If you feel compelled to let your kids run rampant–don't.
We've all suffered the horror. In grocery stores, dry cleaners, movie theaters–even the doctor's office. It's the kid from hell. He (well, mostly he) shouts, hollers, whines and experiences a complete meltdown. It is more than just a nuisance, it's an intolerable act of aggression on my personal space, my peace of mind and my sense of well-being.
It's not right people, and it must stop now.
This precludes autistic, developmentally challenged and special needs kids of course, but if your child has learned little-to-no self-control of his or her emotions in a public setting, then I’m putting you on blast. It's rude, inconsiderate and I would even suggest criminal–punishable by fine. Yes, I went there.
Before you dismiss me as some clueless grumpy guy, here's my qualifier; I’m a single Dad of four with my fair share of challenges with my own kids. We all do. At one point, I had a two-seat stroller with twin 3-year-olds, a 5 year old and a 7 year old and as God is my witness I have NEVER had a child breakdown in the middle of a grocery store isle and buff out a new layer of polish on the floor. I’ve NEVER had one of my offspring loose their shit over some box of weirdo cereal featuring an odd animal dressed like a human being drooling into a bowl of diabetes-inducing breakfast food. And I have NEVER let a child become unraveled over the thought of my not buying him or her some stupid toy.
So, why do I have to be treated to the blood curdling shrieks of someone else’s little bundle of terror? To help, here are some helpful tips for new parents to embrace being out with your children. It's Arth Vader's 2012 tips to considerate social practices for parents:
1. Say Cheese–I DON'T think your child is cute–mine are cuter and don't make near as much noise.
2. Sound Check–Just because you’re accustomed to your child’s banshee-like shrieking, the rest of us would appreciate not being treated to freshly ruptured eardrums.
3. Shut 'em Down–If your child begins to throw a fit over anything that lasts longer than 10-seconds–remove them, threaten them, pummel them–hit their damn reset button. Show them who's the boss. (Hint: it's you).
4. Don't Touch Me–I happen NOT to think it's cool for your toddler to come over and touch me with their snotty-nosed, chocolate covered, look-what-I-pulled-out-of-my-diaper-covered hands.
5. Mine!–If your kid offers me something, I’ll be compelled to take it. A binky, your cell phone, their cuddly toy. Whatever. It's now mine now and if you didn't intend for that to be the case, maybe you should watch your kid more closely.
6. Don’t Be That Parent–Ever see a kid break something in a store or even worse, in someone’s home and embarrass the living hell out of their parents? If you can’t relate… it’s you. We don’t sympathize; we’re all pissed because you have put us all in the awkward position of having to laugh off your kid’s stupid antics and mesmerizing lack of self-discipline.
7. Watch and Learn–Parents, watch your kid, honestly. I promise, it’s not hard. You chose to procreate, now walk the walk. This means you must know where the kid is at all times, regardless of how many you have. Hey, it’s not just good advice–it’s the LAW!
8. Just Stop–No I don’t want to observe little Tyler’s tantrum. No I don’t want to watch you change Sage’s diaper. Yes, I want to watch you breastfeed but now I’m in some weird space that YOU put me in by you doing it in public and now I have to pretend to be polite and not notice.
9. A Spot of Tea, Perhaps–If your child wants to chat–game on! Who’s your favorite character in Reservoir Dogs? Where do you stand on gun control? Let’s discuss who’s next to come out of the closet on Glee. Children are just little people anyway and that’s how I roll. Don’t like these thoughts? Then don’t let your kids talk to strangers.
10. Mind Your Beeswax–Part of why my kids aren’t yours (genetics aside) are because they get the patented “Medusa Stare of Death” from Dad when they even begin to step out of line. Next will be my guttural growling of not-so-thinly-veiled threats should the stare-down fail. When this happens, try to refrain from looking at me with contempt–I know you’re just jealous because my tactics work and yours don’t.
Parenting isn’t easy but it is simple. If you’re compelled to have kids, compel yourself on learning how to raise them. Your kids, and society at large, will love you for it.
And I won’t have to ingest any more ibuprofen over your spawn’s tyrannical behavior.