They’re everywhere. You’ve seen them and maybe didn’t pay much attention. But I do. Parenting is my business, so I’m on the alert with each and every scenario that I have the opportunity to watch unfold.
From the wretched parents who allow their kids to rip and run through the aisles in the supermarket to the ones who are seated at a table near me in a restaurant and pay no attention to what their kids are doing that disturbs other customers – I’m watching.
Yup, there are even some eating establishments that don’t allow children — well-behaved or otherwise.
You know what I’m talking about because you, too, have observed kids who are obnoxious, because they’ve got parents who either think the darlings are too cute to correct or who condone the unacceptable behavior.
SOME PARENTS STAND THEIR GROUND
“Now, James,” Mom said in a soft tone as she attempted to encourage her young son to stop pulling on the iPad she was taking from him to put into her carry bag.
James wasn’t having it. He held tight to his prize possession, and when she refused to lessen the grip she had on it, still hanging on, he fell to the floor.
This gave Mom a superior advantage. She now had his iPad and promptly put it into her bag.
James wasn’t having it. He folded his arms in an authoritarian manner and refused to move from a sit-down position there in the hallway.
Mom proceeded to walk toward the exit door leaving him sitting there defiant with arms folded.
James wasn’t having it. He’d show her a thing or two. He stretched himself into a standing position and stomped a short distance over to the elevator door and punched the Up button.
Yeah, for Ms. Mom. She wasn’t having his nonsense and proceeded toward the exit.
Uh, James had a few afterthoughts, perhaps realizing the many floors in the building were a little much for him to contend with, so he angrily, arms folded again, trotted after her out the exit door.
“Good for her,” I said to my daughter who, with me, watched the James the Defiant episode unfold.
Outside the exit door was a bench in the shade and the young mom took a seat looking like she was trying hard to collect herself.
James the Defiant was now plopped on the far end of the bench, arms still folded, face red and eyes glaring into space.
He didn’t say it, but every gesture he made said, “Who does she think she is taking my stuff and putting it in her bag?”
I couldn’t hold back. No, no, I didn’t have words for James, but I did have words for a mom who faced the challenge and didn’t back down.
I walked right up to the bench, smiled (I think) and held out a hand as I said, “Congratulations for Standing Your Ground.”
She had tears in her eyes as she stood up from her end of the bench to give me a hug and said, “Thank you so very much!”
James the Defiant was now glaring at me. It was a slow and steady trying-to-be-intimidating look.
OLD BLACK GRANDMAS
Little white kids don’t fool with old Black grandmas. We tend to have that look that says “And I ain’t playin’.”
I’ve looked (in the ‘hood we call it “the look”) at some misbehaving little white kids and they immediately change their mode, and their parents then look bewildered. I’ve had some ask what I said to their kid.
Little black kids don’t fool with old Black grandmas, either.
I guess we could use a cadre of old Black grandmas as patrol agents working in places where parents show up with their kids.
Let me not give the impression that black kids are well behaved. While most of us don’t take no nonsense, we’ve got some modern-day parents who don’t understand that “No” means No, and instead wanna negotiate and hope for acceptable behavior.
James the Defiant’s mom wasn’t giving in. She called his bluff on the elevator act and she didn’t bother to help him understand whatever her reason was for keeping his I-pad in her bag.
WHAT’S TO BE DONE?
Should kids be barred from restaurants and other public places?
What about posting standards of behavior, and that any violation will result in the customers being asked to leave?
Think about the establishments that say “No Shirt, No Service.” Think about the places that say “No Smoking Within 25 Feet.”
Nasty-acting kids should not be allowed to inflict their behavior on the public.
James the Defiant’s mom should be welcome everywhere.