Bratty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

by Gig Girl on July 19, 2011

Gig Girl recently came across an article on CNN.com entitled “Permissive Parents: Curb Your Brats” by LZ Granderson. He succinctly notes:

“If you’re the kind of parent who allows your 5-year-old to run rampant in public places like restaurants, I have what could be some rather disturbing news for you…”

“I do not love your child.
The rest of the country does not love your child either.”

The piece goes on to list numerous places and events where whining, misbehaving children who terrorize their parents and everyone within earshot should not be allowed.

For the most part, I tend to agree with Mr. Granderson. Don’t get me wrong – I love kids…I even love the bratty ones. I also get that every parent out there has been publicly mortified by their children. Even those of us that have perfected “the look”. While O never had public meltdowns (although he did throw up all over the table at Bugaboo Creek once, much to my and future Hubs’ complete HORROR…but so not the poor kid’s fault or lack of parenting on my part), I did have more than my share of more private episodes with him I’d love to forget. Terrible two’s had NOTHING on the terrifying threes with my rambunctious little monkey even with my “look” and, on more than one occasion, I remember sympathetically telling Hubs (who was merely “Boyfriend” at the time) “Run…save yourself!”

I’ll venture a guess that even Mr. Granderson himself annoyed a diner or two during his toddler years. It happens and I’m fine with that. What gets me (and is a very clear theme in LZ’s piece) is when parents don’t even attempt to PARENT.

For example:

When I’m watching O at his gym class and your random four year old is rummaging through my purse, make an effort (and none of this half-hearted sing songy stuff that I’ve noticed a lot of parents do these days…it’s okay to use a stern tone, people!). PUT YOUR CELLPHONE DOWN and at least pretend to intervene before he runs off with my wallet and access to every bit of my very limited means (Seriously…this really happened).

Effort is really all I require. In return, I solemnly pledge that my own parental effort is my promise and obligation to the public. And when/if all effort fails, getting my dinner to go, leaving the shopping mall immediately or packing up the car wherever we are is my first line of action.

So it’s here in writing – I, (much like 99% of parents out there), have promised to hold up my end.

I would also like to note that it’s not just the childless amongst us suffering immeasurable public injustices at the hands of brats of all ages. I’d like to make a few of my own Grandersonesque observations directed at the public at large:

We do not love your cell phone
The rest of the country does not love your cell phone either

When you’re in line ahead of us and our meticulously behaved children, please hang up so the cashier doesn’t have to repeat herself again and again while we wait patiently behind you. Otherwise, we will be forced to lead our adorable cherubs in a spontaneous, rousing rendition of the “Backyardigan Theme Song” at decibels so loud you will probably require shock therapy to finally remove its incessant looping from your head.

We do not love your loud and repeated use of use of public f’bombs
The rest of the country does not love your loud and repeated use of public f’bombs, either

If you go to a chain restaurant between the hours of 4-6 (or Friendly’s ANYTIME), you will  probably sit next to a family with children.  If we graciously relegate ourselves to eating early bird specials until our babies are in middle school to spare the population at large from distracted dining due to our little monkeys, the least you can do is keep things PG-13 rated. Otherwise you may want to invest in a pair of padded biker shorts because we are going to allow our darlings to continuously swing their legs into the back of your seat and then stand up and stare at you over the booth for THE ENTIRE DURATION OF YOUR MEAL.

I do not love your laptop
The rest of the country does not love your laptop either

When you’re sitting next to us on your 8 hour nonstop flight to wherever, don’t presume that you’re entitled to sprawl all your business gadgets and presentations out over all the seats. Understand our passive aggressive heavy sighs of exasperation as very clear warnings that first chance we get we’re switching seats with a toddler and his not so tightly closed sippy cup full of purple grape juice.

Fair is fair. Just saying…

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

MFO July 20, 2011 at 9:57 am

Once again, you’ve hit the nail on the head!

JD July 20, 2011 at 9:58 am

Brats come in every age – agreed!

CJ July 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm

This is great- Love it!

SLD July 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Well said my friend – brats everywhere. Like a grown brat yesterday who pushed away my 3 year old from touching a starfish at the Aquarium so she could snap a pic w/her iphone. Really?

SM July 22, 2011 at 4:04 pm

I don’t think I know those middle aged brats…do I??

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