Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hello Are These Your Kids?

I can’t believe it took me this long to say, parents who don’t watch their children are NOT allowed on my ark.  And yes, that means neither are their kids, because I am not going to be responsible for them.

            Really, it is not complicated. If you have a child under the age of 18 you are legally and morally responsible for him or her.  Therefore, you should know what he or she is up to.  If you have a young child, like the 4 year old I got stuck watching all day on Sunday, then you need to be actually physically where they are watching what they are doing.
            I don’t understand why this is so hard for so many parents.  For instance, on Sunday I am at a BBQ with a group of people I have never even met before.  I am there with my husband and three children under 6; therefore, I am running around after small children all day.  I am a mom.  It is my job.  And if I were running around after only my children, that would be fine because they are my responsibility.  But I wasn’t; I was also watching the poorly behaved and obviously attention starved 4 year-old whose mother was the daughter of our hostess. 
            The mother, never seemed to concern herself with him.  Mind you we were outside in a yard that is on the main street in our town and also, since it is on the corner, another fairly well used road.  The mother never so much as came outside to make sure her child was okay and not running into the street.  The party was outside mind you, but apparently the TV and the couch where she sat her fat butt all afternoon, were inside along with a cooler of beer cans. THAT she didn’t let out of her sight.  But the four year old, who was pushing the younger children, hitting, stealing toys away from everyone and generally making a pain of himself, HIM she never bothered to check on. 
            At one point he pushed a smaller boy off the bulkhead for the third time and I felt the need to reprimand him (someone had to).  I sternly told this child he could not push people.  He ran away.  When he came back a minute or two later, I reemphasized my point and said, “ You cannot push anyone else or I am going to have to tell your mother.”  I said it loudly because we were right outside the open window that his mother was planted in front of inside the house.  I assumed she might make an appearance after hearing someone scolding her child for the second time.  But she didn’t. 
            She also didn’t make an appearance when he ran off into a neighbor’s yard, or when he continuously knocked down the one year-old at the party because he thought it was funny. In fact, at one point she left the party for a half an hour and didn’t even tell her son she was going.  By the way, when I left she didn’t so much as thank me for entertaining HER child all afternoon.  In fact, she didn’t even bother herself to say good-bye and nice meeting you so why I would have expected a thank you, I don’t know.  I guess I always expect that there is a limit to a person’s poor manners.  I am learning, there isn’t.
            As you may have noticed by now, I am not the silent suffering type.  I did make a point of speaking loudly enough for her to hear me when I told my husband that I had three kids of my own to watch and that this little boy needed to go find his mother.  I will explain to my children very loudly in front of the offending parent that we can no longer play somewhere because a child is acting badly and his parent is no where to be found to control him.  I have even called out at the playground “Hello, are these your kids?” if children are getting particularly out of hand and need an adult other than a stranger to take over their supervision.  And every single time, my blood boils at the laissez faire attitude of the offending adult.
            What I want to know is this: what makes these parents think the rest of us are their babysitters? I have three children of my own to watch, get off your lazy butt and watch your own.  And it is always the badly behaved children whose parents are oblivious (I know, no surprise there but still).  I don’t need to inherit their problems and for some reason I always seem to.
            Whether it is the three moms chatting at the park not noticing that their boys are having a sand fight, first with each other and then ganging up and throwing it at innocent children they don’t even know.  Or, it is the kid of an acquaintance I see once a year who is running around another person’s house breaking things, spilling things, and generally causing mass destruction everywhere he goes.  I seem to be constantly bombarded by unparented children. 
            I get it, you want to sit and have a leisurely glass of wine and a quiet discussion with another adult, who doesn’t.  But guess what?  You can’t!  Why not?  Because you chose to have children and those children are still young enough to require supervision.  So get off your lazy, entitled bottom, and teach your child some manners by example. Discipline him when he hurts someone.  Tell him no when he wants something that isn’t his.  And generally keep an eye on him or her so you can insure not only the safety of your child, but that of the rest of the children as well.  In other words, grow up!


  1. Halleluia! But I think my favorite part of this post is the link at the end... I won't give it away, for those who like a surprise ending!

  2. Amen Sister! As someone who is childless by choice, getting stuck with other people's kids rankles me even more. But like you, I have no problem marching them back to their parents, and giving the parents an earful.

  3. That is such a tough situation. As someone who almost obsessively monitors her children's every move (probably to a fault), I sometimes don't know what to do when kids run wild. You really shouldn't have to discipline someone else's child, but when the safety of that child or other children is as stake you really don't have a choice. Sorry to hear your weekend went like this... not fun at all!