Sunday, March 2, 2008

How to not parent a child

It's amazing the things you see when you observe people at the local park.

You see, there was a mom there with a 3 or 4 year old little girl. I happened to look at my watch to check the time the first time I heard this mom scream:

"We need to go now! I need to make dinner for you and your sisters!!"

And the observing began.

The little girl ignored her mother. She continued to play, go down slides and do her own thing.

I guess the mom decided to wait another 5 minutes before giving her another, very similar, ultimatum.

"We need to go now! I need to make dinner for you and your sisters!!"

Again the little girl ignored her mom.

While this was happening, this mom would look at me like she wanted me to support her and that 'I should know how she feels'. Um, not quite.

"I am really cold! We need to go! Two more times down the slide!"

The little girl replied:
"No! Five more times!"

"Okay, three more times, I'll compromise!"


By this time, it had been going on for 15-20 minutes. This little girl had absolutely zero respect for her mom and was completely ignoring her. I started to feel bad for the mom, but I stopped. She is enabling the behavior of her daughter!

After this little girl went down the slide three times, her mom gave up and said:
"Okay, two more times and we are leaving!"

She completely gave in to her 3-4 year old!

After the fifth time down the slide, the little girl took off and climbed back up onto the playground equipment.

"If you don't get down from there, I am going to come and get you! I'm cold and have to make dinner!"

Silence from the girl and mom didn't even attempt to go get her.

"Come down now! You better not be kicking and screaming when I come and get you!"

Silence again. The mom still stayed put.

I was dumbfounded. If this little girl of 3 or 4 is acting this way now...can you imagine what she is going to be like when she is older? She is obviously not getting the discipline she needs.

Finally, after a 25 minute ordeal, the little girl came down the slide and they left. As they walked away, I heard the mom say:
"Thank you for not throwing a fit when it was time to go. We'll come to the park again and then you can play longer when it isn't so chilly out."

Did she seriously just thank her child for behaving well when it was time to go??

This is a warning to you all. Parenting is hard. There are days when my children are far from obedient...I mean, did you read this past Friday's post?? Just be aware that it can be a slippery slope. When you allow your child's will to win a little because they are little and isn't long before you experience the above scenario.

My advice: Nip that behavior in the bud!!


Rebecca said...

I know what you mean, Shannon. That kind of "threaten and yell" parenting is rampant where we live. Even the Christian parents struggle with how to parent effectively. The root of the issue goes back generations.

The problem is, that there is no easy solution. The Christian ladies in our village are praying for a breakthrough in the lives of the children -- and we're praying that God would capture the hearts of both the parents and children.

Unfortunately, you can't just walk up to a woman like the one in the park you described and say, "Y'know, you're really doing your daughter a disservice by your inconsistency. Do you realize that she's manipulating you?" It just won't go over very well...true as it may be.

The best you can do is to pray for her and live your life in such a way as to be a light shining in a "crooked and deprived generation". It sounds like you and your kiddos are doing a good job of shining! Pray that God gives you opportunities to share with moms who are willing and ready to listen, and He will.


Stephanie said...

Very sad for the little girl! Shame on the mom.