Let me start by saying this: I am not perfect…my children are not perfect.
But I need to get something off of my chest…and when have I ever hesitated with speaking my mind?
My three kiddos and I were at the pool recently when my son (of course) was begging to go and get a snack. So we walked over where it took all of my patience to keep all three “corralled” in line.
That’s when I heard it. “F@*! this s*@t you nasty h$@!” And the words were flowing out of this mouth like a river…fast and furious. When I looked over, I saw a kid…probably about Gia’s age of 9…he was the one. He was the one with absolute garbage coming out of his mouth while a couple of his buddies stood there and laughed.
Now if you’ve been to a community pool at any point in your life, then you know the line to the concession stand is always the hot spot. It’s packed with little kids holding their dollar bills so tight and excited to order that grape push-pop.
I looked around and saw a few other parents…we all made eye-contact and shook our heads. I kept looking for this kid’s mom…dad…grandparent…sitter…any adult in the vicinity to put an end to his vile behavior.
Crickets. There was no one.
“Mom! Do you hear him???”
My kids were staring. I didn’t know whether they were shocked or if the wheels in their heads were going “hmm…I guess we can talk like that!!”
I couldn’t take it anymore.
“Excuse me…can you watch your mouth? There are so many little kids around here and they don’t need to hear words like that. I don’t think your parents would like you speaking like that either.”
He laughed. And I heard him tell his friends, “whatever old lady. shut up.”
Not sure what part bothered me the most…the “whatever” or the “old lady.” All I know is that I took many deep breaths…counted to 10 slowly…did whatever I could to find my “zen.”
I wasn’t shocked by the fact the kid was talking like that…come on, I don’t live my life with rose-colored glasses on. Kids try new words…push boundaries…we have all been there and done that. We’ve all wanted to “look cool” in front of our friends. But I was a little taken back to his reaction. I immediately thought back to when I was growing up. I have acted up PLENTY OF TIMES when I was called out by a neighbor, a family friend and even a stranger at the pool. I remember my face getting red instantaneously and a wave of embarrassment crashed over me. I also remember my parents finding out…and let’s just say, they were “less than pleased” with my behavior.
But I suppose times have changed.
I’m not here to parent other children. I’m not here to tell parents how to raise or discipline their children. I know I don’t like getting unsolicited parenting advice. Parenting is hard…there are many days I have ZERO clue what I’m doing.
But…when another child’s words or actions affect my own kids…or kids around me…I will react and step in.
It’s not about living in a world of rainbows and unicorns. But it would be nice to get back to a place where manners mattered…respecting others was a top priority… mouthing off to an adult was an absolute no-no…and neighbors and strangers would step in if necessary to call out bad behavior.
Let me make this clear: if one of my children is being disrespectful in any way…or to put it bluntly, being an inappropriate little brat…you have my permission and BLESSING to call them out and correct them immediately.
We need to bring back the village.