I do not much like other people's children. Frankly, half the time I don't much like my own children. Come to think of it, I don't much like people period!!!!
Saturday night we agreed to keep our friends' 2 children while they went to a party. These are delightful children, well mannered and generous with my children. They played Clue, they went outside to play manhunt, they had a snack and finally they settled in to watch a movie. It was absolutely no trouble to have them here at all. My faith in parenting had been partially restored!
I understand that times are different, and that I was raised in an area where families were all the same. But aren't morals and a code of decent conduct universal? Don't all parents teach their children manners and basic tools of conflict resolution? I stand amazed at the behaviors that are tolerated, and sometimes even encouraged, by parents today. In a restaurant this afternoon a girl of about 10 or 11 was giving her mother a heck of a time. My own daughter looked at me wide eyed and said "Is that what I sound like?" To which I replied "Sometimes." And she said "Well yes, at home sometimes I know I can be a little bratty, but if I ever spoke to you like that in public I wouldn't have any teeth!!!!" Disclaimer: We don't actually beat our kids, but the threat is ever present :)
Our waitress commented about how polite my kids were, and they were. They know how to behave in most situations. At home, they do not always act like well mannered kids, but we give them a bit of leeway at home. If they are going to mouth off or throw temper tantrums, the safety and sanctuary of our home is a fine place to do it.
No wonder our schools are in trouble and teenagers are being dropped off at fire stations. Learning begins at home, and an out of control 3 year old will become an out of control 13 year old unless parents step in and be parents. I don't believe childhood is a time to be your kids' friend. You will have all of their adult years to play that role.
Kids need role models and parents need to take that responsibility seriously.