Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I saw this article and knew immediately that I wanted to re-post it here on my blog. I feel like sometimes I might be getting cranky in my old age but then I read an article like this and I feel validated. It's not me. It's them.

The subject is permissive parents and here's the article:

If you're the kind of parent who allows your 5-year-old to run rampant in public places like restaurants, I have what could be some rather disturbing news for you.

I do not love your child.

The rest of the country does not love your child either.

And the reason why we're staring at you every other bite is not because we're acknowledging some sort of mutual understanding that kids will be kids but rather we want to kill you for letting your brat ruin our dinner.

Or our plane ride.

Or trip to the grocery store.

Or the other adult-oriented establishments you've unilaterally decided will serve as an extension of your toddler's playpen because you lack the fortitude to properly discipline them, in public and at home.

And we know you don't discipline them at home because you don't possess "the look." If you had "the look," you wouldn't need to say "sit down" a thousand times.

If you had "the look," you wouldn't need to say much of anything at all. But this nonverbal cue needs to be introduced early and reinforced diligently with consequences for transgressions, just like potty training. And whenever a kid throws a temper tantrum in the middle of the shopping mall it's just as bad as his soiling his pants to spite his parents, and it stinks just as much.

I have seen a small child slap her mother in the face with an open hand, only to be met with "Honey, don't hit Mommy." I have seen kids tell their parents "Shut up" and "Leave me alone" at the top of their lungs -- and they are not put in check. I shake my head knowing it's only going to get worse from here.

If I'm sounding a bit judgmental, I assure you I am not alone in my judgment.

Remember that couple that was kicked off an AirTran flight for being unable to control their 3-year-old back in 2007? The child threw a tantrum, refused to get in her seat and delayed the flight by 15 minutes. In a subsequent interview with "Good Morning America," the mother talked about how much more understanding the passengers were compared to the crew that removed the family. That may be true -- but I'm also willing to bet plenty of passengers were happy to have a much quieter flight. An AirTran spokesperson estimated 95% of the 9,000 e-mails the airline received were supportive of taking the family off the plane, according to MSNBC.

Responding to complaints about crying babies keeping people awake, Malaysia Airlines decided to ban infants from first class in some of its flights.

I don't know about you but I would gladly support an airline or restaurant that didn't make someone else's yelling, screaming, kicking offspring my problem.

And there are kid-free cruises and resorts for a reason.

Children are wonderful but they are not the center of the universe. The sooner their parents make them understand that, the better off we all will be.

This is the part of child-rearing people don't like to discuss, because socially, it's not OK to dislike kids. The ugly truth is it's the spineless parents who parade their undisciplined children around like royalty that make people dislike kids.

Parents who expect complete strangers to just deal with it are not doing anyone, including their children, any favors. They are actually making things worse. Not only are their children allowed to interrupt social events and settings when they are young, but they often grow into disruptive forces in the classrooms later. And nobody likes them for that.

I covered education for years and one of the biggest complaints from teachers was about the amount of time they spent disciplining students. Their threats were empty because parents sided with their kids. And, of course, the use of corporal punishment in the classroom is seriously frowned upon, and even punished.

Spanking is not a cure, and should not be the first resort, but I don't think it should automatically be taken off the table when dealing with small kids. We're so preoccupied with protecting children from disappointment and discomfort that we're inadvertently excusing them from growing up.

A young child slapping his or her parent's hand away in defiance is not cute, it's disrespectful. In my house, growing up, that would have earned much more than "the look" from my mother.

If I sound a bit old-school, I am. If I'm coming across as a bit of an ogre, so be it.

As a parent, I can empathize with how difficult raising children can be. There are challenges, especially within the framework of divorce, when parental guilt can sometimes blur what should be the best decision.

But I don't believe making a child's wishes top priority is a demonstration of love. Nor do I believe I, or the rest of the world, should act as a surrogate parents for somebody's bad-ass kids.

You wanted them, deal with them.

by LZ Granderson

So do I sound like a big judgmental jerk yet? Or are you shouting "AMEN" right along with me? I've seriously been appalled at times with what parents will allow their children to do.

On Independence Day, for one example out of a hundred I could choose from just from this weekend alone, we were at a neighborhood breakfast and we saw an unsupervised child running around with a huge piece of rebar. He set it down long enough to unplug all the equipment on the stage near us and then picked it back up so he could put it in the sockets and then knock over the microphones and other equipment with it. Doug, my husband, went and took it from the kid who we assumed at this point was an orphan and had probably killed his parents with a large metal device of sorts, only to discover that his parents were in the yard watching their child destroy thousands of dollars of equipment while they ate pancakes.


Maybe I'm just going to be a mean mom...



Leah Stone said...

Couldn't agree more. My kids will probably hate their mom but damn they will be the best kids at the party, restaurant, or plane ride or else they will be stuck at home. I am not above a good whack on the bottom.

Rachel said...

I 100% agree. And I'm with Leah--I'd rather err on the side of too strict than have demon children that terrorize the neighborhood. My fear, though, is that I'll have great aspirations but not carry through--I mean, disciplining must be tough or there wouldn't be so many awful kids, right?

Elizabeth said...

Well, I mostly agree. But there is great danger in judging others on a single incident. Because 95% of the time my children are pretty great in public. But if I was only being judged on the 5% ? Yikes. I hate the judgmental looks when I am dealing with a tantrum in public because there is only so much a parent can do when a kid is having a meltdown and getting rude looks from others puts an already stressed parent over the edge.

Of course, a kid screaming in the grocery store is a different thing than a kid running lose destroying property. That's incredible and kind of scary.

Aleisha Z. Coleman said...


Tanya said...

Amen, sista! I do agree with Elizabeth about being careful when judging others, but we all know parents who regularly take their undisciplined kids out in public. When the girls were babies or at an age or in a mood when it would be risky to go out, we stayed home. And if we were out and a temptrum was approaching, it was time to go home, to the nearest restroom, or out to the car! But geez, parenting is so hard...