One of my favorite past-times is to sit in Barnes & Noble and read. Today we went out there and sat near the train table and read for a while. There were more families than usual there tonight and I always find it interesting to watch other parents interact with their children. This time there were several parents that I wanted to tell to step up and be parents!
The first were parents of a boy about two years old. The boy played very nicely at the train table while the parents browsed nearby. After a conversation, the parents were ready to go. When they called the young son to come, he wouldn’t. I don’t recall if he actually said “no” or anything similar, he just wouldn’t stop playing. So the mom begins trying to convince the boy that he should go — they needed to get somewhere, he had trains at home that he could play with, there was some wonderful thing at home awaiting him. She kept walking away as she was reasoning with him. Once she was too far away for him to hear, the dad jumped in with all his excellent reasoning skills. Still the boy wouldn’t come. Finally, the boy decided to follow after his parents, but the whole time I wanted to scream, “Take his hand and leave the store!” When our boys were that age, we would usually give them a two minute warning, then when it was time to go, we left. We didn’t convince them why we should leave. If one of them refused, then we took their hand or picked them up and walked out. When it was time to leave, it was time to leave. Now, at 4 & 6, when we leave the bookstore, there is usually little fuss.
Later there was a mom who is raising a very self-centered young lady. At less than five, she was dressed like a little diva. I know girls love sparkles and that’s fine, but this child had sequins everywhere — her hat, her purse, her shirt, and her shoes all had sequins or glitter. After ordering her mom to hold her purse, she got hold of all the trains and would not share. Alex moved back over to books for the time. Her mom stood there, told her to share and when the child snapped, “No!” the mom went silent and did nothing. Then the young girl noticed that the mom had a book that interested her. She went over to look at it. Alex headed back for the train table and she dashed back jumping in before he could get a train. The mom did nothing. A little later, this girl picked a book up off the shelf, carried it over to her horde of trains and guarded the trains while beginning to look at this book. The mother told her to come away from the table to read. In a snide voice, this girl replied, “I’m just gonna look for a minute. Hold On!” She is probably one of the most disrespectful children that I have heard in some time. And again, the mom went silent and did nothing. At this rate, this girl is headed for a depressing future. When she finally discovers that the world isn’t all about her, she is in for a hard fall! I wanted to shake that mom! I really couldn’t believe that she let her daughter speak to her in such contempt.
I don’t parent perfectly. I don’t even get close! God has given me a responsibility to train these boys to love God, obey authorities, love others, be a good citizen, and much more. He did not give us these boys and tell us to lay down and let them do whatever they want. I am probably too harsh and too strict with the boys. This post sounds judgmental, but that is not my heart, because I know that I fall far short of perfection. It simply breaks my heart to see parents not even try to be the authority in the home. It is why Supernanny can continue for so many seasons. Too many parents are letting the children run the house and they only continue to learn bad habits and way. I sometimes wish that I would say something to parents like that, but I’m pretty sure they would just be defensive.
Okay, I’ll get off my complaining soapbox and go back in the prayer closet!