Don't tell my child what to do!

Let me say that parents are a huge part of the problems with our youth today. They have taught their children that no one can tell them what they can and can't do, not even the teachers at school. I volunteer at a high school and I can't tell you the number of times I have heard students telling their parents that the teacher disrepected them. The first thing out of the parent's mouth is "What did she say to you?". It's a shame when children are being taught that they are being disrepected when someone (other than their parents) tells them what to do. Back in the day when parents were called to the school, the first question was "What did you do?". Parents need to stop defending their kids when they are wrong, period! There are times when parents don't see what their child is doing and it's someone else that brings it to their attention. Parents should be happy that someone else is looking after their child.

In a previous blog titled "Walmart Flash Mobbers Raised By Wolves, That's Too Kind" I urged people to talk to young people when they saw them misbehaving. I think that may have been the wrong thing for me to say. A recent video filmed on a CTA platform in Chicago showed how that can be a bad idea. Apparently, there was a child who was banging on a CTA sign on the "L" platform. A man saw the child banging on the sign while he was waiting for the train to arrive. The man told the child to stop banging on the sign. The child's mother apparently went ballistic and things went down hill from there. I will admit that the young man in the video should have handled the situation better by not using profanity at the mother and in front of the child. Take a minute to view the video.

This mother is so angry that someone would dare tell her son what to do. She doesn't seem to care that what her child was doing was wrong. This child will have no idea that banging on the sign can cause damage to the sign and that he could be arrested for destroying CTA property. He will never know because his mother was too ignorant to explain to him that the man was correct when he told him to stop banging on the sign. The mother chose to get combative with the man because he had the nerve to talk to her child without knowing him. The man keeps telling her that she needs to teach her son the "Right Way". It's unfortunate that the man kept using profanity because I really want to be behind him in this situation. I have been in situations like this one but fortunately, I have not encountered crazy mamas. When I have seen children misbehaving, I try to make eye contact with them and just shake my head no so that I don't have to actually say anything to them. Sometimes I will say "Don't do that sweetie" or I will say "It's not nice to do that". I typically get a nasty look from the mother and then she will whisk her child away.

I know some people may call me a busy body and say that it's none of my business what someone else's child is doing. If this is how you feel, I want you to think about something. When bad behavior is not corrected it continues and it progresses into worse behavior. This child whose bad behavior was not corrected will at some point, come in contact with you or someone you may know. Your car or home can be broken into or vandalized, you can be assaulted or robbed or even shot. People don't just wake up one morning and commit crimes. They were bad all along and no one staightened them out.

After I began writing this blog, I encountered four young men (between 15-19 years old) getting into a car in front of my home. As I walked towards my house, I saw one of them throw trash in the street. I politely asked him if he needed a bag for his trash. He replied "It's trash". I said "Yes, I know but you put your trash in front of my house and I would appreciate it, if you would put your trash where it belongs". He then asked which house was mine and apologized. When I entered my gate, he said "It's not your house where I put the trash". I said "You put it in front of my neighbors' house and I like them". At this point everyone in the car apologized and they drove off with their trash. I felt like a bad ass because if it were dark outside I would have been afraid of them.

I wonder what their mothers would have said to me, if they were there. What would you do if someone told your child what to do?

Filed under: Parenting

Tags: CTA, Discipline, Parenting


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  • Thank you for be brave enough to write about this! I, too, am that lady who will say something to a child when their parent isn't there or refused to address an issue, especially if it involves child safety.

    I am proud to admit that when I see kids dart across the street, shoot passing cars with a garden hose, write in school text books or even speak rudely of other children, I will gladly step in and tell them NO! I am always respectful when reprimanding or redirecting a child.

    Of course this embarrasses my own children every time I do it. But I won't stop. Sometimes things are too important. I would rather be labelled a busy-body, then keep my mouth shut and see something truly awful happen to another child. As I reply to my own children each time they groan in embarrassment: "Not on my watch."

    Keep it up! Someone has to raise these kids if their own parents won't step up or aren't around.

  • Whew! Thanks Crystal, I thought that I was the only busy-body in town. These kids need us because some of them just don't know that what they are doing is wrong.

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    Great points Tracy. I appreciated those adults who corrected my children. The next door neighbor yelled at my then 8-year-old son when my son threw mud balls at the neighbor's garage. A number of security guards at museums have stopped my kids from running through museum galleries. Those other adults have been extra eyes and ears to help my kids grow up to be contributing citizens. I just hope that this guidance continues now that my kids are on the CTA with their friends.

  • In reply to Ann McKenzie:

    Ann, you are so right! There are no perfect children or parents and everyone should help raise all of the children because parents can't see everything and they can't be everywhere.

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