The other day I was in a big box store that sells things cheaply (I won’t name it, but I’ll let you guess where I was–lots of smiley faces everywhere) when I witnessed a mom in the act of “negotiating” with her kids. “Mom, I want this soda,” one whined, while the other shoved a Polly Pockets in her face. “No, now I told you we’re not going to get anything today…well maybe if you’re good…well, you look like you really want that. OK, Honey.” Her cart was full of stuff that kids crave: candy, soda, toys, and plastic junk. One lone gallon of laundry detergent sat at the bottom of the heap, and I guessed that was her original reason for coming to the store.
Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. Believe me, it’s not that I’ve never caved in to my child’s demands, but I really try not to because I’ve realized that he’ll never be satisfied, no matter how many toys/candy bars/comic books we buy him (and because we can’t afford it, even if we wanted to!) Anyway, I left the scene of the mother-child shopping crime and then ran into them again at checkout (how does it always happen that the person you’re trying to avoid most in a huge store is always in your checkout line?) The woman had racked up a $100 shopping bill buying all that stuff for her kids–stuff that that they probably didn’t really need and would likely forget about the next day. The whole thing was a nightmare, but I have to confess–it was the whining and pressuring that got to me the most.
Now it’s your turn to rant. What bugs you the most about other people’s kids? And what parenting response sets your teeth on edge? Tell us your biggest pet peeve here…
About Elisabeth Wilkins
Elisabeth Wilkins was the editor of Empowering Parents and the mother of an 10-year-old son. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including Mothering, Motherhood (Singapore), Hausfrau, The Bad Mother Chronicles, and The Japan Times. Elisabeth holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine.