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.