Today, I’m asking some uncomfortable questions. They’re are a reflection of things that have been churning in my head, so bear with me if this post doesn’t seem to come together.
What makes me uncomfortable to pose these questions is the fact that I’m not a parent (by circumstance, not choice) and most of these relate to childbearing and parenting. I’ll take the flak on the chin in the interest of authenticity.
Question No.1 – Why is so important to be a parent and how far are you willing to go to be one?
Yes, there’s all manner of scientific procedures available and I’m all for people going in for them, although I wouldn’t make that choice for myself. But what about the poor woman in some parts of the world whose existence literally depends on her producing a child. How can she afford it?
Surrogacy is an option too – but what happens if the child is born with a birth ‘defect’. We know what happened in the recent case where an Australian couple abandoned one of their twins born via surrogacy with Down’s Syndrome!
Question No. 2 – What would you do if you saw a child in a store ripping things and throwing down stuff while his/her parent looked on passively?
I confess that I’ve stepped in, picked up the stuff and sternly told the child not to do it. Was I wrong? Should I have complained to the store manager instead? Or pretended I was as blind and deaf as the parents?
Question No.3 – What would do in this situation? You have visitors – a couple and their child. The child refuses to acknowledge you or engage with you even when you ask her a question directly. When you attempt to talk to the parents, she keeps interrupting the conversation? Finally, when the parent ignores the child, the child slaps you!
Okay, it happened to me. And I was dumbstruck. I pasted an idiotic grin on my face while the mother attempted to convince the child to apologize.
So yes, I’d love to have your answers and your criticism of my behaviour or thoughts! Please feel free to say what’s on your mind. I won’t be offended – I promise! 🙂
Those are tough questions. I am a parent to two young boys and while they have never acted out in quite the ways you’ve described, they do get themselves into some tangles from time to time. I think the key with any situations like these is the absence of judgement – I think it is acceptable to tell a child for instance that it is not acceptable to be throwing clothes around in a department store. It is a slippery slope when parents are involved however. I might be inclined to just walk away, or in the case with your house guests, ask them to leave as you find the behaviour unacceptable. It is one of those damned if you do and damned if you don’t choices, but ultimately you have to do what resonates with you.
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I’m sorry. I’m stuck at the slap. REALLY? OMGOSH. Awful. Rude. Bad parenting.
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What!! I am reeling under the third question, Corinne! So sorry to hear that.
Years ago, when Vidur was almost a year old, we were getting ready to move from Mumbai to Bangalore and had put up a list of things for sale. One Mother and her 8 year old child had come to see something. When the Mother was trying to talk to us, the child kept interrupting and finally threw a tantrum because the attention was off him. We couldn’t believe our eyes at what we saw next – the child just tugged at his Mom’s saree until she bent down to ask him what he wanted, when he just slapped her! I’ll never forget that sight! She apologized and was embarrassed. I still smile when I remember how my Mom took the child by the hand, led him away, sat him down on a chair opposite her and talked to him, made him apologize, and then promise he wouldn’t do that again.
You know, 3 of my Uncles did not have kids and I think they were excellent parents to all the kids in the family.
Also, I cannot stay quiet if I see a child misbehaving. I am okay with the parents asking me who the heck I am to interfere – I couldn’t be passive and look on.
I think this post is very together 🙂 Hugs!
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#3 totally got me. That child already sounds like a handful. I can’t blame you for being so shocked that you were “dumbstruck”. I would have been stunned,too. What I wonder about, with the “refusing to engage or acknowledge you” is if there is something developmentally not right with that child. If so, and the parent is not getting the proper help to work with the child (or the child getting proper intervention), the situation is only going to get worse. Much worse.
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I can connect well with the first question. I don’t have any answer as such because I strongly feel each person needs to make her choice in such a personal matter. And I do realize that often many women don’t have a ‘choice’ in such matters because of pressure from extended families or society. But I am shocked to hear about this couple abandoning the child born with a birth defect. Can’t believe it really!
And your third scenario is equally disturbing. The kid actually slapped!!!! (Yes it deserves so many exclamation marks!) What kind of parenting is going on there? Sorry to sound so judgmental, but one has to draw the line somewhere. Thanks for raising some tough questions.
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Okay, as a fellow non-kiddo, I guess I too have to accept that my answers wont have the same weightage as others, in public opinion. Doesn’t mean I don’t have an opinion though 🙂
1. In recent times, I have seen a trend wherein people I know are less inclined to ‘want’ to be a parent at all. I know atleast 3 bloggers in this category but I also know friends. A lot of factors come into play there, of course. Specific to your question, it is as much about ‘completing’ a family for some people as it is about wanting to actually have a child. Have seen a doc family hounded n demeaned by public because they never had a child after a decade… such a lovely sweet couple and they were just humiliated by insinuations. The public does love to play a role in others family planning sometimes. How far would I be willing to go? Would depend on the decision between me and the missus, I guess. But I would never rule out surrogacy or adoption…
2. I avoid conflict. Chances are more that I would walk away even if I disapprove.
3. I think I would do what you did. Grin and bear it… I would be humiliated inside but I would look to diffuse the situation.
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Relevant points all! I think surrogacy is an egoistic and ridiculous option when the orphanages are stuffed to the brim with children. Why is adoption not an option? Doctors have no morals sometimes – they’re simply happy or keep experimenting.
In both qs raised in 2 and 3 I would definitely have a word with the parents. Since their parenting skills are clearly negligible, they need guidance. The child in 3 seems to be in dire need of counselling.
Oh my god!! What!! The kid actually slapped you!!! I am shocked and don’t know what to say really…I hope at least the parents learn from the episode and reflect on what is wrong!
As for the first question, I strongly believe having a child should be a personal choice. And yes both husband wife should take the decision together but priority should be given to what a woman needs! three years into marriage and we are not heading towards a family anytime soon. If later circumstances are not agreeable I think I’ll let it be….or maybe consider adoption. ( There are so many beautiful lives which for no fault of their own are orphaned….why not provide and care for them?) What are your thoughts on adoption?
I cannot take misbehaved kids! In the second scenario I will most definitely be stern both with the kid and also speak to the parents!!
Great that you brought these up here!
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Corinne the questions raised by you are relevant and timely. It is for the parents to decide , whether to have their own child or not. There are several problems, which a working couple has to sort out. I personally feel that if the parents have no arrangement to look the child when they are at work, it is the best option to remain childless. Question 2 and 3 are indicative of poor upbringing the child.
#3 – I’m a pretty cut and dry kind of gal. When it comes to other people’s kids, I tolerate very little. I had a similar experience to the girl slapping you. I grabbed her arm and held it very tightly and told her that was unacceptable behavior for anyone, child or adult. The parent was dumbfounded. Even though the parent was a neighbor I invited her and her daughter to leave.
#1 – I am one of those gals that knew I was destined to have a child. There were many reasons why I knew I should be a mom and wasn’t one until I was 40 years old. But I would NEVER condemn anyone for not having a child, by choice or not. Many of my good friends never had children and they love my kids and grandkids and make the best aunties.
#2 – When kids come into our store and they are misbehaving, the first way that I address it is to the CHILD. I tell them their behavior is not unacceptable because they could get hurt, with a look that they know I am not kidding. If it does not stop, I suggest to the mom that she come back when she can shop without stress. They rarely come back and I don’t care — better than broken showcases — a lot of glass in the store.
I don’t think your questions were uncomfortable at all. I could take my kids anywhere, anytime at any age and now my grand kids are the same. It is a matter of acceptable behavior – usually the ones out of control in the store are out of control at home as well.
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I’m not a parent yet. But I’ve had similar experiences. I can’t tolerate bad parenting and would definitely ask the kid to apologize. I’ve been having N no: of visitors at home (because of the Army background) and mostly a couple and a child/children. Otherwise soft-spoken, I’m stern when I see misbehaved kids!
It’s a good post, Corinne! Thanks for putting it together!
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Found In Folsom
Okay, and on this day, my birthday of all; I swear to tell the truth and only truth my lord!
1. If I don’t have kids or cannot have kids, I would adopt someone. That easy. or enjoy life as it is. May be people can say: I take it easy because I had two kids without any difficulty. And if I know that my would be born has downs during pregnancy, I would abort it rather than give birth and make a miserable life both for the kid and myself.
2. If I find a child doing that in a store, I wouldn’t say anything. Because I have learned it the hard way to mind my own business. Period.
3. And the third scenario, you kept quiet? You should have given him back properly. Easy to say, I know. Personally, I would take the kid aside and talk to him that is it NOT OKAY. Even if the child keeps doing it, I would show my other side. We have a very close friend’s kid who behaves like that and we cannot tell them. The parents over pamper. We hate to visit them or have our kid there. BUT, I like to tell kids that they are wrong and if others are disciplining my kids, I wouldn’t say no. I let them do it.
Having said that I admit I don’t have perfect kids :), Your Honor!
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I don’t have kids now and I really can’t handle the naughty ones. If a kid slaps me, I would scrowl back and scold , if the parent can’t teach, I would instead … maybe this is one of the reasons why my friends believe that I am not ready for kids 🙂 Not yet.
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1. No comment. I think it’s a purely personal matter.
2. I think you did the correct thing. I’ve done that myself, of course smiling as I delivered the message!
3. I’ve never had this happen to me! I’d probably act angry and slap the kid back, then apologize profusely for my ‘knee-jerk reaction’. The parent(s) would know it’s all drama, but then, “Laaton ke bhoot baton se nahi maante!”
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