Monday, June 25, 2007

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged

On Sunday I wrote about wedding receptions and no-fun parents who don't let their kids play.

There is another side. The parents who sit, and do...NOTHING. It happens at every family get-together. This group of boys, whose parents are content to sit by and do...NOTHING, will be playing together (I use that term loosely) and it looks like a professional wrestling match, only more aggressive. The grandparents will occasionally step in and try to calm these boys down, but the parents really don't seem to mind. These kids go at it! They usually have swords or light sabers or some type of weapon to sweeten the match. It's crazy!

This got me thinking. I must just really be judgmental. It is a pet peeve of mine, people who are judgmental. Apparently though, I am.

People who are to protective, strict, etc. with their kids bug me. So do parents who don't discipline, supervise, reign in, etc. their kids. I am tough to please!

With my own kids, I try to do a little of both. Let them be silly, play, laugh...yet display some manners, respect, decorum. When we are out in public, I keep a close eye on my kids. Usually a hand too. We hold hands while in parking lots, on sidewalks, or in stores. Either that, or they are strapped in cart or stroller. I horrify Brenna with stories of people who take home cute kids. Mean, I know. I just want her to be aware.

Places that cater to kids often have aspects that terrify me. Or really gross me out. Ball pits? Climbing tunnels? Swimming pools? All potential for disaster I say. I seem to be on guard at all times, trying to prevent injuries, kidnappings, or death by being aware of my surroundings and my kids at all times. Every good horror story about parenting (and every Lifetime movie) starts with "It was just another day..." Cue the scary music. Like defensive driving, I do defensive parenting. Always on watch for potential disasters.

But I try not hover. I don't want to be super paranoid, but don't want to be neglectful either.

You just can't win! But I keep trying...


nikkis30by30 said...

It's like reading my own thoughts. Just wait till Brenna asks to go somewhere with one of her classmates. It's scary. And it sucks. The only place I feel I can totally let my kids be kids without constant hounding is at my parents' house in the backyard. It's awful. And I have told my kids all the same things about people wanting cute kids too. It is scary, but the truth may be the only thing that keeps it from happening to us!!!
I am certain Dr. Phil would have a hayday with us.

Jacqniel said...

It is such a different world than when I was a kid. So sad. We ran the streets from sun up till way after sun down - and our parents never thought twice about it.

I think it is hard not to judge other parents. Happy medium is a good place to be. My pet peeve - parents that load their kids up with tylenol and send them to school or day care so they don't miss their precious work or activity. GRRRRRRRR! They have no regards for the other kids, or staff that gets exposed - let alone their sick children!

Jenifer said...

So far I think more on the protective side of things...except at places like friends or my in-laws where I usually don't even know what room they are in.

I agree I think parents who do nothing bother me more than the hover-copter parents. How many times have I had to "help" a child whose parents are nowhere to be found - then get the evil eye from the parents when they finally surface.

I agree with your rules too. We always hold hands or they must hold the cart or stroller - something when in public. I use the phrase this is a "public place" a lot and tell them there is a time for being silly and running around and times to be respectful.

I have not used the "you might be taken" line I think that would give my girls nightmares and scare them too much. I just emphasize that everyone we don't know is a stranger and follow those kind of rules.

Papoosie Girl went to a Safety Village for a school trip and it was amazing. It is run by police officers and they show movies, do worksheets and roll play all this stuff. It helped me understand how to approach this with her.

As for parents who are too much either way. It is annoying...especially when your kids pick up on the differences. I usually say things like our family has rules we follow and their family might have different rules...

I know people who have a 6 & 3 year old and the Mom still rides in the backseat with them! Then there are the parents who I have knocked on their door screaming when they didn't realize the 3 year old was locked outside in the summer.


Omaha Mama said...

I have just had the conversation with Brenna this past week. Who is YOUR mom and dad? Whose rules must you follow? Especially when I'm trying to talk her into bed as she watches neighbor kids still taking walks, running through sprinklers, etc (at 9:00 at night).

As far as scaring Brenna - I'm not sure if it's possible (regarding strangers). She actually used to freak some people out. A little two-year old walking up to ANYONE to say HI!

Alpha DogMa said...

So, what are you saying, exactly? No leisurely two hour meals at tapas restaurants with your children sleeping unattended in a hotel room a few hundred meters away?

Omaha Mama said...

Dunno. Depends on the city. Crime rates. Proximity. How good is this restaurant?

Michelle said...

I think you got it right with your last sentence of this post! It is hard to find a good balance, but you're right - we just keep on trying and doing the best we can!

Oh, The Joys said...

I hate when the do nothing parent's kids are bonking your kids on the head. Grrrr.

California mom said...

I also hate the do nothing parents. I wonder sometimes though if people think that I am one of those parents because I don't immediately rush in and help my 8 year old settle disagreements. Dont get me wrong, if it even looks like it might get physical I am there, but if it is angry voices I try to let him work it out. Most of the time it works out fine. BUT...even those times I find a time to talk to him afterwards and work on ways that he could have handled the situation better. With my 4 year old I am a little less easygoing...he hasn't learned to my satisfaction that he can't tackle someone for a ball or things like that...So I step in and help all the kids work through situations.