Okay, I know I can’t be the only mom in this boat. My parenting style is definitely more hands on with a huge focus on social etiquette and acceptable behavior. While I understand that kids will be kids, I also believe that manners and politeness are necessary. Something that today’s youth is sadly lacking. I was brought up with manners and I believe it got me far in life, which is why I am somewhat strict with my 2 year old daughter. And along with that, I am the rule-following mom who wants to lead by example. You could call me an over-attentive parent or helicopter parent, and I’ll accept the label. It is a parenting style that relaxed mommies may roll their eyes at, but I KNOW there are others like me out there!
Today I took Ladybug to a fast food establishment with an indoor playground. I used to cringe at these places – the germs, wild kids, stinky feet…no thank you! However, as my girl is getting older and needs more physical activity, I find myself limited to options. With the 100 degree heat and no indoor playgrounds or splash pads in the area, this is one of the only fun (and free) places to take her. I chose a late morning time assuming there would be less kids like the last time we went. No luck. While we were the first to enter the play area, 5 other kids were right behind. Now, don’t get me wrong here, I am all for Ladybug learning to share and take turns. In fact, we work on those skills regularly at the park and at gym class. But this was different. First of all, the kids were all unsupervised. Moms all sitting outside the enclosure and casually glancing at their children through the window from time to time is NOT supervising. I was sitting as I always do inside, on the designated benches, where I could not only see but hear what my child was doing. It is a clearly posted rule and for so many reasons.
Second, these kids were all about 3-5 years old in a play place designed for 3 years and under (also clearly posted in bold lettering on the sign). So of course, the older kids were playing as older kids do – loud and fast. Again, I am not saying that the way they were playing was wrong, because it is absolutely normal preschooler behavior and I’m all for it! But this area was made with toddlers in mind.
The kids weren’t to blame here. The moms who sat outside on their phones, oblivious to the situation, they were the problem. Believe me, when I planned to go to this establishment I had every intention on turning Ladybug loose as I caught up on my messages and social media. But I had an obligation to my kiddo first. Not to mention the other children were a distraction as they threw wadded paper at me and asked me a million questions. Funny how I quickly felt like the babysitter. Did these mothers see me sitting there and assume I’d supervise their children? Or are these just the same moms that sit on their phones at the park while little Johnnie pushes Billy off of the swing?
I loath these parents. That’s right, I said it. You birthed this kid and you are 100 percent responsible! Yes, we mommas all get tired and need breaks, I get that. But this is not the way. Most moms will say that they all need to learn to adapt to the behavior of others and that scared, apprehensive children need to toughen up. To a point, I see that. I tell Ladybug that if a kid is bothering her, to walk away and play somewhere else or to say “no thank you”. Why should we force our kiddos to play with others when they are uncomfortable or anxious about it? Some children have sensory disorders, high anxieties or perhaps they’re on the autism spectrum and we cannot expect them to adapt to the wild behavior of others. Loud noises, fast or sudden movements could be very traumatizing to sensitive kids like mine. In fact, she asked to leave the play place today because the kids were “too scary and loud” and asked to go to a book store instead.
In a nutshell, I wish parents would be more considerate of others. The relaxed parenting style has several benefits and I am not knocking it. However, the lack of respect and awareness is a problem. And all I can do is vent and use it as a teachable moment for ladybug. Since we cannot change things or avoid social situations, I’ll just see it as life lessons for my growing girl.
In closing, parents, let’s be a little more courteous out there. Some of us actually like to follow rules and some of our kiddos are a bit more sensitive. Let’s make parenting enjoyable for everyone!