is rummaging around the lower shelves where large plastic candy canes, full of colourful gum balls, are in her line of vision and within her reach.
The ‘little darling’ starts grabbing and rattling these candy canes and then tosses them on the floor; she then proceeds to reach for other items, which are clearly not toys, and tosses them to the floor as well.
Her mother, the empty-headed irresponsible female on my left, does nothing. Really, she’s in la la land and is so focused on her box of discounted cards that she is unaware the fruit of her loins is being an irritation to me and everyone else in this particular aisle.
As my imagination runs rampant and I envision myself drop kicking her (this could be either mother or child) into next week, I look at the little girl, who is now quite out of control with her destruction of shelf one and shelf two, and I say, “Stop that right now! Don’t touch!”
You need to know I said this loud and clear, in a low and deep tone; (none of this high pitched yelling for me) anyone within a one aisle radius would have heard - except the useless one.
The child is so startled (because it’s probably the first time someone has talked to her in this “I mean business” tone of voice) she starts crying. See, she’s smart - she know her parental unit will cave to her little crying act - at two they already know if the parent is weak or not!
The mother (if I can even call her that because I've lost all faith in motherhood at this point) looks at me and says, “How dare you talk to my little girl like that. It’s obvious you don’t have children.”
Tsk, Tsk….wrong thing to say to moi!
I smile; then calmly and very quietly, but still in the same low, deep tone, say, “If my twenty year old daughter were with me today she would be the one giving you a reality check on what an irresponsible parent you are. And I would agree with her! You suck at parenting.”
Her whimpering little offspring finally caught my tone and stopped her Academy performance, whereby I added, “I feel sorry for your child, she deserves a better parent.”
Now, for the 411 (that means ‘info’) on me and parenting. I am not an expert on parenting, but then neither is anyone else. And that is a fact, by the way.
I have, like many other humans, given birth to a child and that in and of itself does not an expert make! Shocking I know!
The surprise, to many, is how long of a process it is to turn out a relatively decent human, and then only if it’s done with intent.
Intent means actually giving a damn about the raising and educating of one’s offspring, and not relying on the rest of humanity to pick up the slack because one is just too tired or can’t be bothered.
The human brain is a blank slate at birth and needs to be instilled with compassion, kindness, respect, tolerance, positive attitude and most importantly manners.
These behaviours are instilled through example, instruction, and perseverance on the parent’s part. Dare I say this is where the failing lies - it seems very few have the time or the energy to parent with intent these days.
If you have ever watched a professional dog trainer you will note they talk in a clear, direct manner and with a tone that means business. No wimpy, whining, pleading, high pitched, endless nattering will be found in a professional dog trainer’s voice. Never!
Have you ever watched a mother in a grocery store when her toddler won’t listen - it’s pathetic. I will, on occasion, step in and with a commanding voice tell the child to, “Stop that and listen to your mother.” I sound like Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator.
What cracks me up is that some parents will look at me and tell me to mind my own business. It’s then that I tell them it is my business, because they aren’t keeping that annoying little thing of theirs quiet in a public place. If they would do their job I wouldn’t have to step in and do it for them. I know, I know, one day someone’s going to go postal on me!
We know that dogs with bad behaviour are the product of irresponsible owners - is it any different with children that exhibit bad behaviour? No!
I’m not advocating raising a young child as if it was a pet, but the premise is the same.
In the early, informative years children need strong parental guidance; they need boundaries and, surprisingly, they actually want perimeters in place so they can test them and learn what acceptable behaviour is.
Yet, so many parents think they will be depriving their toddler, in the throws of the terrible twos, of some great self-discovery or major life experience if they set boundaries and enforce them.
Too bad...all kids ever want is the knowledge that their parents care enough to set boundaries - it let's them feel protected, even if they protest.
So...have you come across any children in their terrible twos lately?