This might be a controversial post considering I don’t have children and I haven’t physically been through the struggles that parents have in raising their kids. But what the hell.
I saw two types of parenting on my way to work this morning, both of which I disagree with. I will explain below in more detail and then you can decide. There are no wrong or right answers, but your opinions interest me.
Parent one: Female in her early twenties. Sat at the bus stop constantly on her iphone. She has a two or three year old, on a mini trike, eating a double chocolate chip muffin for breakfast (it’s 7.30am), in his trike basket he also has a bottle of full fat coca cola. A bus pulls up and the kid shouts and points ‘bus!’, mum does not look up from her phone or acknowledge the fact he has indeed, correctly identified a bus. The bus pulls away and he starts screaming and crying. Again, without looking up from her phone. ‘Ssshh we’ll get the next one.’ A lorry drives past and the kid shouts ‘lorry!’, again no recognition from mum. They get on the bus and the kid runs straight to the back, mum says ‘no, come and sit with mummy by your bike’, kid says ‘no!’. Mum gives in, leaves the trike at the front of the bus and goes to sit with her kid at the back of the bus.
Parent two: The bus is late, so there are a fair few people waiting at the bus stop. The bus finally arrives, and a parent arrives around the same time (flustered & late) with a six/seven year old. Pushes to the front of the queue of people, including other kids and an elderly lady, to get on the bus first. Sits in the disabled seats and picks up a copy of the metro and shows her daughter. ‘Look! There’s that dead kid that washed up on the shore, look!’ Forcing the paper into her child’s hands. The little girl looks suitably horrified. Then, like any other inquisitive child asks; ‘What happened to him?’ Response; ‘He drowned.’ Little girls asks, ‘Why?’ Parent – ‘Don’t know.’ Child – ‘Where is his Mummy?’ Parent – ‘Don’t know’. ‘ Where is Syria?’ ‘Abroad’. ‘Why is it bad out there?’ ‘Don’t know.’ ‘Where will all these people go?’ ‘Don’t know’.
And as I left the bus, the little girl was still asking questions that her mum couldn’t answer. Which in essence is fine. Parents don’t know everything. But don’t show a six year old a picture of a dead child washed up on the shore and expect her to just accept it. It’s horrific. And it made me sad, that a parent would willingly show a child something that would need more explanation and not expect to answer some pretty tough questions.
It also made me sad that a parent could fill her toddler with tons of sugar, first thing in the morning and then pretty much ignore and give in to his demands. And I know, that I don’t know what it’s like. To have the sleepless nights, the tantrums, the excessive questions. It’s hard work and my heart goes out to parents, it really does. It’s a tough gig.
But we have a responsibility to bring up healthy, well rounded, educated children that want to learn and achieve their dreams and hopefully make this world a better place. I don’t think that involves your iPhone or showing them pictures of dead children. Sorry.