Becka's Babble

Ramblings of a Romance Writer

Monday, October 20, 2008

What the Heck is Wrong with Other People's Kids?!?

Okay, folks, time for a rant. What the heck is wrong with other people's kids? Seriously?

Today I was taking my kids to their art class. We have to go to the Cultural Arts Center, which is a converted Lutheran Church, and their classes are downstairs. There's a little swinging gate on the stairs down the kids love to take turns opening.

Anyway, we go downstairs, I drop off the kids and head on back upstairs. When I'm literally on the top stair right at the swinging gate, a troupe of four kids go racing by me, none of which say, "Excuse me" or even look at me as I'm forced to wait for them to thunder on by before I can continue on my way. When I do, one more child who must have been in the rear of the pack comes around the corner and literally PUSHES me out of the way so he can get by me. PUSHES!!!

I was this close > < to yelling, "Excuse YOU!" But then came mom, who didn't say one word to me, didn't even look at me. Nothing like "Excuse us" or "I'm so sorry". I was appalled! Now, keep in mind these kids are older, maybe 7,8,9 years old - they should know how to be polite. I might expect a toddler or little kid to push by me, but older kids? And not even MOM was polite??

It takes a lot to offend me, folks, but today I was. I don't know if it was the pregnancy "Bitch" hormones going into overdrive or the fact it was my snacktime and I needed to boost my blood sugar. Perhaps it was just plain ol' righteous indignation.

Because seriously, if you don't instill MANNERS into your kids, no wonder they turn into little hellions.

My second daughter Miriam asked me the other day while we were at Fred Meyer's, a big grocery chain here in Oregon, "Mommy, how come every time we come here we hear that?"

"Hear what?" I say.

"That baby crying."

I listen, and sure enough, there's some kid wailing away a few aisles over. I guess I'd just tuned it out.

"Well, I don't know," I answer. "Guess someone's cranky."

So when we catch up with said squawking child, he's throwing a tantrum in the cart and mom is shopping like NOTHING'S GOING ON!!! Uhm, woman, your baby's crying, and you might think ignoring it will make the child stop, but I'm here to tell you that you've gotta instill some kind of DISCIPLINE to your child, yes, even in the MIDDLE OF FREAKIN' FREDDY'S IF YA GOTTA!!!

When my kids act up at the store (on those very rare occasions), I speak softly to them, so no one else can hear (because really, it's no one else's business). I say, "You keep this up, I'm going to smack you right here in the store, I don't care who's watching."

My kids, knowing that I MEAN what I say, back off and behave afterwards, perhaps all the while misty-eyed at the thought of Mommy punishing them in public.

I'm telling you right now, I was downright afraid of my mother when I was a kid. She didn't ask for respect, she demanded it. I'm not talking fear like OMG she's going to beat me, but fear as in I knew she meant every word she said and I didn't dare test her limits. This is the same kind of mommy I wanted to be with my children, albeit loving on the same token.

I love you to pieces, but if you give me attitude, disrespect, or disobey me, there WILL be Hell to pay.

Now I don't beat my children. Please. I do believe in smacking their hand, and we have, on occasion, spanked our kids. But our kids learned early on not to do the things that prompted spanking, and now, it's very RARE we ever have to do it. Just the threat usually reins them in.

Of course, we also teach them to be respectful, to wait until it's their turn to speak, never to push anyone, say "please" and "thank you" not as an afterthought, but as the first thing you say when someone does something nice for you.

This just seems like common sense to me. My husband and I did NOT get "lucky" four times over. We were not blessed with overly angelic children. We simply taught them early on the meaning of respect and that they are expected to obey our rules. Why is that so hard for some parents? I just don't get it.

Perhaps I can't expect too much from that mom who had no manners herself...



At 11:20 AM , Blogger Luann said...

You are absolutely right to be indignant at the childrens' behavior and moreso at the mom's. In the children's defense, if the mom is rude and unthoughtful then they've learned from her example. Shame on her for being such a poor one! She has done her children a great disservice by not teaching them to be polite, respectful, and kind.
You and Jim can be very proud of the perseverance you have both shown in being consistent in your children's upbringing and in instilling values in them that will serve them well all their lives.

At 5:55 PM , Blogger Susan Kelley said...

You're a mother after my own heart. I'm a school teacher and it's rather amazing the lack of basic manners but then you meet the parents on back to school night and you understand the old saying about the acorn falling close to the tree.
Take care of that new one on the way. Not many weeks left.

At 6:28 PM , Blogger Becka said...


Geez, I know what you mean. It's a really sad state of affairs when well-behaved children are the exception, not the rule.

I can't tell you how many times DH and I have seen people "literally" roll their eyes when we go into restaurants towing four children behind us, only to have the very same people come up to us and compliment us that our kids aren't screaming and running around the restaurant playing hide-and-seek under their table. :P

It's really sad that kids who sit at the table and are quietly having a conversation and eating their food like they're supposed to is looked on in "shock and awe".



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