The Kids Are Not All Right by Patricia Valenzuela-Kent
taken from here
Yesterday I posted a status that elicited a few comments. I often would post my frustration against people or situations I would rather not find myself caught with or in – and that often lends a comical slant to my otherwise absurd circumstance.
Sadly, that wasn’t the case yesterday.
I was standing in line in a grocery store when this little runt proceeds to open a candy bar from one of the displays. The cashier, as expected, voices his concern. The little shit gives the guy a look of pure disdain, looks him up and down and then says the words that make everyone in proximity gasp a little:
“My mom will pay for it…
For about five seconds, no one says anything. The cashier, just like everyone else, cannot believe that this pint sized human being actually said those words. As if on cue, everyone’s heads looked up, half expecting, half eagerly awaiting a smackdown between the horrified, indignant and apologetic parent, and the chastised, disciplined and apologetic child.
None of that happens.
The parent in question proceeds to coo and laugh and speak in a singsong voice:
“Babe! Haha! Give the chockie to me so the nice man can ring it up. Not too much sugar, ok? I don’t want you getting all hyper. Haha!”
As she is saying this, she’s looking around the store, searching in vain for someone,anyone, to take her side. Her eyes have this glassy, amused, and to my growing horror and anger, proud look as if to say:
“Look at us! Look at my child! I’m bringing him up on Jackass and Jersey Shore! My kid is snarky and rude and since that’s how people on TV become rich, my kid will have his own reality TV show soon! Or he’ll become a pompous, ungrateful actor with a drug problem and he’ll be given every chance on every goddamned TV show and every site online to spread his vitriol! He’s going to keel over soon, but who cares? He’s going to be rich! Duh… WINNING!!!”
Fortunately, no one in that store gives her the validation she is seeking. No one cracks a smile, no one says a word. Instantly, that glassy, amused and proud look turns into a defiant stance. She hastily pays, picks up her little asshole and they leave.
The cashier looks up, sees everyone looking at him, and shakes his head. “Good luck to us with that one.”
I leave the store feeling a little lightheaded. I scan the parking lot, hoping to catch a glimpse of the mother and child tandem that is now making me seethe in anger. They are nowhere to be found. Good for them. I would’ve hurled a can of corn at their direction. And that would’ve been a waste of canned corn.
Even now, almost 24 hours later, I am still appalled by that incident. Halfway across the world, in the country I call home, a recent incident involving another child has Filipinos shocked and enraged. And rightly so. For those who have not caught wind of the story, just Google it. Type “Philippines”, “6 year old” and “macho dancer” in the search box and you will soon find out what the uproar is all about. Hell, just by reading those buzzwords, you should already have an idea. This is what happens when poverty, ignorance, bad parenting, and a corrupted collective mindset all gleefully collide with each other.
But in this corner of the world, a country I call my second home, where supposedly milk, honey and opportunities flow, I was just a witness to another species of bad parenting. Too often, I have seen parents tolerate their child’s bad behavior. I have seen children drawing on the walls of public places as their asinine parents continue to sip their soy chai lattes, I have seen children bite and claw other children in front of the people who should know better… hell, I have seen a father instruct his child to pee in front of a fucking ATM because that parent of the year could not be bothered to take the kid to the restroom to go potty!
I worked for a bakery a few years back. I was working the counter when this wannabe actress came in with a PA in tow. She proceeded to point at a few pastries. The PA then instructed one of my co-workers to bag whatever the princess pointed at. She never uttered a word – she pointed, the PA talked, we bagged. It was quite a fascinating scene to watch. Done with their shopping, they then moved on to li’l old me, who, by sheer luck and serendipity, was manning the cash register that day. All of a sudden… oh, dear! The princess sneezed! Mortified PA quickly produced a packet of Kleenex, seemingly from nowhere, and deftly handed a tissue to the now sniffling next effing queen of England. She blew her nose quite noisily and to my shock, placed the wet wad of germs right on top of my counter, right next to my cash register.
I have this look my husband calls “the look of death.” Anyone who knows me has, chances are, seen that look. It’s the look that says you exactly have 5 seconds to get out of here before I go completely Kathy-Bates-in-Misery all over you.
The princess got the look of death that day. Without blinking, I asked her, “What is that?” She took one look at me and for the first time, spoke:
“Oh. Where is the trash can?”
Still not blinking, I continued to stare at her. “Over there”, I answered, pointing to the farthest corner of the store. The princess picked up her disgusting ball of snot, the PA paid quickly, and they both left. I continued to stare at them as they rounded down the corner. Anton Chigurh would’ve been proud of me that day.
That, to me, is a classic example of why we should never, ever spoil our children. Of all the bad parenting sins some of us are guilty of, the one that really sticks in my craw is the fact that we are allowing our children to grow up with a sense of entitlement. You want something in the store, I’ll pay for it. You point at something, I’ll make sure you get it. You sneeze, I’ll hand you a tissue. You leave it on the mothereffing counter, some loser will pick it up and dispose of it for you. Little shits will grow into big, demanding, bossy and pushy shits. These are the jerks who snap their fingers at servers and demand service RIGHT NOW. These are the dickwads who don’t know how to say please, thank you, or excuse me. These are the douchebags who will not stop at anything, who will sacrifice everything including their self-respect, who will humiliate and make a scene, who will make a sex tape, release it to the public, and then cry foul, all for the sake of money and those precious 15 minutes of fame.
The incident yesterday angered me because I too, want to become a parent very soon. But as much as I want that prayer to be answered, that incident gave me pause. Parenting is a hard and serious responsibility, as many of you already know. The sad part is, I also know some people who don’t seem to realize the gravity of parenthood. My hope is, when it’s already my turn, I would have the wisdom to do the right thing – even if it means chastising, and possibly embarrassing my own child in a crowded grocery store.
From Khadafy to the Kardashians, the world is already being run by assholes. As parents, it’s high time we teach our children that this is clearly, absolutely, and unquestionably unacceptable.