Rotten Kids, Episode #100

I am feeling old today, because I just got my first pair of glasses with “progressive” lenses (that is, bifocals for people who like to hide the fact that they are wearing bifocals), so pardon me if I am cranky.  If you are a kid, I warn you:  Do not play on my lawn today, or I will yell at you.  (My own kids are probably exempt from this rule, but they should not push their luck.)

Rotten Kids are to be found nearly everywhere, but if you want to see bad kids, encouraged in their bad behavior by bad parents, the local Ghetto-Mart is a great place to go.

Tonight I chose a self check-out lane, because it was the shortest line.  (According to a corollary to of Murphy’s Law,  “The shortest line moves the slowest.”)  There was a mother with 3 boys in front of me, and she appeared to be competent enough to use the self check-out machine, so I ignored Murphy’s Law and took the calculated risk to get in the shortest line.

The kids took turns leaving the line, and grabbing things that they thought their mother should buy for them.  Most of these were food items, even though “malnourished” was not an adjective that would describe them well.  She didn’t buy any of these things, or tell the kids to put them back, or make the kids stop grabbing stuff, but she just left the stuff for some employee to put back.   Meanwhile, one of the kids, who was probably 7 years old and about 80 pounds, insisted on sitting in the kid seat in the shopping cart.  His mother told him not to climb into the cart, but he just kept climbing, and finally the mother gave up, and let him be there.

I am sure some doctor or school nurse or psychologist would diagnose these kids with Attention Deficit Disorder, or hyperactivity, or some other condition.  And who knows if their nervous systems are messed up in some way?

But there is one really obvious reason why the kids were behaving badly.  Every time they misbehaved, they got their way.  Yes, their mother nagged and threatened them, sometimes abusively, but she would always give up and give in.  And if you really want something, or just want attention, nagging is a small price to pay.  Millions of husbands know this.  In fact, the mother had a wedding ring, so maybe that is where her sons learned how to ignore their mother.

Like I said, I am feeling old today.   These progressive lenses take some getting used to, and they give me motion sickness when I turn my head. 

If I get any older and crankier, I might start dispensing free parenting advice when I see a situation like this. 😮


11 thoughts on “Rotten Kids, Episode #100

  1. hi Ray… I know exactly what you’re talking about..I’ve seen this behaviour so many times and it makes me so angry… parents that are not meant to be parents..I always say.. girls should spend one year (after school) doing a course aobut “how to raise kids/how to be a good parent”… sometimes it’s the problem of girls getting pregnant at a young age and they don’t know how to raise kids…coz they are kids themselves…I’ve seen it zillion times here in London..girls that should be at school! but, then the government support them with everything…house/money…so that’s one reason, I blame the government for their support they give coz those children are too lazy to learn/work and it’s so much easier fall pregnant to get all of those benefits! that’s only one part of the problem… the other part is…older girls getting pregnant, but they don’t know how to raise children/discipline them … sometimes they don’t treat them with respect and those children grow up like them…it’s a cycle…

  2. Hey, I had BIFOCALS at 17 – so knock off the olf-age comments! (my siblings would say I’ve been cranky for a looonnnggg time).

  3. Barb, you can just be the exception — someone who gets bifocals while still in the bloom of youth.

    I mean, I have to have SOMETHING to hold over him, agewise, being a bit older. It’s ironic that my eyes have always been far worse of the two of us, but I haven’t reached the point of needing reading glasses yet.

    And you are NOT cranky! At least, not that I’ve noticed!

  4. Nikita,

    The thing about this lady was, she looked reasonably prosperous and intelligent, and she did not appear to be a single mother. She was also old enough that she probably did not start out as a teenage mom.

    But she had no idea about how to deal with bad behavior. If you are a parent, you should expect that your kids will misbehave occasionally, and you should have a clue about how to deal with it.

    Parenting classes might help, but I suspect some of the teachers would do more harm than good. It would probably be better for young parents to find families with slightly older kids who seem to be doing well, and learn from them by example. Churches can be very helpful with this.

    Generally, you get more of what you reward and less of what you punish. Which is why we have fewer single mothers in the USA since we cut back on welfare in the 1990’s. (Interestingly, the number of abortions went down too, so out of wedlock pregnancies went down: they didn’t just end in abortions.)

    In this case, the mother rewarded bad behavior, and she will keep getting more of it. If she simply made sure that her yes meant yes, and her no meant no, she would have fewer problems. If she also made sure that something bad happened to them when they defied her, they would probably start to listen to her.

    One of our parenting battles was about a kid who would not eat his vegetables. We simply made a firm rule: No green beans, no dessert. The battle lasted for about a week, and several tears were shed, but we can testify that getting that kid to eat has never been a problem since then.

  5. Barb,
    I had bifocals at 16, so there!!!!
    Actually, my distance vision was OK, but I needed glasses for reading, so it was a choice of either bifocals or half frames. I chose the marginally less nerdy option.

  6. “It would probably be better for young parents to find families with slightly older kids who seem to be doing well, and learn from them by example. Churches can be very helpful with this. ”

    You betcha that’s the way to learn! I think you know, Dunsworths, that we are looking to you (and others in our church) for parenting wisdom. Just seeing how your kids can sit still in church is reason enough for us to follow your example! How do you get them to do that, anyway? ;o)

  7. Adiel: drugs.

    No, seriously, it’s good to hear that they appear to others to be sitting still — sometimes it seems to us like the younger ones (well, to be fair, The Youngest One) are rather, um, mobile.

    Remember that our youngest is more than two years older than your oldest. It’s really just about perseverance, if you are starting off on the right foot (which you and Joshua definitely appear to be doing.) An hour plus is just a looong time for a child that young, and it takes time, practice, and just plain a certain amount of maturity, for them to be able to stay in a settled state for such a long period of time. Also, a child as young as your youngest takes a lot of time and energy, and you may feel more sensitive to your own children’s behavior just because you are physically and emotionally more weary of dealing with the ups and downs of small children. I don’t doubt that anyone seeing your children in church would be impressed with how well they do for their ages.

    Anyhoo, thanks for the encouragement. It is truly appreciated.

  8. My wife the other day, told me how she witnessed a mother nearly break her 3 year old daughter in half at our local Wal-Mart. The child was calling out to her mother to hold her and the mother in a violent manner picked up her child along with saying some choice words. It disturbed her so much my wife right there in the isle said a prayer for the two of them.

    Wal-Mart does seem to attract the dregs in society. I liken it to the Cherry Festival in North East, PA, where every single wierdo from the tri-state area comes out.

    I can see why people would rather pay more elsewhere than deal with that kind of environment at Wal-Mart. Not to say you can’t see parental abuse and neglect elsewhere in the public, but from my perception it is more prevalent at Wal-Mart.

  9. It’s a good thing your government has stopped the support and that the teenage pregnancies have dropped…I think it will surely help here too if that happens… and I agree with positive rewards than has always worked for me in my classroom… praise/rewards instead of punishment! have a good week!!

  10. Nikita,

    We haven’t ended welfare, but we did reduce it a bit.

    My impression of British kids was that they were usually good, although sometimes they pull pranks on their nannies. Can you tell I get my opinions from old movies? 🙂


    Wal-mart obviously attracts shoppers looking for the cheapest stuff, but I think it also brings out the worst in parents. Generally, when my wife goes shopping, I have most of the kids at home. If she had to drag all of the kids out with her all the time, it would probably be because I was up to no good, and she might be grumpy.

    I find the in-town Wal-mart (aka Ghetto-Mart) to be far worse than the one in Harborcreek, just because its in a poorer area, and draws both its customers and its employees from the area.

  11. Hi Ray… I will rather reply about your view of British kids on the chess! All I can say here..I think your view relates to the kids on the country side… but definitely not in London… or any other big city in the UK… 😉

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