I love kids. I love kids so much, in fact, that I used to be an Education Major (that’s a story for another time). Because I love kids, I watch Nanny 911 on youtube all the time. On top of all that, my mom runs an in-home daycare. I think it’s pretty safe to say I know a lot about raising kids for not having raised any of my own, yet. That being said, let me give you two scenarios that I witnessed at work the other day.
“Mommy, I want this!” The little boy holds a toy out to his mother.
“You have that at home,” the mother says, brushing him off.
“Not this one! Not this one, Mom!” He repeats this many times while she ignores him.
Finally, she straight out says “No.” The boy starts to whine and cry and simply throw a tantrum. I couldn’t count how many times the mother said “No.”
Suddenly, I hear, “Go ask the lady how much it is.” A few minutes later, she comes up to me and asks me the price.
“That’s fine,” she says and swipes her card.
Now, what’s wrong with this scenario?
1) There were no consequences for the boy throwing a tantrum. He’s learning that it’s totally OK to act like a rude, inconsiderate brat in a public space. 2) She gave in! You do not give in! I don’t care where you are, who’s staring, or whatever. That’s just asking for more trouble later. He’s gonna figure that if he throws a fit, he’ll eventually get what he wants.
What if this was a one-time thing? What if she doesn’t always give in? Again, I don’t care. You need to be consistent. Children learn by repetition and consistency.
I started out so proud of this mother only to end up disappointed. But this wasn’t the worst thing I witnessed that day.
This woman comes up to me with her two daughters. I guess you could say they were pretty. She was blond, but I don’t know if I would consider her “upper class” or not. Though, most of us around this area are upper middle class. Anyway, they placed down in front of me a dress (I think it was a dress, I don’t really remember) and a top. She holds the top out to one of her daughters and asks, “Are you sure you don’t want one of these?”
“No-o,” the daughter says insistently. The mother shrugs and puts the top on the table again. Then she says something to the other daughter that I simply cannot believe.
“That really is ugly, Devon.”
Like, are you kidding me? Are you serious? That’s awful! Why would you say that to your young, impressionable daughter?
I can’t even find the words to accurately express how wrong that is. Obviously, her daughter thought it a lovely top. Thought she would look pretty in it. Now, she’s gonna know her mother hates that top and think her ugly when she wears it. No one, not even boys, wants to be ugly.
We should be celebrating children’s individuality. Their ability to make their own choices. Not shooting down those choices that they make.
What if they make bad choices? Well, A) An “ugly” piece of clothing is not a bad choice. Beauty is both relative and unimportant in the grand scheme of things (ideally, anyway; why not always shoot for the ideal?). B) You let the child experience the consequences of the bad choice (within reasonable limits). It’s the only way they’ll really learn to make the good choices.
So, that’s what frustrated me at work the other day. People that don’t know how to raise kids. Questions? Comments? Leave a comment below!