21 June 2010

Stop Being Mean to Your Kids!!!!!!!

So I was in Kohl's last week.  Casually browsing through the men's Hawaiian shirts, trying to find the perfect shirt for Father's Day.  It was early, 10:30 am, and the store was not yet crowded, so I was alone in the menswear dept.  And then I heard it, a small child, crying/whining "But I'm tired!"  And then I heard the mom say in her meanest voice ever "THERE ARE NO CARTS WITH SEATS! YOU HAVE TO WALK!!!!!!!". 

The voices got louder, I knew they were heading my way, but still could not see this little family amongst all the racks of clothing.  The girl kept crying "Mama, I'm tired!"  The mom kept bitching "You are 3 years old!  You have legs and can WALK!"  

Finally they walked past where I was perusing my shirts.  All single file.  First the mom, mid 30's probably, looking very stern.  Then the 3 year old, just a tiny thing, all hunched over, dragging her feet, rubbing her eyes.  Crying.  Then a third person, another girl, probably 7 or 8, walking along not saying a peep, just looking sad. 

I wanted to pick up the 3 year old and give her a little squeeze and tell her "I know you are tired, I'm sorry your mom dragged you to this store".  But I just kept looking at my shirts, and cringing every time this mom yelled at her 3 year old for being tired.  I wanted to tell this mom that her time with her 3 year old will be over in a flash, and that her daughter was the most precious thing right now, not shopping, and that she should pick her up and give her a squeeze, and then maybe she'd more happily walk along.  Or if she was really tired (I know my toddlers often woke up at 5-6am!), how hard would it be to carry her along, this was a tiny 3 year old, not a big hulking one. 

But I said nothing.  I don't think if I had it would have been well received.  The older girl seemed sad, either the mom had been bitching at her kids all morning, or she just wasn't an overall nice mom.  Seems the older daughter had already learned the drill, keep your emotions hidden, don't voice your concerns.  Just follow along and tow the line.  Sad really.

I see this too often.  Parent's dragging their kids here and there, the kids are tired, the parent's are yelling at them.  Why does a child deserve to be yelled at for being tired and sharing their feelings?  This is why kids shut down and learn not to feel.  They have been raised by people who don't honor them, or their feelings or care about what they think.  This is why people eat too much and smoke and drink and do drugs and shop, etc.  They were taught to shut off their emotions as kids, to stay out of trouble or to avoid being yelled at.  If you have lost touch with your emotions, you don't know who you are or what you are feeling.  If you don't know those things, you look for outside things to make you feel better. 

I'm no shrink, but I have been there.  I was often told as a child what to feel.  If I cried I was told not to cry.  If I was slapped and cried I was told it didn't hurt.  If something happened I was told it wasn't as bad as I was making it out to be. 

No one knows what someone else is feeling and no one else has the right to tell someone else how to feel.  EVER!  

Even a 3 year old knows what they feel.  Until someone bigger and stronger tells them, over and over, that they aren't feeling what they think they are.  Then they begin to question themselves, until they no longer feel. 

Wake up parents!  

"Feelings are everywhere - be gentle."


Amanda said...

Speaking of Kohl's, working there showed me what kind of parent I should strive NOT to be. I'm sure Kohl's shoppers are no worse than any others, that just happened to be where I worked. I saw and heard parents dragging kids through the store crying and obviously tired of being there. One night near Christmas, we were open until 11 or 12 and there was a mom in there near closing time with a 2 or 3 year old who very obviously needed to be home in bed. But mom is just strolling through the store, yelling at the kid to stop whining and crying.
The worse thing I ever saw, though, and I will never in my life forget this because it was so incomprehensible to me, was the little boy who was holding himself and crying that he had to go to the bathroom, while his mom walked through the store toward the exit, AWAY from the restrooms, which were clearly labeled with big direction signs all over the store. She was in no hurry, and she obviously wasn't taking him to the bathroom. What?
At least she was with him. I couldn't tell you how many parents leave their kids in the toy section then go shop by themselves. It was really a very discouraging time. It's sad to see how so many parents treat their kids. And if they treat them like that in public, what are they doing behind closed doors?

Catherine said...

That's so frustrating to see. We need to allow our kids to express themselves respectfully. Even if it wasn't possible for the mom to let the kid ride in a cart right then, the kid needs to be able to say that he/she is tired. And, sometimes, kids are going to be whiny. Then, it's up to the adult to act like an adult and control our actions and not say mean things. But, adults act the way we were raised to act by our own parents. It's a hard cycle to break. I think you were right not to say anything to that mom. The best thing to do is pray for them. Lots and lots of prayer.

Deanna said...

This is one of the reasons I quit shopping at Walmart over 2 years ago. I got so tired of seeing poor parenting on exhibition. Sometimes I'd try to shop late at night to avoid the crowds but it seemed there was always at least one family out with kids way past when they should have been at home, asleep. I would understand, perhaps, a single working mom who simply had no other time to do her grocery shopping and no one to leave the kids with (although that doesn't excuse being mean to them) but too often it would be mom and dad both out with the kids. Come on, people. One of you should stay home and put those tired children to bed.

Anonymous said...

I am one of those parents, not happily. I see things I don't like in myself but sometimes I can't control these feelings, and yes I was taught not to feel also, its very sad sometimes. I don't want that for my girls, a 3 year old and 19 month old. Life is frustrating, I dont go many places so its not an issue about taking them in public, I just can't seem to be positive for them enough and I know it. But how can I change? I just feel sad.

Anonymous said...

I'm that kid 20 years ago and let me tell you, it's the little things like yelling at your kid for being tired that causes them to shut down. And then my parents wonder why I don't talk to them. I never pieced this together until just now. It makes so much sense. They virtually train you to become emotionless and then when you don't talk to them they make a big fuss. It's confusing and annoying and maybe if I had more than fishfingers and ketchup for dinner I wouldn't have been so tired in the first place ...

Nifer Sancia said...

I know how you feel. I feel like that too. I sometimes feel like I'm so burnt out. I don't have really no one to help me with her. My husband is away for a while... So I'm single parent right now. And sometimes what she dose gets on my nerves and I get upset and raise my voice at her or she wants more of my attention than what i can give right now cuz i have to much to do... So she acts out. It's hard and i feel bad cuz really all she wants is me and i can't give her all of me...