Sunday, October 26, 2008

Test of Understanding

First of all, let me say that I try not to be judgmental of other people's parenting techniques/skills. And I think I generally succeed quite well in my efforts in that area. Except today.

Today we had stake conference. Not wanting to sit amongst hundreds of others in the cultural hall, we opted for the overflow area of the nursery. Ideal situation. They plan on that room being mostly parents and kids, so they don't set up too many chairs and, for the most part, the kids are entertaining themselves with toys so you can usually hear the speakers.

What tested me was the parent who would not control his 5-year-old child. This kid consistently talked loudly, wanted more toys from the closets, would not share, complained when other children didn't share, and got toys out and threw (not gently dropped or tossed, but threw) them to the floor because they weren't what he wanted. The parent would tell him not to get more toys out over and over, but never even tried to stop the child from opening the closets (our nursery closets don't stay completely shut unless they're locked). Never made any attempt to get the child to speak quietly. And didn't make much of an attempt to get the child to share with younger children (or any children for that matter), but rather would try to convince the almost-2-year-olds that they needed to let the older child play all by himself with whatever toy was in question. (Thankfully the younger kids usually didn't care.) When the child started throwing tantrums over not getting to play with something nothing was done about it. Most other parents I've come across just don't act this way. Especially not with a 5-year-old! It's not like the youngest nursery kids who don't always understand what you're telling them (and most parents I know won't let their 18-month-olds get away with such behavior).

Basically, the parents refuse to follow through with what they ask the child to do. And the child knows it. As for me, I'll hope I never have to teach a class with this child in it. My plea to all who are reading: if/when you have children, please don't parent in such a manner. Not if you don't want me irritated to the core with you, that is. End of rant. Thanks for listening.


Momof8 said...

It was interesting to read your blog today when the children in our Sacrament Meeting were noisier than usual. Several children were taken out (to their parents' credit), but these were only the children/babies who were crying loudly. Somehow I was able to hear and be touched spiritually by the talks given today. Not every 18-month-old child, or older, can be taught to whisper when in Sacrament Meeting, but I'm willing to bet that many of those little ones who can be taught to be reverent (or at least quieter) are not being taught.

That being said, I've lately become more careful about judging parents & their children after reading and learning more about autistic children and the challenge they can be for parents (not that the child you described was necessarily autistic, but many times you can't tell).

Erin said...

It's true, it can be difficult to tell if a child is challenged in some way. If that's not the case with this particular child (which you always hope it isn't), I'll just hope (and try to assume) that the parents aren't always so lax.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the child might have a problem. My guess is ADHD. The parents do care, but when they try to control the child a violent tantrum erupts, so they settle for simple bad behavior so they can stay at church.

I have a friend who has poor hearing and a hearing aid that doesn't filter out background noise. She got so upset in Sacrament two weeks ago that she scolded a little boy behind her and he cried & the mother cried. Now she feels so bad about it she doesn't want to go to Sacrament meeting ever again. (Personally I think she needs a state-of-the-art hearing aid. She could afford it.)

As for other parents like yourself, I guess it's a test of your faith. You can't turn off a hearing aid, just do what you can to protect your own child. How sad.