The Kids Aren’t Alright.

I don’t mean to go off on a rant but…

I’ve been lucky enough to have guests for the past week! Having guests however, leaves me with no time for crafting (not complaining, the break from crafts and DIY projects will only make me more excited to jump back into it when the time comes). Not crafting leaves me with other things to write about (again, not complaining), I realize that my baking and DIY-ing doesn’t interest everyone so I’m happy to write about something else every now and then. Hopefully in the future I will be able to write about good and happy things. Unfortunately, this post (not unlike my last) will be about something I have been thinking a lot about lately and makes me fear for our future.

Manners. Manners are what bwings us togetha today.

After teaching, working at a before/after school program and the most recent stint as a nanny, I’d think it’s safe to say that I have a fair amount of experience with children. The amount of “good”, or shall we say, polite children seem to be dwindling. Don’t get me wrong- in all my experiences there has always been at least one polite, happy-to-know-ya, “Can I help you with anything”-kind of kid. Unfortunately when there are one or two “good” kids in a class of thirty, there seems to be at least five who you’d rather not talk to in order to avoid frustration. It’s not the kid’s fault- they grow, develop and learn what they are taught in the environment that they live in (it would be a fair assumption on your part to say that I’m blaming parents). Sure, kids pick things up from their friends at school, heck- blame the television if you really want to, but all in all you’re avoiding the fact that kids learn the basics in life from you, parents. I have much to say on my distaste for bad-parenting and some experiences to back up my feelings, I hope that you’ll bear with me. I’ve done my best to make a short list of the three things that parents do that tick me off the most…

1. Being a Poor Example

Stephanie Tanner knows best.

I celebrated bringing in the New Year in the fair city of Toronto. On New Year’s Eve the group I was with went out to breakfast. While leaving the restaurant, I noticed behind me there was a family (mother, father, two children approximate ages 6-9) who were also leaving. They weren’t directly behind me, in fact they were several paces behind me. That didn’t stop me from holding the door open as I was exiting and waiting the 5-10 seconds it took for the family to reach it and also leave the building. As the family walked through, I made eye contact with the father, who was first in line, and smiled. Did he do what I had expected him to do? Smile back, say “Thank you”, grab the door and hold it for the rest of his family to walk through? Thus showing a good example to the two young children who were following so closely behind? Nay. He looked at my smiling face and quickly looked away, saying nothing. Shaken, but not devoid of hope, I continued to hold the door for the two children and lastly the mother, who I had kept my smile for. We too, made eye contact briefly before she followed the father’s horrific example of quickly looking away and saying nothing to me. Needless to say my smile faded faster than a t-shirt in the sun. I’ve held doors open for plenty of folks who didn’t feel the need to thank me for it- but this one really flipped my pancake. Here, both parents had ample opportunity to be a shining example for their children and they both failed, horribly. It is my prediction that neither one of their children will ever thank someone for holding a door open for them.

If that’s not enough to make you believe that parents are responsible for their children’s behavior than try this one out for size…

2. Giving the Wrong  Reaction

A few days after Christmas I came across this video from Jimmy Kimmel Live. He asked parents to let their children open one Christmas present early, but give them an undesirable gift, and video tape the kid’s reactions. I moderately enjoyed the first minute of this video, seeing expected reactions from children- crying, saying “this is a girl toy”, etc. I was even impressed by one pair of children who were obviously unhappy with the half-eaten sandwich they received, but reacted quite well. The brother says “You should appreciate it” and the little girl replies “I appreciate her getting us a present, but I didn’t know it would be like that!”. The further into this video I got, the more disgusted and disappointed I became. One boy, who receives a girl’s sweater proceeds to have a tantrum screaming “I hate you” to his parents and runs toward the camera to strike the parent filming. At the end of the video, a (maybe 9-10 year old?) boy reacts to his parent saying “Well, Jimmy Kimmel told me to do it.” by saying “Well tell him to suck my balls!”. Excuse me? What’s even worse is the way the audience (and I’m assuming the parents) react to this statement with laughter. The kid will now be able to enjoy this video of himself saying this crude statement on national television, and reveive a positive reaction from it! (Here we come to a point where you may retort- “Well Liz, you said some pretty crude things in your last post regarding some reality stars and a sumo wrestler…” Yes, that is absolutely true. I never have and never will deny the fact that I can be somewhat crude at times. I, however, am not:  A) a nine year old boy or B) saying these things in front of children of any age. I can say as many stupid things I want in the company of adults, but I’m smart enough to know how to act around children due to their tendencies to watch, listen and repeat.)  I did not find the boy’s reaction funny, in fact I left out a loud gasp and felt bad for him, and once again felt fear for our future generations.

3. Being a Never-Present Parent

Recently, I was given the opportunity to do something I never thought I would do- be a New York City Nanny. Having dealt with large numbers of children in the past, taking care of one child didn’t really phase me. In fact, I figured it would be easier to tend to one child rather than dealing with the masses. Being as naive as I am, I assumed I had seen it all and could handle anything. I’m sad to say that in general the world of a NYC Nanny is as high-maintance and disappointing as the stereotypes make it out to be. Parents are either non-existent thanks to full-time jobs accompanied by night-school or the complete opposite and ever-present on the couch watching television, while it is the nanny’s job to cook, clean and tend to the child’s every day needs. Needless to say, this makes the children spoiled little things who lack in common courtesy proving to be less than a joy to work with. I’m not sure what’s worse- parents who are present and just bad at parenting, or parents who pawn their kids off to seven different nannies within a five year span. Either way, the lack of consistency obviously affects the child’s behavior. This was made obvious to me when I met a friend of the child that I was nannying. He, unlike my little girl, was polite, listened and did what he was told. His mother picked him up everyday at school, and brought him to his after-school activities, unlike the mother of my little girl who became annoyed after five-minutes in the little girl’s presence.  This made me really sad and I felt pity for the little girl whose parents seemed to have a child just to say “We had a child.”.

I find it unfair that there are so many unfit parents who neglect their children, or don’t give a hoot as to how they’re raised. Especially when there are so many people who would be such kind, loving and giving parents- but cannot physically have children. Please America- smarten up! Don’t laugh when your children are rude and disrespectful. Take the time to teach them how to be polite and give them positive reactions when they do so.

Don’t give me more reasons to rant on about how worried I am for the future of the human race,
I’m sure people are getting sick of it.


2 thoughts on “The Kids Aren’t Alright.

  1. Well said Elizabeth, the world has gotten ruder every year, common courtesy seems to be a thing of the past, and if Mom and Dad don’t teach (and discipline) then who will do it?

  2. Phew! For a minute there I thought my children might have inspired this post! Not really, but Leanora can be a little rude sometimes….anyway I totally agree with you EB! Being a parent is not easy by any means, but if you have common sense and morals you’re off to a good start. Teach your kids (not YOU personally, you know what I mean) how to be decent human beings, not like the kids we all hated in high school(rude, know-it-all, im-better-than-you spoiled meanies). Oops, went of on my own little rant there, sorry.

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