the F – Way to parent…

If it continues, I’m likely to be arrested for Grievous Verbal Harm! Rubbish parenting I’m talking about.

I don’t know whether it’s the rainy season stretching parents to the end of their tether, or whether it’s the way these parents normally behave, but if I hear another parent using the F word to discipline their child, if I witness another parent trashing the responsibility all parents have to behave in a respectful, caring and responsible way towards their children, I’m not sure I could control myself.

Take the mother in the street the other day telling her youngster; ‘if you don’t f***ing well get over here I’ll f***ing belt yer one.” Is it just me who thinks that parenting the F way is just not appropriate? Does is not seem logical to these parents that how you behave towards your child matters and demonstrates an example of how they should behave to others?

Maybe they just don’t care or haven’t been cared for enough themselves to understand. Judging by the Jeremy Kyle show there seems an epidemic! An epidemic of parents who seem oblivious to the fact that your own behaviour is what has the biggest effect on the way kids behave and it should always be with integrity and respect. There’s no option with that.

Then there was the mum in Claires Accessories the other day. My eldest had dragged me in to ‘look’ at the earrings but I wasn’t deluded into thinking it wasn’t going to cost me! However the screaming and crying put us off earrings completely. Sat in the corner was a wailing 3-4 year old holding her ears; one because it was hurting with being pierced and one because she wasn’t repeating the pain with the second earring. There was an impatient assistant and an even more impatient mother both towering over her making all sorts of threats.

“You won’t look pretty if you only have one done,” was one threat. Another; “What’s daddy going to think?” Yet another; “It’s your fault, you wanted them done and you’re not leaving without…” Etc. It got so bad we couldn’t listen to any more. Besides my daughter could sense I was beginning to bubble over and didn’t want me to do anything embarrassing.

Is it just me that thinks this is out of order? Is it only me who thinks there should be a law against ear piercing for children under eight for example and shops should be accountable? And is it not the parent’s responsibility to guide kids to informed decisions and totally not the fault of a three year old for obviously making the wrong one? Or is any kind of parenting acceptable, the F word included, as long as it results in parents getting what they want – or consumerism?

When ours wanted their ears pierced I didn’t lay down the law – I respect their desires. But I DID lay out the truth, the disadvantages, the considerations – okay I may have been a bit heavy with the pain and gunk of infection argument. But by the time they went for it they knew what they were in for and there was no coercion either way.

Everything needs discussing with kids – some of it selectively until they’re old enough to understand. But parenting is not only about control – whether it’s piercings, tattoos or grades or what the parents want (it was mum who wanted the ears piercing more than the little girl), it is about doing what’s right for your child, for their future and for the wider good.

Because parenting isn’t only about the child here and now. It is about raising the next generation of parents, and the next, and so on, and thereby creating a society of caring people who will pass that love and care out into the community ad infinitum.

And despite using the F word in secret when I stub my toe or over certain teenage issues (!), I still believe it is a totally unacceptable approach to parenting our kids.


19 thoughts on “the F – Way to parent…

  1. Several thoughts on this, as always, very well written piece.

    I love language and the evolution of our language and one observation I would make is that the F word is not that rude anymore. When I was young it was the most shocking word whether used as a verb, noun, adjective or adverb but I would say it is more normal now. Some how easy to slip into punctuating your speaking without even realising it.

    This happened to me when I worked in the city in a swearing rich environment it is sort of contagious.

    • I realised a long time ago though that i couldn’t worry about other people’s parenting styles as I was fully occupied with my own. I got suckered into some debate about that awful American religious book that advocates hitting toddlers with plumbing pipes and i thought no, i just have to focus on me and mine and making us the best we can be without getting sucked into all the negative vibes and being every thankful that home educating insulates and isolates us from that we don’t want to be involved with
      You only have to look at programs like Super Nanny

      y to see that, as a culture, we just don’t like children very much.

  2. It is more than inappropriate but sadly common nature for our society where hearing a seven year old curse is starting to be normal.
    It makes you wish there was an exam you needed to pass before you could become a parent….

  3. I agree whole heartedly Ross ~ I have a special GLARE reserved for parents who behave in such a way, and even though I feel myself shaking as we lock eyes, it cannot possibly be as bad as the poor child must feel.

    I once witnessed a father physically threatening his young teenage son in Waitrose, and it was done in the most horrible, quiet, calculated, and frightening manner. It made me feel quite ill to watch, as I was standing right next to them at the time, and he had cornered his son in such a way, that he couldn’t escape. The father was a bully, and the son was terrified. I made a brave decision, and reported him, as the sight of the poor boy, crying almost silently and obviousy petrified of his father, was enough to make me contact the manager. He was wonderful and monitored the situation for a while, before approaching the man. I hope that if anything, it made that father realise, that someone had seen him do it, and was not prepared to let it continue. What must he do in their own home, if that was his behaviour in public, the thought just makes me cringe…

    As for the F word ~ don’t even get me started!

    • That was so brave of you, well done. I’m afraid I chickened out in Claires and just ran away. Thanks so much for leaving your story it’ll maybe inspire me to take different action next time. x

  4. You are definitely not the only one who thinks this is out of order. Sure we all get frustrated with our kids at times and say things we regret. However, there must be some limits. How is a kid who is regularly spoken to in such a despicable manner going to turn out?

  5. It’s stuff like that which makes me ask God why He hasn’t put a stop to us all long ago, not just the gross sins that make the news! Poor kids.
    I wonder what percentage of people have any thought past the weekend (except some who want to pursue money for the next 30 years or so). I don’t know too many parents who are consciously raising the next generation of grandparents!

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