i can’t parent

Today, I feel a little like Classy Rose, as in there is something bugging me.

Last month, we had a great visit to Virginia Children’s Museum.  There, I noticed the different parenting styles and I wondered what mine would be if I had been blessed with children.

I like to think I would have been like my niece, interacting with my kids, playing with them, teaching them, encouraging them.  I think she is an incredible mother.

The other parenting styles I saw left me wondering why there isn’t an intelligence test that people must take before they can become parents.  A few of the things I saw that bothered me:

There was a little girl playing in the hospital area.  I heard her calling “Mommy, mommy, look at this!”  She was so excited about something, the x-rays I think.  Mommy was sitting on a bench outside of the area, texting on her phone.  She never looked up when the child called.

The child went over near the bench and again called “Mommy!”  She was still a little excited.  Mommy again never looked up.

The child moved closer and put her hand on Mommy’s leg and asked “Mommy?”  Not only did Mommy never look up, but Mommy actually pulled away from the child!  She never acknowledged her at all and just kept right on texting!

This child didn’t even look like she was 5 years old and already she’s being ignored by her mother.  The one person she looks to for love, acceptance, validation.  It appalled and angered me.

There was the father that was wrangling, I guess you would say, his two little girls.  They were shy and looked uncomfortable being among all the other children.  Dad was on the phone.

What I mean was, every time I saw him in the few hours we were there, he was on the phone.  He would shepherd the girls from one area to the next, where they would maybe play if no other children were around, or they would just stand there and watch until Dad thought it was time for them to go to a different area.

Never once did I see him speak to his children other than to tell them where to go, yet he never stopped speaking to the person on the other end of his mobile phone.  I was ready to tell him where to go by the time we left!

Then there was the parent-less bully kid.  He looked older than most of the kids there.  He was hanging around the tree house area every time we went over there, pushing his way where ever he wanted to go.

He ignored all of the signed posted though he was clearly old enough to be able to read them.  He pushed his way to the front of whatever line he wanted to be in.  He intimidated the little children.

Yet, not only did most of the other parents NOT saying anything to him if their child was involved,  but his parents were no where to be found. I was not as polite as the other parents.  When it came to my grand-niece and nephew, I told him to move away from them, let them play, and wait his turn.

I am not a parent.  I have no right to feel these parents are doing wrong.  I’ve never been in their shoes.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be judgemental where parenting is concerned, but all I see are the innocent children.  Children who didn’t choose their parents.  Children who deserve to be paid attention to, to be played with, to be taught, and yes, to be disciplined.

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10 Responses to i can’t parent

  1. melsar93 says:

    I have to admit that I read the article really quick and I had to go back up to the top to see where this took place because in my mind I was picturing the play place at McDonalds. The Children’s Museum seems like it would filter out parents who were not at least interested in taking their kids to, well, the children’s museum.

    Until I got to the end of the article I was getting ready to whip out my, “You don’t get to comment because you haven’t done this 24/7 365 days a year,” but you already said that for me. Parenting is hard work and I’d hate to think I was judged on a single day’s observation.

    Also, the bullying thing is a fine line. The kids parents shuold probably have pulled him aside because he shouldn’t be a jerk, but if no one is in any danger of getting hurt I tend not to intervene. Kids need to learn how to navigate those social situations. It’s probably OK for Auntie Seashell to stick up for her niece and nephew, but if mom and dad step in every time you create a teacup kid (meaning they break easily). I will admit I am not very consistent on this, but it is my rational response. Parenting is seldom rational. The other thing I’ve learned when getting invloved with the bullying dynamic is that I sometimes make it worse.

    This is just my 2 cents and not meant to be argumentative.

    • Seashell says:

      I agree, parenting is hard work. I’ve had my share of the nieces and nephews for several days at a time. Because I get to give them back, I tend to devote a lot of time to them when I do have them.

      I so know it’s wrong for me to judge, as I don’t know what is going on with these parents on a day to day basis. I just felt so bad for the kids. My husband says I have too much compassion, and at times I think he’s right.

      As for the bullies, I agree about not intervening to a point. But this kid looked like he was 10 or 11. He was definitely too old to be pushing around a 4 year old, so yes, Aunt Shell did step in!

      I guess I’ll never really understand what it’s like to be a parent, unfortunately. Thanks for putting your 2 cents in. I need to hear a parents point of view!

  2. ClassyRose says:

    Hi Shell, I am a parent and have seen the situations you’ve described quite often but I haven’t said anything to the parents because it’s not my place. But when it comes to the bully with no parents around, I have spoken up because I wanted my daughter to know it wasn’t the right thing to do and also the other children who may have been listening.

    Children learn from the actions of others and when they see some other child getting away with it they will try it themselves. Parents are responsible for teaching their children right from wrong, and the earlier the better.

    You may not have children, but you certainly know what being a parent is all about and would have been a great parent. You certainly are a great aunt! 🙂

    • Seashell says:

      Aw, thanks Rose! I always try to tell the kids what actions are wrong when we encounter situations like that, and hope they do understand what is right and what is wrong.

  3. Hi Shell,

    You would make a brilliant parent. I would have had the same reaction as yours if I had witnessed how the poor child was treated. How sad for that little girl. As for the bully, I am glad you stood up to him!
    We went back to the UK, for a visit, and we were horrified by a scene we witnessed in a shop. The child about 7yrs was F this and F that to his father…and the father responded the same. What an example!

    I think the word respect is lost on many of the kids today, but when you see the parents I understand why!


    • Seashell says:

      Oh my gosh! That’s terrible! It’s scary to think what some of these children will be like when they grow up, but I guess they’ll be just like their parents.

      • It is Scary, we had the cane at school when we misbehaved. It never did us any harm, family values were upheld and we were taught the meaning of respect…not the “I know my rights” culture.

        Hey ho, well I’m off to bed now as it’s now gone midnight here and I need my beauty sleep! Hope the sun shines tomorrow…

        Boa noite!

  4. boyonabudget says:

    Yes kids learn from other kids. My son didn’t ride the bus to school until 6th grade. Within a week of riding the bus he came home trying to use a whole new vocabulary – he quickly learned that his new language was unacceptable.
    And yes, I agree that there should be an intelligence test before people can be parents.

    • Seashell says:

      I know kids try to do what the “cool” kids do to try and fit in. It a shame that all parents aren’t like you, Kathleen. It seems like a lot of them don’t teach their kids what is acceptable or unacceptable, unless they’re trying to show someone else what responsible parents they are.

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