Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Running Loose Wednesday

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear here: I do NOT hate kids! I am not sure how many more times I need to repeat myself, but no, I do not hate kids. I hate some parents! And I can say that because I know many a parents who do it right. They have kids because they want to be involved and to make a difference in the world with a successful kid, not because “it’s the thing to do”. Some parents (the kind I hate) have more interest in reproducing than in parenting, which I think should be a crime, of some sort. And I am positively sure that I am not the first human to say “there are people out there who should not be allowed to have kids”.

The situation of poor parenting, I believe, is worse than anywhere I have ever been in Utah. Because, especially in Utah Valley, virtually everyone between 18 and infinity is a parent of multiples. If a family is done breeding, the minimum amount I have seen is three. Usually, it’s between 9 and 16. And when you have that many offspring, I am positive you cannot handle it all easily.

So be it, but why do all the other people have to be exposed to your chaos is what I don’t get. There is no restaurant we can ever go into without being around screaming kids. Traffic is crazy all the time, either because the mom is tending to the five drooling toddlers in the back or the dad is rushing towards home so he can give mom a break for the evening. The absolute worst are stores like Target and WalMart – I have never seen that many running around kids, away from their respective families like I have seen in WalMart here. Apparently, the missing kids of America horror stories have not made it here!

Every time I am at any grocery store, I have to dodge kids. A friend of mine ended up with one of the rug rats hanging on to her cart instead of his own mother’s, just because the kid was not paying attention, and the mom … well – where was she?!

Tonight, a woman almost crashed her cart into several shoppers, because she was running (while pushing her cart!) into a speedy sprint to catch her three year old screaming daughter. That was right before her teenager son decided to pitch an ice cream carton into the buggy while absorbed in his Ipod listening, only to miss the cart and make an ice cream splash on the floor, splattering everyone and his mom’s groceries with vanilla ice cream. NO apologies, of course. Self absorbed and carrying on, she moved right along to the bacon shelf, wondering what will she do with the smeared groceries in her cart. Forget everyone else!

And I am not saying that kids cannot have fits, and what-not’s and misbehave. But DO something about it: take them outside? Talk to them, maybe? Don't leave the house if they didn't have their nap? Anything, but ignore them or act like their misbehaving is OK!

The disrespect for everyone else in such parents is appalling to me. If you so much as look at them asking for some kind of decency, they stare back at you with this “what?!-isn’t-this-my-right-to-have-my-10-kids-own-the-place?!-what-is-your-problem?!” look that you’d rather be buried alive than be looked at like that! The sense of entitlement for their brood to take over public places is unreal to me!

We all have to live in this world, and what would happen if we would all behave like that?! I mean, why would other adults have excuses to behave politely themselves when they don’t have kids around to do it for them?! Let’s all do it! Just kidding.

One more proof that I don’t hate kids is that I do try to watch for them in stores, and not kick them intentionally (you know how easy that would be?!) nor ram my cart into their faces! But deep down inside, I know it’s not their fault. Deep down I’d want to do that to the parents. Just to see if they wake up.

I am not telling people how many kids to have if whatever their beliefs and life style are tells them to have 100. But all I am saying is: have them if you can handle them. Whether you have one or 10 – make sure they can live in this world safely, with respect towards all of the people around them, at home and in public, and make sure they will become functional, contributing adults one day. That is your job as a parent. Your job as a parent did not stop when they came out into the world on their birthday. That’s when it started.

That 3 year old running around had the age as an excuse, but what excuse has the 16 year old playing basketball with Ben&Jerry’s?! None. Just like he won’t have any when he’ll be 20, and pitch something hard to your head. And you know what: I don’t even believe it’s that hard. You know how I know? My own parents did just fine! And they’re wonderful people, but not superhuman.

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