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In defense of parents

We’ve all seen the darling at Target going full Chernobyl on his hapless parental unit(s). And we all stand there, looking at the parents like WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR KID?! Discipline that little monster, you epic fail of a child-rearing device! What is wrong with YOU? Or the opposite, that awkward moment in the...

021513devWe’ve all seen the darling at Target going full Chernobyl on his hapless parental unit(s). And we all stand there, looking at the parents like WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR KID?! Discipline that little monster, you epic fail of a child-rearing device! What is wrong with YOU?
Or the opposite, that awkward moment in the post office or DMV or some otherwise confined space when the mother is just SCREAMING at her child. And we’re all like, WHOA, psycho, take it easy on the kid, you are crushing what remains of his depleted self-esteem, you unfit piece of parental waste!
But herein lies the problem. A parent is like a head coach, the very personification of ruinous collapse. When this stuff goes down, no one faults the prancing, prima donna hot-doggers on the field. Nope, it’s first on the pyre for the old face of the franchise.
The truth is that parents are like drivers—there has never been a bad one in the history of the world, just ask us. And if you think you’ve seen a bad one, you’re wrong. And a backseat parent. Kids are like really crappy drivers, always riding the brake. Yet when we rear-end them, it’s always our fault.
Well, I’m sick of this “free pass” mentality; it’s time to own up to some accountability, kids.
Nowadays, when I see the familiar meltdown at Costco (thanking my lucky stars my number wasn’t drawn this time), I immediately look at the kid like, you spoiled little turd, what misery are you befalling upon your poor, exhausted mother who has given you EVERYTHING?
They say you can’t really blame kids for their behavior. They are experimenting and testing limits. They are learning how to function in society; they simply don’t know any better. Baloney. They can look around and clearly see that no one else in the vast expanse of Target Greatland is thrashing on the tiled floor, screaming about Angry Birds gummies.
Parents can only do so much. Kids may be extensions of us, but they are not us. They are their own separate beings of (somewhat) free will. We can give them the tools to succeed, show them how they are to be used. That doesn’t mean they are going to use them at the right times or in the right ways. And that is okay. All part of the growth process.
Look, we parents are a sensitive lot. Our kids are a reflection of us, for better and worse. A talking mirror. Only unfiltered. They can’t hide it or fake it. Bub is us, unedited. A walking director’s cut, extended edition, in all its bloated, gory excess, on display for everyone. He’s not perfect, but he’s still learning. So are we.