Friday, July 10, 2009

Permissive Parents, Stop Ruining Your Children

I was at the doctor's again; this time to have my stitches removed. In yet another exam room, the prominently placed sign: "Do not allow children to open drawers or touch the equipment."

It is not just my jaded opinion, but verified with the staff, that these signs are needed because parents are far too permissive with their children. And it's not just the lazy parents who don't actually supervise their children, but those who angrily defend their "right" to let their children touch whatever they want.

I first started seeing this when working retail when we mere clerks served double-duty as retail employees and babysitters/prison matrons to parents who let their children climb shelving, spin & sit under clothing racks, run behind the cash-wrap desks and play with the registers, scoot under fitting room doors, etc. Naturally, it is an uncomfortable place to be in, to mention to parents that their child is doing is wrong, so typically we just phrased the infractions as alerts. It didn't really have the desired affects.

"Excuse me, but your son is behind the counter," was met with the whiny, "But Johnny is curious," or the more superior & defensive, "I believe it is best to encourage curiosity in children."

When, "Excuse me, M'am, but your child is climbing the denim wall..." was met with a blank stare, you'd continue, "The wall really isn't designed for that; it's not safe." Often, after yelling at her child to get off the wall, the mom would angrily stride for the door, loudly & indignantly announcing how she would, "never shop here again; the store store staff is too rude!"

But my favorites were the parents who would point store clerks out to their children saying, "See that mean lady over there? You'd better behave in here, or she'll get you." (No wonder so many children freak-out in shopping malls!) In truth, there's little we can do in today's world of "Don't touch/talk to/admonish/ my child!" So it was a 50-50 split as to if the kid would run-a-muck or not

From there, it's only gotten worse, for as I aged and had children & my friends & extended family had children, I then had to face bratty children in other settings allowed to the same or worse -- including in my own home.

I just don't get it.

Back in my day, when we rode dinosaurs, it never even entered my head to open a drawer or cabinet at the doctor's office. Not because 'doctors are gods'; but I was then -- and still am -- operating from the very same sense of privacy & respect given to the drawers and cabinets at other people's homes. It's not my stuff; so I have business prying. And I teach my children the same.

But apparently this is no longer commonplace.

This shouldn't be so surprising to me; after all these years, I've seen enough permissive parents & their bratty children that my eyebrows should not be able to get any higher. But still, it's shocking to think that the numbers, the percentages, have grown so high that doctors' offices must make signs & post them in every room.

Reading them filled me with a great sense of shame -- how dare our society be so rude & reckless that we force people to make signs to admonish what should be commonsense, common courtesy.

In all of these situations of permissiveness, the parents not only risk their child's safety, & potentially the safety of others, but they undermine their own authority with their children and give their children a sense of entitlement.

Even if the children are not physically harmed, they are crippled by developing a belligerent sense of entitlement.

It is part of a parent's duties to teach their children better, to demand that they give respect in order to earn it; when they don't, they end up with brats, bullies and the sorts of children and adults that no one respects or wants to be around.
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