Sunday we always have a metric ton of children at renfaire, but this last Sunday was probably the worst one on the books for badly behaved children. I don’t know WTF parents are thinking, these days, other than they aren’t. I’m not advocating things so old fashioned as corporal punishment, but goddamnit! It’s ok to tell your kid “No,” and, oh, maybe teach them some common courtesy.
A mother passing my shop saw the handmade soaps, said to her family, “Oh! Handmade soaps! It smells so good! Let’s go inside.” The daughter, about 12-ish, took a look inside the shop, made eye-contact with me (I was standing near the doorway), and said, “No. I hate them,” and ran into the shop next door. The mother just … followed.
I don’t care that they didn’t come in. I don’t care that they went next door. But I just gotta’ wonder who makes the decisions in this family – the parents or that little child. You can guarandamntee that behavior goes beyond deciding what shop to go into.
Oh, and does anyone remember this little girl?
She was in my shop this weekend … with her whole famdamly. She was about 9 years old. She purchased a lip balm, and that was all. As I ringed up her purchase, I told her I would hand it to her rather than give her the huge bag (everyone else prefers to carry the lip balms and use them…). It was very cold and my fingers were numb. I accidentally dropped her unopened lip balm when I handed it to her. Not that I cared if she exchanged it, but rather than ask, she demanded in a very hateful tone, :: disgusted sigh :: “I want another one now.”
Her parents were right behind her and didn’t bat an eye.
I smiled and said, “Of course, my dear.”
She comes back and says, “Now I want a bag.” And to make her behavior just that much more special, she added a wee bit of a snarl to her smile. I handed her the clear plastic bag, trying to keep myself from doing society a future service….
She continues to behave badly in the background with her siblings while waiting with her grandparents and what appears to be aunts and uncles. Mummsy and Daddsy are at my register now with their purchases. Mummsy just looks over to her children and smiles, then looks back at me to pay. I look at her, then look at the demon spawn I just dealt with. I smile and say, “You’ve done such the job raising her.” (note, I didn’t say what a good job she did…)
It went right over her head, of course. Between the bright and shiny of renfaire, all the dialect, all the shopping, and oh, who has time to be a mother these days anyway…. some little girl is going to grow up to be a complete terror to her family. And to everyone else around her.
I’m not going to finish this with the standard “If I had done that when I was a kid… It’s overused and easily tuned out. You may as well start talking about how you walked uphill to school each day, in the snow, barefoot. I will say that these parents that mollycoddle their children will regret doing so someday. They aren’t doing the kids any favors. If they think they’re making life easier for them by lowering expectations, not saying “no”, or softening each little blow life gives them, the kids will never learn about the cruel realities of life when they eventually get out there on their own.
Or maybe they just want these kids to live with them forever…