I cannot stand bad parenting. There is no excuse for it. I'm not saying I'm perfect at it, because I know that I'm not. I am saying that, at times, I'm better than some. Tonight was a great example of somebody's shitty parenting skills. We have a new member at the gym who joined today with her 3 children, all daycare aged. She had a baby boy (about 9 months old), a little girl (about 2 years), and an older son (age 5). Here's where our story begins...
Shelbee was working in the Kid's Club tonight and asked me at what point she should get a parent when a child has been acting out the entire time, since dropped off. Mind you, these children had been in the Kid's Club a whole 5 minutes when I was asked this question. From the time they were dropped off, the 5 year old was tearing the place apart. He was even doing it while the mother was there, signing her kids in. He had already spent 90% of the time there in time-out. When he was finally "released", he immediately went on a rampage while I was in the room. He took toys from other kids, he threw things, he messed up other kids' drawings, and he wouldn't mind. So, basically, he was awful. (Keep in mind, I'm considered the Daycare Nazi. I don't take shit from any kids. They will respect my gym and my stuff or else!)
Then there's his baby brother. I had noticed a car seat that looked like there was a bunch of "stuff" spilled on the straps and in the seat. I looked at the baby and he had yellow crap all down the front of his clothes. Shelbee had pointed out that he looked like that from the time he came in and she wasn't sure what was all over him. Next thing we knew, we turned around and the yellow stuff on his shirt was now on the floor. Gross. I didn't know what we were dealing with; spit up, or puke. While we gathered kids away from the little mess, we were planning on going to get the mother just to be on the safe side and so she could deal with her oldest. (The middle child remained invisible the whole time - no drama there). Suddenly, another pile of "stuff" that we deduced to being barf. Nice.
So, Shelbee got the mom who slowly and casually came back to the Kid's Club. We explained that we weren't sure what was wrong with her baby and she just slowly walked up to the baby and said, "Hmm, what's wrong?" No biggie, but I started to think about all the CLEAR signs that were there BEFORE she brought her baby in...HE'S SICK, DUMMY!!! While she strapped her baby into the barf coated car seat, I was dealing with her bratty son. He was getting into the separated baby area and I told him to get out. He was grabbing chalk and I had to follow him and take it from him to remind him that he lost his chalk privileges due to being disrespectful to the other kid's and their artwork. He was pushing and shoving a little girl and I had to quickly run up to him and tell him hands off! He then spilled another kid's goldfish on the floor and that's when I was done, because the whole time she just stood there doing nothing at all. NOTHING! So, I told him to get over by his mother and stay there and was not to leave her side. He said no and started running around the room. Finally, I walked up to her and said, "You need to do something about your kid!"
I was not even nice about it at all. In fact, I shocked myself with how curt I was with her, because that just isn't my style. But you want to know what shocked me even more? She casually told her son, "Okay buddy, it's time to go. Get your shoes on." He started throwing a fit and she had to wrestle with him. At that point, I had to walk out. I couldn't stand it for several reasons.
A. Her son obviously receives no punishment...ever.
B. He has no concept of authority or discipline.
C. This mother brought her sick kid to a DAYCARE so she could selfishly get a workout in, no matter how sick her child was or if he was contagious to the other children (including my own).
D. Her reaction to me disciplining her son and telling her to do something about it, was not what I would expect a parent to do.
If someone was disciplining Farrah and I was there, I would let them finish the punishment and I would take over from there. Not rescuing her, but following through to correct her bad behavior. If someone told me to do something about my kid's shitty behavior, I'd probably actually REACT. First, it would never get to that point with Farrah because I have no problem dragging her into the bathroom and giving her a spanking or a firm scolding. But if someone said that to me, I would be up in their face telling them "how it is". I would react that way, because I KNOW I try very hard to make sure I'm not raising an asshole. That is my sole mission in life: Don't raise an asshole
That being said, she must have known I was right. She needed to do something about her effing kid! The neglect with those kids made me crazy mad, and mad enough to tell a complete stranger (in not so many words) they're doing a poor job. While the 5 year old was making me crazy, it wasn't him so much as it was the idea that this woman brought a clearly sick, 9 month old baby into the gym around other children instead of keeping him home and "mothering" him. This woman has a son who is old enough to know better and to have manners and show people respect, but he's never been shown how. It was so sad and awful.
If you're overwhelmed because you have 3 kids and don't exactly know what you're doing, for God's sake, ask for some help! Don't contribute to the millions of other parents who decided to give birth to a "friend" and let them walk all over you and every person they come in contact with. You need to rock the boat that is so uncomfortable to rock. That's the hardest part of being a parent. Parenting. But TRY, dammit!!! It doesn't take a "village", moms and dads, it takes YOU.