Parents Behaving Badly
Being a parent brings out the best in us. We smile more, love more, hug more. We are more tolerant and patient. However, in this episode of Parents Behaving Badly, we’ll examine two instances when we might have been one breastpump away from a brawl.
At the pool the other day, a friend’s boy was tossing dive sticks across the pool. He wasn’t aiming for anyone. As a matter of fact, at his age, he couldn’t have aimed and hit his eventual target. Said target was a baby. In a float, sucking a pacifier. Whoops.
Sure, he could have paid more attention to the surrounding area or not thrown them at all. It was crowded. However, he made a kid decision, which resulted in an accident.
The lifeguard came up to The Big Kid, the tosser of pool toys, asking him to be careful and letting him know that he’d hit someone. TBK’s mom was totally mortified and TBK burst into tears. He was embarrassed, too. TBK’s mom wanted to go, with her child, to apologize. Mom of The Little Baby was in the center of the very large pool, making the approach difficult. Mom of TBK waited a few minutes and finally MoTLB got close enough. As they made their way over, what appeared to be the baby’s older sister yells “HERE THEY COME!” proving that they’d been talking about it. This whole time. I didn’t see any blood and I’m pretty sure the baby was over it. Why wasn’t his mama? An apology was politely given, though MoTLB still seemed miffed and actually lectured TBK. What else could MoTBK do?
Once while playing putt-putt in Martinez, several adults and I had five kids with us, all age 7 and under. We were just about to get started when a guy and his teenage offspring breezed past us, saying they’d “just skip ahead so we didn’t hold them up.” In some ways I understood what he meant. We had little ones and he assumed we were going to be slow.
As we played, the two oldest boys in our group were finishing first and running ahead to the next hole. They’re little enough that they didn’t understand to wait for the previous putters to finish before teeing off (is that still what you call it for mini golf?). At least twice the Man in a Hurry glared at them as they interrupted his game. Finally, after six or seven times being forced to wait on this guy and his daughters, I said (enter sickly sweet tone and smiley face), “Boys, I know it’s hard to be held up by another player, but we must be patient and wait our turn!”
The moment following my comment included a look that only happens between competing parents. He knew he’d been busted. Although I’m pretty sure he went even more slowly for the last three holes, I was satisfied. Was I the one who acted childish? Maybe, but he started it.
So when we do these things, what are we teaching our kids? An apology won’t cut it? Cut in line if you’re in a hurry? I’m not saying we have to go all Kumbaya My Lord, but a little compassion and understanding never hurt anyone. Let’s just try to ride the Peace Train next time.