Recently I was at a neighbors home returning a toy one of her children left at my home. My husband and I had invited the children to dinner as a surprise and we were looking forward to the quality time we would have with these two young ones.
I don’t allow toys in my vehicle it is a standing rule since my children were young. There are too many dangerous variables in allowing them along for the ride such as: fighting over them and distraction to the driver to mention a few. So, no toys not now and not then. Much to the chagrin of the boy: before leaving the driveway for our dinner out I confiscated the video game and put it aside.
Parents: when sending your children off, please do not send toys, video games or other trinkets your child might be prone to play with in a moving vehicle. It isn’t safe and personally I don’t want the added burden of keeping up with the stuff. Tending two children under the age of 10 especially taking them to a public event such as dining out is stressful enough.
Dinner was a bust as my husband and I learned the mother had actually fed the children microwave dinners within an hour of our picking them up. And so having already eaten, the children were merely supercharged for madness and mayhem in the restaurant. The boy making paper airplanes out of napkins and bouncing in the booth. His sibling swinging her feet and both making loud sound effects for the planes they tossed back and forth.
Parents: manners do not just happen, they are taught. By the time I was five I knew how to use a fork and knife as well as a napkin. I understood the dining room table is for quiet conversation and no clowning around. I did not bounce in my chair or swing my feet. You wouldn’t find my elbows on the table or my leaving the table unless excused even to go to the bathroom. Structure, children need structure and if you don’t intend to provide it then don’t have children.
Wrapping up our dinner out rather abruptly we returned the children home to their mother. Forgetting to leave the video game off as we did so. A few days later the mother inquired about the video game and I returned it. When I arrived to their home the youngest of the two children was eating a chocolate creme filled cookie while bouncing on the living room couch.
The mother took no initiative to redirect the child to the dining room to eat its snack. She didn’t take the time to grab a napkin and wipe the gooey mess from the child’s face which was clearly staining the furniture. Nor did she correct the child who was laughing and chattering around the black slimy mess running from her open mouth down her chin. In my home there was no talking with food in ones mouth. No corrective measures from the mother other than to whine that this is the reason she has cockroaches and ruined furniture.
Parents: if you have a child like this, it IS your fault. This young mother has cockroaches and ruined furniture because she lends no structure to the lives of her children. The children bounce on the furniture because she does not teach them not to. In this situation the children rule the roost and the mother merely monitors for injuries.
Children are a twenty four hour responsibility. Yes they are cute and cuddly as babies but those babies require a great deal of time and energy. They are not self sustaining as are most pets who require minimum care.
Parents: you have a responsibility to yourself and your children to teach them proper etiquette. Waiting until they are older is dumb and inconsiderate of your neighbors. If you must have children then teach them!
By the time I was seven I knew how to stand on a chair at the kitchen sink and wash dishes. Although drying them was less demanding. I also knew how to dress, bathe and clean up after myself. I knew when laundry day was and how to strip the linens from my bed.
Parents: you do your children a dis service by taking care of everything for them. Teach them while they are eager to learn!