Inflexible Adults: Curb You Negativism

Image via Flickr user dolmansaxlil

We at GeekMom came across a blog this week that pushed our buttons. It was written by LZ Granderson and was entitled Permissive Parents: Curb You Brats.

As I started reading I was reminded of our vacation last month and a child that was seated at a table behind us. We were at McDonalds so I had different expectations then you would if you were at a nice, sit down place.

However, this child was definitely out of control. He proceeded to bounce on the booth seat, reach out and touch my and my daughter’s hair, run around the restaurant, attempted to push my baby’s high chair etc. We ignored him for the most part with me rolling my eyes as the mom sat there texting on her phone and ignoring her child. Then, he got his mother’s car keys and tried to poke my baby. Ahem. No. The mother never said a word. I, however, told him no and he looked shocked like he had never heard that word before. I then told him to go sit down. His mother still never said anything and I am not sure she even looked up from her phone.

These are the kinds of parents that I believe Mr. Granderson is addressing. The ones that don’t take the time or even attempt to provide any discipline or structure. Now while I think he has a point in some instance, in others he is way off base. So off base that I thought he must not have kids, but he does.

Mr. Granderson needs to adjust his expectations of what is considered an adult activity. While a 5 year old running around at a five star up scale dining establishment is out of line, a child running around at a Burger King is not. Flying in an airplane is not an adult activity. If you don’t like the screaming kids, move to first class or fly Malaysian Airlines. Children and families have just as much right as you do to go on vacation. Sometimes the parents are actually trying to calm their kids and while there is the occasional parent who ignores them and let’s them run rampant, I think they are in the minority. Grocery shopping is not an adult activity and I can’t even believe Mr. Granderson tried to make that point. The majority of grocery shopping is done by moms and yes, we usually have our kids in tow. Maybe he can come babysit for all of us while we make a run to get food for our families.

I think Mr. Granderson also needs to realize in some instances, the child may be special needs. Many children with disorders, such as Autism, don’t understand social behavior and have great difficulty with anything out of their routine. This is the nature of Autism and no amount of structured discipline is going to stop a meltdown when they have one. I feel these parents are doing the best they can and it is unfair to ask them to not take their children out. If that were the case, the parents would never leave the house. So be mindful Mr. Granderson as there are always exceptions to the rule.

Now, Mr. Granderson is spot on with his comment about “the look”. I use this one every day multiple times a day. It only works though if you are already have structured discipline and they know what to expect. As to children that slap there parents, I have a hard time with anyone who gets slapped by their child and does nothing. A very firm “we do not hit” is definitely needed and no sugar coating. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard a mom say something like “No angel, we don’t hit” in that sickeningly sweet voice. Where is the authority in that? I use what I call my teacher voice and the minute that comes out, my kids hop to it.

When I worked in the schools and now when I am around other kid’s my daughter’s age, I can usually tell which ones are going to have issues when they get older. When we walk home from school there are kids that practically run over you with their bikes, curse a blue streak, push other kids down, run out in front of moving cars, throw rocks at each other, get in the local creek when the principals of the school have asked them not to and openly disrespect the parents on the sidewalk. I even had one tell a fellow mom to f-off. These are elementary age kids. My issue, and one that Mr. Granderson is attempting to discuss, is the lack of respect for authority figures and while these kids are in elementary school, it is only going to get worse from there.

So it comes to this. Children are here to stay. They are the reason the human race continues to thrive.  There are always going to be bad parents. There are always going to be good parents. There will always be kids misbehaving in public, so it is up to you Mr. Granderson, the adult, to deal with them because they are just kids being raised by parents who are most likely doing the best they can.

ADDENDUM: Since writing this post, I have come across a restaurant in Pennsylvania that is actually banning children under six years of age. You can see the post here. The last quote the owner uses at the end of the article sounds alot like what Mr. Granderson was saying. Personally, if he has a few unruly customers who keep bringing in poorly behaved children, why doesn’t he ban them? Why punish everyone? I support his right to do what he did, but I don’t agree with it. What do you all think?

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