Having dogs has dramatically affected my attitude towards the behaviour of kids and their parents.
I know what it is desperately to want my dogs not to lurch at an innocent passerby, but I’m grappling with heavy bags of groceries while they’re tugging on the leash and I Just Can’t Quite get them under control. Or what it is to know they’ve made so much progress with them on a particular behaviour and yet they’re not quite Good Enough for the person observing a situation. Or frankly, what it is to try to work with Two Dogs when there’s only One of me, and sometimes, I am too overwhelmed or frustrated to bother trying.
I also know what it is to have 2 dogs who are delightful, simply delightful, the vast majority of the time only to be seen on less-good-behaviour by someone who then judges them as if that’s the sum total of them. (and to you folks, Piss Off, I say)
So now when I see kids having a tantrum, I’m much more inclined to cast a sympathetic glance at the mom and know that she’s likely trying her best. Or when I see a dad yell at his kids, to recall the time I threw two (empty!) 2L pop bottles at my guys one time when they yapped despite my multiple “Quiet!” commands. And then feel horrible afterward and ply them with chewy rolls as apology. I get it now, or more so at any rate, that most parents are doing the best they can with their supply of inner and outer resources.
This afternoon I was at the local Co-op store. A together-looking mom was dispatching her energetic daughter to get this and that grocery item while the mom also browsed the aisles. However. The girl (six? seven?) was pushing a small cart with her brother (five?) inside it, and running – yes, energetically *running* – along this aisle and that. It was one km/hr away from careening. The store was decidedly full of shoppers and I know I was constantly on edge wondering when the girl was going to accidentally run into me (she didn’t. nor did she run into any shoppers, to my knowledge).
Question for you, readers – esp. parents: Would you have said something to the mom? Or just live and let live?
Photo Credit: Eden (ed note: and this is *not* a picture of the child in question!)