Would you let your child scream obscenities at you. Would you stand there in the middle of Trader Joes scream “Dad, you suck! You’re an idiot” and far worse.
I wouldn’t. When I think about what would have happened to me had I done that I just shake my head. I might have sailed right through the doors and into the front seat of the car. I didn’t grow up in a violent home. Dad never hit us with a belt or anything like that.
But I received a ‘potch’ on more than one occasion. I knew from any early age that there were limits and lines that would not, could not be crossed without consequences.
The kid I saw yesterday afternoon didn’t have any fear or concern regarding their actions. They didn’t stop to worry about consequences. I was bothered by that. But I was bothered more by their father’s non existent response to this. He acted like this was normal. He wasn’t embarrassed, nonplussed or upset by any of this.
I wanted to grab the father and shake him. I wanted to punch him, slap him, spin him into a state of awareness that this is unacceptable behavior. It is intolerable. Why would you let that go on. That kid was around ten or eleven. What do you think is going to happen when they get older. Do you have some crazy fantasy that this is going to somehow improve.
Children need boundaries. They need limits. He is begging for it.
Maybe he has some sort of problem. Maybe he is emotionally disturbed, I don’t know. But I am willing to bet that his therapist would tell you that when he acts out in public you need some response other than staring off into space like a slack jawed fool.
It is easy to become a mother or father. That doesn’t take much effort. Unfortunately the same is not true of acting like one. Being a good parent requires work, effort and attention.There aren’t any quick fixes or shortcuts. That is just how it is.