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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Walking Birth Control?

That is the title of the article I found at the Women's Press, and of course, the parenting described self-righteously within naturally lends to the idea that people with children provide the only "birth control" needed.

How sad, how very very sad.

To summarize, the author is describing an out-of-control 2 1/2 year old who happens to love condiments. Now, I'm not criticizing this...I seem to remember my own fascination with condiments as a child. This is only natural. I have to confess that sometimes I STILL play with the sugar packets...although not to the degree described in this article:

Restaurants should take the extra condiment expense out of that $2 they charge for 12 cents worth of fountain pop. Believe me, we won't break the bank over a dozen sugar packets and a handful of butter pats. Heck, charge me extra for them-but unless you are going to get that food here quickly, don't take away our only viable entertainment and chance to be out among people.

A DOZEN sugar packets? A HANDFUL of butter pats? Condiments as the ONLY viable entertainment...in a restaurant, mind you.

What? Has this woman never heard of setting proper limits? Since WHEN is it appropriate to let one's children go nuts on not a couple sugar packets...but A DOZEN? And a handful of butter pats? No wonder so many children are fighting obesity...the mothers are not reaching out and telling them, firmly, "NO! That is NOT what that is for! If you want butter, you can have some with your food."

Followed by the removal of the condiments from the reach of the children. Or, God forbid, a gentle hand slap if the little hand reaches out in disobedience towards the condiment rack again. The proper course of action would be for the mother to be prepared and have some kind of appropriate activity on hand...maybe a coloring book, or ask for the crayons...all restuarants have them.


She actually does address the crayon issue, to give this mother some credit:


For most toddlers crayons and placemats printed with a dot-to-dot drawing of a carrot, a crossword puzzle and an all-food-related word find it about the fascination equivalent of being offered a stick. Actually, my kids would prefer the stick. They are creative girls and at the very least they could use it to whack each other across the table and whacking each other makes them happy.


Again, I have to ask...exactly HOW is "wacking each other with a stick" appropriate behavior in a restaurant, in the home at the dinner table, etc., a good idea? What does this teach the children in question anything other than the idea that they can do whatever they want, wherever they want? How does this lead to good behavior ever?

It doesn't. Simple as that.

I seem to remember my mother taking condiments away, and I seem to remember being disciplined for misbehaving as described above...and in that place, we were taught proper table manners. We do not shout at the dinner table...we do not hit each other...ever! If we are bored, we will find something proper to do or we will leave said restaurant without eating and we will NOT return to a restaurant until we display proper behavior at the dinnner table very consistently.

Thank you, Mom.

This apparently self-loathing mother has bought into the cultural idea that it is damaging to set limits for one's children...after all, we need to make sure they grow up with a healthy sense of self! We can't discourage their creativity, especially when it is inappropriate! To do so may mean we are squelching the next great artist of the modern world!

We wouldn't want that to happen. Never mind that said potential great artist would never go anywhere, no matter what the talent, were said artist never to learn appropriate behavior.

Don't get me wrong: I absolutely adore my children and being a parent is the best thing I have ever done in my life. It has strengthened my faith, my respect for my parents and my compassion for all living beings. At the same time, seeing people parent when it isn't pretty may help people make a more informed decision about becoming parents themselves. Eating out with children is one of those not so pretty parenting times.

The platitudes she expresses here are nice, but there's only one problem...her parenting is absent.

Now, I realize that many parents are harried, and everyone has bad days, but a line has to be drawn somewhere. Had my brother or I behaved as this woman tolerates...nay, encourages, we would have been banned from the dinner table in our own home! Never mind the restaurant.

It is parents such as this that encouraged me NOT to have children for so many years...because I was terrified that my children would be just like them....wild, out of control, and without discipline.

No wonder so many people are on birth control...the existing parents largely do nothing to give them the idea that children are a gift. We, the public, are often not treated to a well behaved child, but rather, a child of a parent who doesn't believe in consequences for poor behavior.

I don't hate children...I dislike bad parenting and I will condemn it until the day I die. And if God sees fit to give me children they will be raised just as Mom raised me...with loving discipline, with consequences for poor behavior, and with a faith in God above.

I'm convinced there is a special place in heaven for good mothers and fathers. Please offer your prayers for ALL parents...their job is not easy.

6 comments:

Angela Messenger said...

The problem I see with todays parents is that they concentrate far too much energy on the one or two kids they have. Now, mind you I only have one sibling so by all rights we should be messed up too but my parents had rules and darn it, we followed them! Or else! Kids are LOOKING for boundaries. Kids LOVE rules. Also modern parents are too quick to offer little Tiffany or Cody "choices." The choices I got when I was a kid was behave or get in trouble. I behaved.

Angela Messenger said...

By concentration I mean indulge, spoil and otherwise try to micromanage little Tiffany or Codys life/environment/etc. so that they become bored if their every little whim or fantasy is not granted immediately. UGH.

Adoro - sorry for the rant, you really hit a nerve!

Adoro Te Devote said...

No need to apologize...after all, you READ my own little rant, and it seems to me that you and I are on the same page here. Although, as a mother, you are far more entitled to your opinion. :-)

Angela Messenger said...

I don't know if being a mother makes me more entitled but it certainly makes me more biased!!!! LOL!

Ma Beck said...

Amen.
Amen.
Amen.
Amen.

Thank you, ATD.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Amen, amen.

Here's my 1/4 cent theory. As more parents have both worked outside the home, as more parents are divorced, as more kids are in daycare all day, parental "guilt" reared its head.

This is the guilt that says: "I feel bad because I feel like I may neglect my child so I'm pretty much going to let them do what they want. I don't want to feel like more of the "bad guy" then I already do. I want to be their "friend"."

Oh, and throw in a dose of "I don't want MY children to be raised with the same "oppressive" rules I had, therfore I will have none"

I see and hear this kind of baloney expounded upon in a lot of my cousin and friends' parenting methods.

It's tragic. And don't get me started on the parents that believe their kids should not do any chores....