Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Obnoxiously bad parenting

I just read an article on CNN about the dangers of Heelys, those obnoxious sneakers that kids wear with the little wheels in the soles so that kids can roll around instead of walking like normal people. I already hated those stupid shoes, and find it really obnoxious when kids go weaving around crowded sidewalks, forcing people to jump out of their way. It's not like rollerbladers where you can at the very least see that they are on wheels... instead, it's very discreet and you can't tell that a kid is wearing them until they've already whizzed by you and/or bumped into you. Now I am reading this article that points out that a lot of kids have broken bones trying to learn how to use them, or even once they already knew how, and that even if the kids don't fall, it's bad for their feet and tendons to put all that pressure on their heels, which is required to make the wheels work. It doesn't seem surprising to me that kids break themselves using the damn things, because they are roller skates without the protective gear. But of course in today's culture of give your kids everything they want, make sure they're part of the latest trend, and never do anything so horrifying as forcing them to walk down the hallway at school instead of roll, parents don't think about things like, "Oh, my kid could crack his head open using those." Apparently there has even been one death caused by these shoes, though the article didn't detail the circumstances around it. And it describes one mom saying how her son got a piece of gravel stuck in his wheel, fell, and seriously hurt himself. Then she took the wheels away. Like it couldn't have occurred to her earlier that such a thing might happen? It seems like most parents belong to the "lock the stable door after the horse has bolted" school of child-rearing practices.

I can't stand most modern parenting practices. And I'm sick of babysitting for a bunch of brats whose parents have no rules, or never enforce their rules consistently, and as a result I end up dealing with kids who have no idea how to deal with limits. They think it's perfectly acceptable to get out of bed at midnight to demand a doll that they forgot to bring to bed with them, and who do really horrible things like try to rub their siblings with their dirty toilet paper (that happened to me a couple months ago). And their parents do nothing about it, except exclaim in mild horror, or attempt to force an insincere apology from their child.

I know I don't have kids and I therefore don't really know what it's like. And I know everybody who doesn't have kids always says this. And I'm not saying that my kids will be perfect angels and never selfish little brats. But at the very least, my child will never have sneaky, obnoxious wheeled sneakers. And if he does horrible, rude, bratty things, he will be punished for them.

In the meantime, I am seriously considering a permanent retirement from my babysitting career.

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