I was in line at Sears the other day, behind two very soft-spoken parents and their extremely ill-mannered child. I’m guessing he was around three or four, and he was retrieving one candy bar after another from a nearby rack and begging his parents to purchase each one. The mother quietly whispered that he’d had enough already, as she shyly smiled in my direction. The father more forcefully told the child no, and brought the candy back to the rack.
As they were ending their transaction, the child brought a Kit-Kat up to the counter. The parents took it from him, again told him he had already had enough, and then just placed it on the counter. Eventually, the father handed it back to the boy and instructed him to put it back.
Instead, the kid RIPPED THE CORNER OFF THE PACKAGE WITH HIS TEETH.
At this point, the parents had to buy the Kit-Kat…..I mean, I HOPED they would. And they did. But it was what they did AFTER that astonished me. THEY GAVE THE KID THE KIT-KAT, saying “Well – sigh – Here you go.” WTF?!?!?!?
I muttered, loudly enough for them to hear, “Look who learned a new trick,” and they just smiled shyly again.
On the one hand, I have to give the kid props for thinking up that little gem of a move. On the other, he clearly hasn’t been well-disciplined in his short life. And the parents – UGH. They should have been held down and force-fed Kit-Kats until they threw up.
It never ceases to amaze me how fast parents give in to their kids, no matter how badly behaved they are. In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m not a parent. I’ve babysat a lot of kids, including some pretty unruly ones, but always with the knowledge that I can give the kid back at the end of the night. I’m sure dealing with repeated tantrums after a long day can be tiring. I’m sure there are times when even the best parents just give in, and I’m sure, if I have kids, I’ll have days like that. But this episode in Sears was CLEARLY a case of the kid being in charge – ALWAYS being in charge – and that just drives me crazy. Grown a spine, people!!! You’re neither a doormat nor a punching bag. And you’re not even a friend. You’re a PARENT. Please do the rest of us, and your child especially, a favor and ACT LIKE IT.