A few weeks ago an incident at a park bothered me. Really bothered me despite it having nothing to do with me or my actions.
It was the Fourth of July and our town was having a celebration that was also raising money for new playground equipment. We had fun and had a hand at raising nearly $6,000 for the new park. That was the great part of the day.
However, while I was there talking to another tee-ball mom a little boy came along to play in the sand. He was without parent. At first he was throwing sand but a stern look from me stopped that behavior. He continued on playing with my friend’s little girl – in the sand – for 15 or 20 minutes.
That is when mom finally came on the scene and she was angry. How dare he play in the sand and get all dirty. A smack to the head was followed by his crying and being dragged off by angry mom.
It was over in a minute but I felt shocked at what I was seeing. There are certain rules of parenting that should not get broken and one of them is being an unreasonable bitch. Hitting your kids in public is no longer allowed. And certainly leaving your kid alone for twenty minutes and then getting pissed at him should have given me the right to smack her like she smacked her five-year-old.
Did that mom not know they were at a public park? Sand and dirt are all over the place – in sandboxes and on baseball fields. Kids are going to find it. Did she tell him not to get dirty when they got there?
That is like bringing a kid to a jump house place and saying “Ok, no playing in any of the bouncy houses. I don’t want you getting hurt.” What kind of stupid idiot parent brings a kid somewhere that has sand and then tells them not to play in the sand?
While we are at it, what kind of stupid parent brings their kid to a fun fair at a park and does not know where their kid is for 20 minutes?
This mom shows up and acts as if what the kid was doing was a total surprise to her. Where was she during all of that time? Talking to friends? Having a good time, not noticing her kid throwing sand and being reprimanded by another mom? It is one thing to be an idiot mom and not notice your kid. It is another to reprimand him in the worst way possible.
That’s right. Smacking a kid because you took him to a park where there was sand and dirt while telling him he cannot get dirty. And when he plays in that irresistable pile of sand while you were not paying attention for 20 minutes that gives the parent the right to smack the child and smack him hard. What if I place that parent in a bar and then told them the only thing they could drink was water. No beer, wine, mixed drink, hard lemonade, nothing.
You know what will happen next. They will try the water but nothing is a good as what you cannot have. The desire grows and then someone hands them a favorite alcoholic drink. That is when I get to swoop in and “whammy!” with the back of my hand.
While I enjoy the imagery of that last thought, here are a few rules for parents to live by.
1. If you go to the park, kids will find the dirt and/or sand. Don’t go thinking they will stay perfectly clean or by your side while you talk endless trash with your friends. They will get bored, they will look for something to do and chances are it will involve sand and/or dirt. If it bothers you that much, bring along hand sanitizer, baby wipes or a plastic bubble to put around your kid.
2. Keep an eye on your child – no matter what. If they are under the age of 8, watch what they are doing and do not be surprised when they find something to do involving dirt/sand/mud when you are not looking. You can still talk to your friends, just move around so your child is within your eye-sight line.
3. Do not hit your child. In public, in private, anywhere. Especially if what you are really mad about is your own shortcomings. You blew it in public and then yelled at your child before smacking them to let that kid know he did wrong. A wrong you did not catch till too late. Who is really in the wrong?
So is there good news here?
Yes, there is. You can be a better parent. You can start observing your child better, setting parameters more clearly, acting better towards your child. You can be the grown-up who controls their own actions.
Otherwise, a bitch, like myself, might not be disiplining just your child. She might take her cell phone to call the cops to disipline you if she doesn’t do it herself first.