Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Where are the parents?

I was wondering about parent-child interaction these days. So much of a child's behavior depends on the interaction they have with their parent(s). It seems logical that if a parent spends a lot of time with a small child, interacting, teaching, punishing (if necessary), then a child will act better and be smarter. There are social skills to think of as well. How does a child act in public, and around others? I have personally witnessed, and I am sure most of you have too, that more and more, parents seem to ignore their child(ren). The other night, my boyfriend and I went to a nice restaurant. We were seated near a couple that had two small children (elementary school age). The children were not loud, but were running around, which was quite distracting. I looked over to see what the parents were doing........talking to each other. They were completely oblivious to their children's actions. Then I noticed something else, which I could not believe. My boyfriend and I were in amazement from what we saw at another table just a few feet away. There sat a dad, mom and two small children (preschool and toddler). The parents were apparently enjoying their meals, while the toddler (not buckled in the high chair) kept standing up and sitting on the edge of the chair...over and over. I just felt sure he was going to fall out. The little girl sat there nice and quietly...."here it is....." in front of a DVD player sitting on the table in front of her. We couldn't believe it! They certainly found a good babysitter for the little girl. What ever happened to having the children sit still, eat dinner and be interactive with "the family"? Seriously, if you are going to take the children out to dinner with you, they should know how to behave. Can you imagine the social skills that little girl will have as she gets older. I mean, if she is sitting in front of a DVD player in a restaurant, you can only imagine that she must get the same baby sitter at home. This brought back memories to my boyfriend and me from when we were on vacation not too long ago. We were sitting by the pool at a resort, eating lunch. We were watching this little boy. He had a shirt, long shorts type of swim suit, water shoes and a hat. The hat was a fitted canvas hat that had two flaps to cover his ears and a brim in the front and back. (Funniest looking cap I had ever seen). Then to top it off, he had enough floatation devices wrapped around his body and arms that it would keep the Titanic afloat! Oh my goodness, I felt so sorry for the little boy. Then we looked for his parents. Guess where they were? The father was asleep (sunbathing) and the mom was deeply involved with her paperback novel. We couldn't believe it. They were using all of the clothing and "floaties" to baby-sit him. I am sorry, that is bordering on child abuse. He obviously wasn't getting any attention from his parents. Makes you wonder what goes on at these people's homes. I think I wouldn't care to know, it would probably upset me. Anyway, I just think it wouldn't hurt to spend a little more time with your children. They look up to parents for guidance and need it! How else are they supposed to learn? They can only learn what they are taught.


Dave Morris said...

They are sponges, children.

Too many parents use Game Boys, DVD players, television and computers as babysitters... and many times, as soon as the children can stay home alone, they are made to. Heck, I don't even feel right about letting my kids stay in the car while I'm in the store.

The other evening a buddy of mine and I were eating dinner at a nice place and a child from another table was running around the restaurant, going table to table messing with people. He came to our table and stood with his hands on the table staring at us while we ate. I made a little small talk with the boy, then turned to his parents and asked if they were missing someone. They looked at me as if I had interrupted the middle-east peace talks.

Dinner time is conversation time. The kids aren't allowed to bring games or books to the table. It doesn't always make them happy but that's just my rule.

Family interaction is important, it's how kids learn to carry on conversations. Your story of the child at the pool breaks my heart.

ticharu said...

We home school our two children and never put them in day care when they were younger. People are always bowled over by their intellegence, manners, self control, diligence, attention span, etc.
Diet also plays a big part in how scattered children are. They are poisoned with caffeine and sugar, hours of television and neglect.
Society pays in the end.

Lee Ann said...

Dave-You did good with only saying what you said to those parents who allowed their children to run the restaurant. I do say there are a lot of really good parents out there, but it is really aggravating to see so many of them letting their children just do what they feel. Just imagine what their child will be like when they are 16 and really have more say in the matter. Sounds like we are in sync.

Ticharu - Your kids are the lucky ones to have the structure you provide. Children need it! And yes, I think their diet plays a big part in behavior.

BeckEye said...

Parents just don't care anymore. People have kids because they think they're supposed to. Not everyone is ready for them. I love kids, but I know I don't want that responsibility now.

I've worked in many restaurants in my day and I can't tell you how many kids have run around me while I was carrying a huge tray or something. The parents just don't give a shit, they let their kids run wild. But, as soon as one gets hurt, guess who's fault it is?

I also think that ADD is a pile of shit. I think it's something that doctors have come up with to make parents today feel better about their lousy parenting skills. Kids have ALWAYS been hyperactive with short attention spans. Kids are kids. But because they can't control them or don't have the PATIENCE to control them, parents have to assume that their child isn't normal and fill 'em full of drugs. I hope I don't sound like Tom Cruise here. I'm not denouncing psychiatry as a whole, but I think in recent years, every type of personality quirk gets made into a disorder.

Lee Ann said...

BeckEye-you have some really good points. And aside from the kids that don't act right, there are some that seem like they were sent straight from heaven. When I see children that act good, I always make it a point to tell the parents they have a little angel.

Chris said...

The situations you highlighted, seems to spotlight the problem modern families face.

"How to take care of yourself and your family at the same time."

The choice of words, and the sequence of the wording is deliberate. The word "yourself" appears before the word "family". The focus of todays society is how to best take care of yourself, first.

Unfortunately, the term "sacrifice" doesnt appear to often in modern psychological health articles, or healthy living magazines. Instead, we are inundated with tips on how to do things differently in order to not have to sacrifice.

There is merit in genuine selfless sacrifice. In order to raise well adapted, honest, intelligent, healthy children, parents MUST sacrifice their own personal desires in order to meet the needs of their children. In the short term (a course of a few years), it may mean reducing the amount of fun, and acting responsible. In the long run, that sacrifice pays off with Children that honor and respect their parents... especially when the parents are older, and suffering with health conditions, need assistance... parents who become widowed.

Of course, no one talks about the long run these days.

Edge said...

I read a good article many years ago in Reader's Digest ( best conservative journalism known to man BTW ) that was on the restaurant topic. I thoroughly believe children need to be taught to behave appropriately in public. No child should go to a "fancy" restaurant (one without crayons) before 2. If you do take your child have some consideration for other patrons.

I agree we need to interact with our kids and teach them respect.

I was the youngest kid and I always had to eat with the grown ups. I was taught very early on to only speak when you needed to ( bathroom ) or if engaged in conversation. And most importantly, never interupt.

Why have kids if you don't want to bother raising them. These parents should do us a favor and get sterilized.


Lee Ann said...

Chris - absolutely! I guess parents are not looking at the long run. Think they will be looking at it differently in hind site when their child is a teenager? You can bet they will be saying something to the affect "maybe we should have...."

Jef - I had the definite feeling you would see things that way!

Goan Pao said...

Guess the I in todays world is more important than the We. Parents supported by psychologists are more concerned about themselves than the children. Also a lot of parents like to act "Cool: and are afraid of disciplining their children. Some parents are just darn lazy.
Kudos to you guys ticharu, dave ....

The Husband said...

what bothers me are the kids who's parents both work and/or are never around to take part in the small things...like sports, boy/girl scouts etc. kids today seem to be raised by television and video games. they get all hopped on sugar becuase they drink soda's and eat like crap at school. seems like family value's have gone out the window.

Lee Ann said...

goan pao - I just wish they could see that. I bet they are the first ones to comment on other people's kids when they are out and about.

carl - exactly!

allison said...

he'll look for attention from other sources and they probably won't be good ones

ie: drugs, gangs, etc..

BadGod said...

I am going to mail this post and few other articles to my insurance compnay in support of my argument to pay for my vasectomny.

I may be 29, but i know I never want kids. I do not like kids. I have a couple of nieces, and they are fine, but I do not want kids.

I am selfish. Sorry.

Lee Ann said...

Allison - you are exactly right. They need guidance and it should be from their parents.

Badgod - You are smart to at least know what you want. There is no sense to people who just have kids, then want nothing to do with them.

mojoala said...

i am going to blog about this today. this is a very good subject.

Lee Ann said...

Thanks everyone for your comments and thoughts. Very good input!

Chris said...

I dunno, I guess this is like kicking a dead horse, but parents arent going to say, "Maybe we should have...", but instead they are simply going to blame it on "anything but themselves", which goes with the whole no one wanting to be responsible for what they do.

Its ok though, we all reap what we sow... and reap what the neighbors sow... unfortunately.

Lee Ann said...

Chris - you said it right, and it is unfortunate.

NOAH said...

Lee Ann, I love your topic...

I also agree with Chris; parents must sacrifice their own personal desires in order to raise well adapted, honest, intelligent, healthy children.
My baby son is almost a year and of course I'm already thinking, how will he turn out to be later in life.
Truthfully, it's all up to us and the opportunities he will have and get in life.
My partner and I are both 40 (already) and we have had our share of personal desires!
Therefore we spend all our free time, trying to raise Noah into a lovely, intelligent and respectful young man! And so far so good...
Also fortunate that when we moved from Europe to Taiwan a few months ago, I was able to stay at home to be with our son.
We go to swimclass, in- and outdoor playspaces, children's music, spending time at home etc. etc. and he loves all these things.
And the very best thing about it, is that he get's to know so many other children and adults, so now he's also very social!

The Mama

Lee Ann said...

Noah - Sounds like you two are doing it just right. Just confirms my point, there really are good parents out there. Thanks for stopping by!

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Hi Lee Ann,
I have to say that your blog hits the spot!
I was out looking for information on baby rash guard but found your post: Where are the parents? to be far more interesting than what I was looking for. Quite a good job you're doing on your site here... I'm thinking about making a blog about baby rash guard I want to make it look like yours here. If you have any tips or secrets maybe you could share :)

It was great to visit your blog, thanks.

Kim Swansula said...

Hey Lee Ann...
How did you get your blog to be so good? Originally I was out trying to locate quicksilver rashguards related information, but your post ' Where are the parents? ' got my attention and stopped in my tracks :) Glad I found you because I'm trying to improve my site about quicksilver rashguards and your blog here gave me some excellent ideas. Thanks Lee Ann for the good read and I think I'll mention your blog to my cousin (if that's okay...)

Keep up your effort ~ and good job.

Jobe Forester said...

Lee Ann this is great!
It's funny how I was looking for this type of thing and found your post: Where are the parents?. It pulled me right out of my researching on toddler rashguard products and allowed me to sit down for a nice read. Thanks for your great job Lee Ann. I think I'll hang out on your blog for a while and be done with toddler rashguard stuff for now. Have a good day Lee Ann.

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