Awhile back, I promised more stories of the kinds of things parents do that really make you wonder. Then I self-censored because I know that parents often feel that everyone is criticizing them and I don’t want to load it on. But still…they are too good not to share! So here are a few more stories of things parents do that make you wonder, What are they thinking?
*One area library built their children’s room with many wonderful interactive touches. It just never occurred to them that parents–not kids, parents–would take the large cubes, stack them several feet in the air, and put their children on top. Raise your hand if you think the parents who would do that would be the same parents who would sue the library if their child fell and was injured.
*Another area library was surprised when a group who was using their program room thought that water balloons would be a fun library activity. The mother explained that she just didn’t KNOW that wasn’t allowed. Really? Do you have to spell out everything that isn’t allowed? Because that would be a very very long list, even at a library like mine where we allow a lot of stuff libraries didn’t allow in the past.
*A mom in the grocery store on Labor Day is jabbering on her cell phone while her four children amuse themselves as best they can. One keeps busy by rearranging OUR groceries on the conveyor belt. She gets off the phone and very dramatically says “WHAT is the matter with people?” She points to each child in turn, saying, “What is wrong with YOU? What is wrong with YOU? What is wrong with YOU? What is wrong with YOU? They say they’ll be there at 3 and then they call and say they’ll be there at 4, or 4:30.” One of the little girls says in a very worried-sounding voice, “Did we do something wrong, Mama?” and the mom just laughs and rolls her eyes. My own 20-year-old son commented as we were leaving that one of those kids was a lot smarter than the others–the one arranging our things on the conveyor belt had learned to stop paying any attention to his mother and was interacting with the real world. I had to admit he had a point.
The thing I see over and over and over with parents and kids is how often the parents model the exact behavior they don’t want to see in their children. It’s the kind of behavior that gets them in trouble at school, and gets the parents yelled at. They sit in storytime and chat with their friends instead of paying attention, and then a few years down the road when they start hearing that their kids chat with friends in class instead of paying attention, they are mad at the kid. I sometimes wish I could tell them that. But I can’t, so I’m telling you.