I don’t like to criticize other people’s parenting. We all have our own way of parenting, and as long as it’s good for parent and child then I say have at it. Still, there are times that I see parents behaving a certain way towards their kid(s), and I have to bite my tongue to keep from saying something. I had one of those moments on Tuesday night.
Nick and I were out for our evening walk. As we were walking I saw a cloud of something come out of someone’s yard. As we kept walking we got closer to the yard (you can see the whole backyard from the side street) and I saw a young teenage girl riding on a tractor. Her mother was coming up to her and screaming at her to park the tractor. When I say screaming I mean angry, top of her lungs, every one within a mile could hear her, scream. It was awful, and it even made Nick stop all of his babbling and playfulness. We hadn’t gotten far from the house when the mom and her son (I’d say he was mid to late elementary age) rode up from behind us. The mom was not being quiet, so I couldn’t help but hear her say that they should ride fast so the brat wouldn’t catch up with them. Then the boy pulls over on the side of the road to look though some items that someone put on the curb. The mother then starts screaming at him that if he stopped to look through the trash that the bike ride was over. As the mom is trying to physically drag her son from the trash the daughter rides up and the mother screams at the daughter that she doesn’t want her to get close to her (the mother) until she apologizes for making the house stink of gas. Finally they all get back on their bikes and ride away from us continuing on their ride.
By the time they finally got away from us I was upset and Nick was shaken. As we kept walking I couldn’t help but think of what terrible parenting skills that woman had. Now Nick isn’t hard to parent right now, but because of subbing I deal with child behavior problems all the time. You never want to scream at your kids. When you scream it is obvious that you’ve lost control, and the child has won because they know they got under your skin. Plus I couldn’t believe she called her child a brat to her other kid. What kind of message is that? It certainly won’t earn her any respect. Then she made an empty threat. You never want to do that. Even when you don’t want to you have to follow through with what you said or your kids will never take what you say seriously. When that little boy went to look through the trash that should have been the end of the bike ride. The whole thing still makes me shake my head.
Now I’m not saying that if you’ve lost your temper with your kids that you’re a horrible parent. We are only human, and we all lose our temper at times. I have subbed in many classrooms where it takes every thing in me not to snap. You could just tell with this family that this was normal behavior. She had obviously lost control a long time ago, and probably quite often, which has caused her to lose her children’s respect.
Once the family was out of ear shot I looked down at Nick and told him I’d never treat him that way. I was raised in a home where the kids were respected, and in turn we gave respect back. I have never had an adult scream at me like that. When I told Jason about what we had seen he right away said how he too would never behave like that. Honestly who wants to live in a home where people are yelled at and bullied. Certainly we want Nick to respect what we say, but screaming won’t accomplish that.One of my biggest fears is having Nick make bad choices during his life. Even good kids with good parents can end up on a bad path. I want to create a home where Nick feels safe and respected, so he can come to us with any problems he may have.
So my question for you is what kind of parent do you want to be? I want to be a parent that is not uptight. I won’t have an enormous amount of rules, but there will be some important ones that need to be followed. I will have an open and honest relationship with my child that is based on trust and respect. Most importantly I will always love my child no matter what choices he makes in life and I will make sure that he knows it.
What kind of parent do you want to be?