Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Is There an Adult in the Building?

I get really sick of adults acting like scared kindergartners when it comes to correcting the behavior of other peoples' children. Adults no longer act like adults, they act like kids. (I suppose this is the reason why their children do not have any respect for other adults and why they behave like snotty little brats who think the universe revolves around them).

Last week I took Michael up to Toys R Us to see the dinosaur and play with the giant train set. There were a dozen children clamoring to play with the trains, a handful of which did not have cars to run on the track. This would have been fine, but there were two kids with more than one train car whose parents didn't think it necessary that they share with the other kids and made no attempt to intervene.

Then, at one point, a little boy (20-months-ish) stole a train car from another kid and attached it to his own car. The mother of the thievery victim ran over, distressed, and asked the child if he would give it back. Of course the answer was, "No!" The mother was paralyzed and looked to the other parents for help, all of whom just stood there at a loss as to what to do. I said, "Just take it back from him!" which prompted everyone to look at me as if I had just walked out of a mental institution. "I'm tired of adults not acting like adults," I mumbled under my breath, and rounded the table to snatch the train car out of the kid's hand myself. But just then a store employee appeared, having been hastened over to resolve the situation. She ended up doing the exact thing I would have done and told the kid she was taking his train, and pulled it out of his hand. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. I rolled my eyes.

For heaven's sake, the thief wasn't even two. Are we adults or are we adults? Just inform the kid the train car isn't his and take it back.

Of course, my observation that all adults act like children was cemented a few minutes later when Michael's age got the better of him and he pushed a kid out of his way. The kid fell over and cried. I picked up Michael and told him he couldn't play with the trains anymore because he had pushed another kid, and then made him apologize to the little boy, and to the boy's mom. Then I apologized to her myself. She totally ignored me and wouldn't acknowledge the fact that I was talking to her, let alone accept either mine or Michael's apologies. She just complained loudly to her neighbor (while I was talking) that my child had pushed hers and acted as if it was some sort of unforgivable crime.

And I won't even mention my experience at the park the day before when I got a snotty, "You're not the boss of me!" in response to correcting a misbehaving girl (who was at least ten years old). I ended up leaving instead of seeking out the mother to discipline her daughter because my experience with NYC moms is that they don't care if their kids play by the rules, either. As I left the park I saw a woman standing next to the girl (I can only assume her mother) actively encouraging her rule-breaking behavior.

Aaargh. I'm not sure who needs a spanking more - the adults or the kids.


mathmom said...

You see, this is one reason why I am vary of going back to teaching. Kids have last respect for adults in many instances. I can't believe that mom didn't even acknowledge you apology. Despicable. But, way to be a good example anyway.

The Davis Clan said...

Bonnie, I agree on most aspects of this post. Parents are not teaching social rules, and a lot of parents think that they have perfect children. On the other hand I think if I am there, then I will be the one to correct my child's behavior. It makes me mad when I am trying to discipline my child and another adult is butting in. Now if I am unaware of situation I am grateful when another parent comes to me to let me know. But then again, I WILL do something once aware. As for the mom that would not acknowledge your apology, well that is just rude.

Bonnie said...

Jill, I agree, it is frustrating when another parent steps in when you are standing right there. However, in the situations I mentioned the parents were nowhere to be found and certainly weren't paying attention to their kids (who knows where the mother of the train stealer had gone off to, and as for the snotty girl at the park, there were no other adults in sight). I won't ever say anything if the mother is standing right there - it's only if she is absent that I will interfere.

Evil HR Lady said...

I am scary enough that when I "talk to" other people's children, I generally get results. Of course, I've never lived in NYC.

Since we're in Switzerland and I don't speak German, I'm working on perfecting my evil eye.