Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Why other parents suck.

Obviously, I'm not lumping you all together. Only maybe 80% of you. I will also confess that this post is brought on by a Dr. Phil episode (because you know I DVR them like a loser) and I was so heated I tried to go onto the message boards and rant. Except that only highlighted that this episode was from like 2007 so those boards had been closed. But had they been opened, *hold me back, bro*.

The episode was about restaurants who ban children which of course opens the conversation about if that is right or not. They had restaurant owners basically loving it, wait staff who are loving it, some parents and customers loving it and then you have the group of like five super angry moms railing against society for being assholes. Well guess what?

I bet your kids are assholes.

Now, as a parent of two kids who are not perfect 100% of the time, I feel completely in the right for saying this. I am what Matt lovingly refers to as the "Nazi Parent" because I am extremely strict. I tolerate absolutely no shit. I do time outs, I assign quiet time alone in their rooms, I've been known to spank for especially outrageous offenses, etc. And before you start screaming child abuse in my face, I can count on one hand how many times I have ever spanked my kids combined in six year so settle the fuck down. Sometimes when your kids graffiti an entire room and then proceed to flood the upstairs of your house, a time out isn't going to cut it.

I have been that parent who is in the middle of Target and out of nowhere your two year old starts screaming for the box of condoms near the tampons that has a really cool box. You're a mix of complete shame and embarrassment that you have a two year old reaching for condoms as other parents and shoppers stare at you for your obviously questionable parenting skills while you're helpless. No amount of coaxing or bribing is fixing this until that box is in there hands. The only reasonable solution here is to leave.

Yeah, you read that right. You abandon that cart and you leave the store. And don't get all judgey. I can count the two times in my life we have ever done that and let me tell you something- it happened with each kid once and never again. It was that moment that my kids realized I am serious and I mean business. I will end a play date, leave a store or playground, I will cut a family day out short if I have to.

But my biggest pet peeve ever is other people's kids. I cannot tell you how many times I have been at a restaurant and see the spawn of Satan screaming and making a complete scene and the parents are doing the, "Oh honey, stop it. Please calm down." Bitch- you've passed that stage. You are in full blown melt down and no amount of coddling and tears of frustration from you is going to fix that. That ship has sailed and sunk. Please do the rest of us a favor and take your kid out of there. Even if it's just out to the car or something to get them to calm down. If your kid tosses their Cheerios all around the floor at the restaurant, don't be a douchebag- pick those up. If your kid smears ketchup all over the seat and table? Wipe it up. (Side rant- if you have a big table and a ton of plates, how about you not be a dickhead and maybe stack stuff up so your waitress can just quick grab it? We always do that and every waitress has thanked us because hello- she isn't Stretch Armstrong.)

I have taken my kids everywhere with me since birth but I also recognize their limitations. Sure, I'd like to have a casual hour lunch with a friend, but a kid under two is only going to make it maybe 30 minutes strapped to a germ infested seat and that's only if you have non stop snacks and activities. Deal with it. I also understand that instilling manners and appropriate behavior is hard if you have a kid in daycare. Those teachers can't always get that concept over to every kid so to do it essentially part time for them is difficult. I've been there, I've done that. So when I see a stay at home parent with out of control kids? I feel even angrier because I want to ask what exactly are you doing all day? These are the kids who turn into rude teenagers. The college kids who are loud and rowdy and make everyone around them uncomfortable. The adults who are politically incorrect and general workplace assholes. You aren't born that way- you're raised that way.

And let's face it- not every public place is appropriate for children. Even my very well behaved kids don't go to certain places because you never know. I have had people come up to us in stores, restaurants, museums, theaters, etc and tell me Matt and I how great our kids are. I had one older couple (who were cute as hell sharing bites of their lunch and they had to be in their 80s. Seriously- so adorable.) come up to us and give us a gift certificate for that restaurant because they wanted to congratulate us on being good parents. It made our day and our kids beamed because they knew it was because they were so well behaved. So when you see well behaved kids out in the world? Don't be afraid to tell the parents that- it's called positive reinforcement. Use it.

Is it always perfect? Nope. We do our best and sometimes we take impromptu time outs in the van while our lunch gets cold. Oh well. Parenting never stops even if you're hungry. Be mindful of those around you. Be aware that just because we've been there and we know it's hard raising kids, it doesn't mean we want to hear you beg and plead with your child to stop because we both know that's not going to work. And for god sakes- if you say no on something... stick with it. Don't give into your kid because you aren't doing them or yourself any favors, you've just set a dangerous precedent.


Unknown said...

Sara you're a super star mom. I love well behaved kids, I hate rude parents. I don't ever get irritated at a kid for acting their age. But I do get irritated at parents who ignore their kids or bring them places where kids shouldn't really be.

Tiffany said...

I don't have kids but I completely fucking agree with you. I've babysat, nannied and spend a ridiculous amount of time with my niece (14) and nephews (14,11) and having spent so much time as the caretaker of children, I feel completely justified in calling out shitty parenting.

If your demon spawn is screaming in public, be respectful of other people and leave until your kid can calm down. You obviously can't control the tantrum whims of a two year old, but you can control how you respond to it. I was in Target not too long ago and there was this kid throwing an epic fit over a Cars DVD in the front of the store. Along with all the customers in the store, I was horrified to hear this mom calmly tying to explain why they could not afford a DVD that day.

I seriously wanted to shake her. Kids do not understand the concept of "cannot afford a DVD today." Pick your kid up OFF THE FLOOR and leave until he is calmed down.

This brings me to a whole different rant on parents who bring their kids to Vegas and let them play tag around the casinos. First off - take your kids to Disney or a local water park or some other kid friendly venue. I'm sorry I'm not sorry, but if you bring your kid (especially young kids) to Vegas (especially on the strip), then I am judging you a horrible parent. Why would you expose your kids to the people handing out hooker trading cards, prostitutes and legions of drunk assholes? That is not a family vacation spot!

I adore well behaved kids but I cannot fucking stand bratty children or parents who half ass their job as parents.

Blog On. You sound like an awesome parent.

Ruth said...

I know where you are coming from. I hear stories of people saying the things their kids do and they act like it is no big deal and I really don't understand that. Or when someone tells me their niece is out of control. I really can't relate because my daughter never acted that way. So many people don't get the concept of start as you mean to go on. If you don't make the kids behave when they are little, they won't when they get older.
I've taken my daughter out of a store when she was little.

Tina said...

Amen sista'!
I agree with everything you said. I too had no problem abandoning shopping, birthday parties, playdates etc to deal with a child meltdown. And if I said it, I meant it.

My biggest peeve is the restaurant thing; especially sit-down, non-fast food establishments. I left my toddlers at home to enjoy a night out, now I have to listen to your turd scream, throw food, run around MY table; and watch you oblivious to the whole thing. Spend an extra $20 on a babysitter next time assshole.

Ryan Adair said...

I think what pisses me off about parents the most is when they think folks without children somehow do not have valid opinions about how children should act.

I'm from a family FILLED with kids, and STRICT parents (so, like your children, the children of my family know the adults aren't screwing around-- No means, no.. and certain behaviors are expected not requested)I do not have my own children, but I know they are capable of respecting authority/rules/manners.

When I go out to dinner early in the evening-- especially if the restaurant is a chain-- I usually expect some unruly tots-- same with matinee films (or pixar type films) but after 8pm-- if I am out and people have their tired cranky kids with them.. I get kinda of pissed.. not pissed that the kids are being little jerks, but pissed that the parents don't respect that child's schedule enough to set them up for success and go to dinner earlier! For christ sake, those kids need to be in BED! :)

Shannon @ Bungalow960 said...

My parents took my siblings and I everywhere with them since birth. I was on my first plane at two weeks old. You learned that if you misbehaved, you didn't get to go and do fun stuff with mom and dad anymore. Or you had to sit in the car with one of them, which was pure torture. I remember leaving Target once when my brother melted down in the toy aisle. My mom just picked us all up, and we left. That's how it's done sucky parents.

Whiskeymarie said...

Obviously I don't have kids, but since I eat out a lot & have spent most of my working life in all sorts of restaurants, I feel entitled to say A-FREAKING-MEN.

I'm tired of parents indulging this sort of crap behavior. My mom would have dragged me out so fast it would have made my head spin if I had acted like that. But you know what? I almost NEVER behaved like that because all it would take is ONE time and I learned my lesson. I had a healthy fear of my parents and respected their authority. Once I was an adult, that's when we became "friends", not when I was 9 and needed boundaries.

It's funny- I actually have to employ this tactic with grown-assed adults at work (99% of the time these "adults" are 17-21 years old, and likely were indulged this sort of behavior growing up). If someone gets mouthy in class or exhibits really bad behavior, I have been known to give a "time out", but more often than not I kick them out to spare the rest of the class from having to deal with their obnoxious asses.

I'm all for "adults only" restaurants- if only the ones where you know you're going to be spending a ton of $$.

Julie H said...

My favorite is when parents take their kids out super late and then are complaining at the kids for being assholes in the store. Um hello? It's 10:00 pm, you should have put them to bed at least 2 hours ago.

FinnyKnits said...

One hundred times AMEN.

Are you sure that complementing parents on how well behaved their kids are doesn't come across as condescending? Because if this is helpful in encouraging proper parenting, I WILL SO DO IT.

Because I'm all about kids NOT losing their shit in a store/restaurant.

To the point where I will totally hand a candy bar to the kid who's screaming their face off about it in the checkout line at the supermarket while their mom ignores them.

Sure, I get bitchy stares from the mom, but she can fucking suck on it. I can't listen to kids shriek. I will not do it.