I visited my neighborhood Costco this morning. Doing what I would normally do on a weekday but didn’t get around to doing. I expected Costco to be jammed with people, which it was, but I didn’t expect to keep running into one battling family – a mother, a father and two little blond boys that I estimated to be around three and five.
I don’t know what started it. But the father and mother decided to have a major spat in the middle of Costco – yelling and shouting and pointing at each other accusingly, while their little boys looked on with numb expressions and dead eyes. It was obvious that these children had seen this kind of behavior so much that they had shut down, waiting for the storm to pass. I passed them about three times in the aisles and somehow ended up behind them in the check-out line where, forty-five minutes later, they were still arguing and the boys looked even more shell-shocked. The parents were so involved in their argument they didn't even notice their younger boy drop his toy (he was in the kid's seat in the shopping cart) - I picked it up and gave it back to him. I wanted to give the poor little guy a hug he looked so miserable. I didn't because I don't touch other people's kids unless I know them and the parents know me well enough to know that I am not a threat.
I know that I can’t tell people to “SHUT UP ALREADY – YOU’RE HURTING YOUR KIDS WITH YOUR STUPIDITY” without being told to mind my own business and/or possibly being assaulted because what else can I expect of people so ignorant as to argue in front of their children. These people should not even have kids – they’re not mature enough. But seeing those two little boys so traumatized just broke my heart. And it made me angry as hell.
These parents are obviously adrenaline junkies who will probably have make-up sex later and go back to their normal fighting activities. The problem with this is that the kids only see an argument, they don’t see a resolution. They are left in a state of perpetual uncertainty and fear, wondering if they did something to make Mommy and Daddy mad at each other. Kids will always blame themselves for things that go wrong with mum and dad.
I wanted to slap both parents, not that I would have, but I really wanted to. I actually haven’t slapped or hit anyone since I was a kid and then it was my younger sister. Plus one moronic guy in India who came up behind me and grabbed me, but that was self-defense.
Don’t these parents know what precious gifts they have in their children? Don’t they care that their behavior hurts their children? No. They only care about winning whatever stupid argument they’re having – a power struggle played out for the viewing displeasure of every other person in Costco and their poor boys. The reason I get extremely upset with abusive behavior to any child is that I tried to have children but due to problems that were not mine, plus five failed IVF attempts and one failed adoption attempt, I don’t have children. I wanted children but in light of what happened in my now-defunct marriage, I can see it is just as well that I didn’t have kids.
I think people should be licensed before they can have children. We make people take driver’s tests to get drivers licenses so they don’t kill themselves or other people on the road. I don’t see why people should be allowed to have children if they are going to mentally / emotionally / physically / spiritually damage their children for life through idiotic and destructive behavior. Take a parenting course, for God’s sake. Do something other than what you are doing but don’t damage your children. It’s very simple. And very hard to do when you have an immature relationship.
I know life is not perfect and couples argue. But really, people, don’t argue in front of your kids and don’t argue so that they can hear you—act like two reasonable adults and stop acting younger than your children. Practice some self-control because honestly, you’re embarrassing yourselves. The parents I witnessed would have been good for those Ultimate Fighter contests I’ve heard of. No holds barred.
Seriously, grow up, get some help or get away from each other. Your kids are better off with a single parent in a less stressful environment than a chaotic environment created by clashing parents.
Okay, that's it for my rant. I just had to get that off my chest.