By now I’m certain you’ve heard the news about the mother who was arrested for allowing her 9 year old daughter to play at a park, alone, while she worked. I’m sure that you’ve formed your judgment regarding her parenting. It’s been all over the web and I’ve seen so many references to it on facebook.
Quite surprisingly, and equally encouraging, the majority of the people’s newsfeeds that I’ve actually seen who make reference to this arrest, make no judgment whatsoever publically. Instead, they reserve judgment for the lame-ass parent who called the police to report a 9 year old at the playground!
What a high falutin biotch she must be. Without a doubt she’s a helicopter parent whose children are as neurotic as she is and completely unable to fend for themselves in any of lifes tasks from bathroom hygiene to deciding between soup or salad. You call the police? That’s her response? I wish I could say this was an isolated incident, but unfortunately, there is a rapidly growing section of society that are self-absorbed, self-centered jerks!
Also in the news recently was the story about the mother who was reported by a pompous ass for allowing her 11 year old to wait for her in the car while she ran errands? An 11 year old! 11 Years Old!! Last I checked, most 11 year olds can open doors and roll down windows and regulate their own body temperature. Last I heard, most 11 year olds (mine excluded) have their own iPhones with which to call their parents if they get too warm.
Shoot, when I was 11, I hated going into stores, my brother and I would always beg to stay in the car. The cops never came to arrest my mom. One time I even pulled out my brother’s tooth while we waited. Blood was everywhere, he was screaming. Still, no horror filled gasps from other mothers who “would never”!
We, Americans, are becoming our own police state. We don’t even think twice before we pick up the phone to report our neighbors dog for barking. Or turn them into the HOA for long grass. We see a kid climbing a tree, the police are called (true story) because … because why? Because you wouldn’t let your kid climb a tree? Because you wouldn’t let your grass grow past the allowed height? Get over yourselves, people. You are so preoccupied with the perceived speck in your neighbors eye that you fail to see the log in your own. We are so smug and self-important that our poor kids are growing up in households where everything is decidedly “too dangerous”.
They are decked out in knee pads, elbow pads, helmet and shin guards to ride a bike. They must play with every toy exactly as it was designed, no running up the slide or climbing on the outside of playground equipment. Parents micromanage their every day, their every move. This generation of parents brings a new meaning to the word “sheltered”. These kids aren’t sheltered from R-rated movies and bad influences, they are sheltered from life! But, yet they send their kids to school to be harrassed and subjected to Sex Education in Kindergarten! They decry the dangers of guns, but yet fail to teach them gun safety. They are aghast if their boy gets in a tussle with another boy, but cry foul when that same son spends entire football games on the bench.
You know, when I was nine I was a latch-key kid, I walked 1 mile from school and arrived at an empty house. I made my own snacks and got myself to swim practice every evening before either of my parents returned home. A nine year old is in 4th Grade!! A nine year old can legally babysit her siblings (maybe), can fly on a plane by himself, and can even cross the border unaccompanied! But play at the playground, a very busy playground teeming with kids and their parents? Nope, that’s such a grave indication of neglect, the police are called. And, not only that, the police actually make a ridiculous situation worse by arresting the mother!!!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating latch-key kids, I’m a stay-at-home mom, I’ve devoted my life to raising my kids. I’m not advocating a no holds barre on parenting, I’m not advocating leaving pre-adolescent kids in the car, though if my 11 year old (if I had one) wanted to, I would probably allow him to … I mean he’s 11! But, alas, it’s a moot point, my kids insist on coming in to every flippin store/bathroom/hut/place we go.
What I am advocating is some discernment. Police are there for emergencies, they are not there for neighborly disputes or to assuage another mother’s apprehension in her parenting. Who are these people who need constant bolstering? They are cut-throat in their righteousness. There is a war of ideology. It makes me sick, it really does. Seriously, when did we start policing each other with such vulgar indignation? When did we decide that our way is the only way? When the hell did it become ok to call the police on another mom simply because you “would never” parent that way?
When I was a kid, mom’s (and dad’s) supported each other, encouraged each other. There was no eye raising when Georgia took the bus to DC every afternoon from school, there was no tsk tsk’ing when Lois and Nick spanked Julie, no ridicule because Leslie used time-outs, there was no scoffing at Bette because she stayed home and no coup against Helene because she worked. All these mom’s lived on the same block, their kids all played together, some were A students, some barely got by. Some were well adjusted, some, again, barely got by. But it didn’t matter, these mom’s all had the same goals, to raise great kids and they supported each other.
My parents didn’t call the cops when our house was TP’d by the kids down the street, they didn’t sue, they simply made me and my brother clean up the mess. When there was a fight amongst us, no parents got involved or took sides, it didn’t ruin their friendship, they weren’t wrapped up in our temporary happiness, there was a much larger goal at stake. And they had each others backs through it all. But not only that, they had every kids back … all of them.
Once there were a bunch of teenagers smoking dope in the woods behind our house. My dad went out there and dragged each of these kids back to their parents … no cops were called, no arrests were made and no lives ruined that night. How would this be dealt with today? Oh the parent who witnessed the drug smoking teens would be filled with rage and anger, righteous indignation that this was happening in their neighborhood. They’d be furious with the parents who raised such deviants and they would undoubtedly call the police to teach the kids and their parents that their illegal activity will not be tolerated.
But a good parent, a parent who is not parenting for approval’s sake, not constantly looking for confirmation of their own great parenting, but rather, a parent parenting for the child’s sake has THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD in mind. And that very rarely involves police!
We have become so out of touch, so polarized as a nation, that we don’t see each other as being on the same team, rather we see other parents and their different parenting philosophies as threatening. It’s so insane! You can’t see past your own needs and your own insecurities and therefore must lash out and justify your own inadequacies by targeting those with whom you don’t align.
Should you ignore a 9 year old at a playground by herself? Perhaps, perhaps not. It depends on the situation. Is she struggling? Is she confident? Is she scared? Is she hurt? If you were really concerned, the best course of action might be to keep an eye on her yourself, or even ask her where her mom was. If this low life “parent” had done so, she would have discovered the girl had her mom’s cell phone. You could have spoken to the mom, explained how leaving a 9 year old a lone at a playground might not be the best option, but you know what, that takes guts and since most of these “reporters” are cowards, they simply take the easy way out and call the cops. Problem solved, a simple anonymous call to the police and you can pretend it never happened.
But the flip side is the ruination of a family. The destruction of a parent’s confidence and ability in raising her children. Sometimes intervention is necessary, there is no doubt! I would like to think that intervention most often could come in the form of information. But, in the case of abuse, authorities must be called, I would be the first to report an abusive parent! But true abuse goes unreported. WTH?
Do I dare say to be careful what you deem abusive because it might just be that your view’s are challenged one day. I believe it’s detrimental to a child to go to daycare, I’m not the only one. I believe it’s devastating to a child, of any age, to be left to cry themselves to sleep, to be spanked, to be the products of divorce, to be leashed and to be fed processed food …
But I’m not a ego-maniac, I know kids from these homes can grow up to be amazing people. Dan was spanked and allowed to cry himself to sleep as a kid, and he’s the most amazing person I’ve ever met. About 90% of my friends parents divorced and yet they are productive, compassionate, and great parents themselves. Who the heck am I to decide how you should parent your children?
I can’t for the life of me understand how we as a society have come to a place where parents are literally at war with other parents to have their philosophies win, where they can justify calling the police in order to validate their own parenting. I can’t for the life of me understand how we’ve lost our ability to decipher the difference between parenting that is abusive and parenting that is just different from ours!
This is terrifying because the police obviously lack this ability as well, given the fact that these stories actually hit mainstream media due to the officers willingness to arrest these moms! Are we all lacking all common sense? I just read a story about a mom who was sitting in a lawn chair watching her 6 & 9 year old daughters ride bikes in their cul de sac as she always does. When they were done, they went inside for baths and dinner only to be visited by the police. Apparently a neighbor reported that the girls were biking alone. She was ARRESTED! No lie! ARRESTED. Google it. She’s now suing, the police department, the cop and the neighbor!! Good for her!
What’s even more frightening for parents across the globe is the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Sounds innocuous as hell as everyone wants to protect children, but I challenge you to really research it. Research the lobby groups behind it. Research what it REALLY means for parents near and far!
Do you homeschool? If the senate were to ratify this bill, outlawed! Spankers, beware, that’s outlawed too. Anti-porn? Too bad, kids will have the “right” to “seek, receive and impart information of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.”
Do you attend mass with your kids? Watch out, kids can object! Anti-gang? The freedom of association clause says you can’t forbid your child to join the Blood’s if he or she so desires!
What I’m trying to say is that already parents have an uphill battle in raising their kids to be incredibly awesome, amazing, self-sufficient contributors to society. We have an uphill battle in imparting the Word of God in our children’s hearts. We have an uphill battle in teaching our kids to do for themselves.
And now, we must be wary of neighbors and passers-by lest they not like something about us or they just plain old hate us? Why do we pursue being right at all costs? There’s so little civility and common decency, so much condemnation of people we don’t even know. Chill out America. Relax. Kids can get dirty and kids can be left to their own devices on occassion. I was babysitting for a family of 4, including a 3 month old at the age of 12 and we did things like go to the pool, the playground and bike ride! Now people see Kenny, who is a short 14 year old, with Coby and they start interrogating him. Where’s your mom? Is she here? Typically I am, because I prefer it that way. I let them roam free, under a watchful distanced eye. Why? Because that’s what I WANT to do.
You know me, I’m not a fan of the village, and this is why … I don’t trust the village. The village is comprised of back-stabbing, sanctimonious, parasitic simpletons! Perhaps if we got off our high horse long enough to mingle with the average parent, the good enough parent, we’d see we have much more in common than not. We’d see that we all have the same goals, and while we might not take the same path, we all hope to meet in the same place.