This post was inspired by one of the ladies at work. We'll call her Joan, because I forget her real name anyway (Sorry, Joan!). Thankfully she only works with us during certain events, because if I had to be near her every day I think I'd quit in disgust.
Joan has a four-year-old boy. She and her husband love this kid, but they let him get away with being a brat because "everything he does is funny and he knows it". She laughs off his horrifying stories of misbehavior and seems to see no harm in letting him do as he pleases. I hate Joan's parenting. Even though I'm not a parent, I've worked with enough families to know where this is headed, and it's not going to be something Joan (or the rest of us) wants to deal with. At four it's cute, but his manipulative, spoiled-brat attitudes are not going to magically disappear. And at twenty, it's not cute at all.
When Joan started telling us stories of the hilariously bad things her son has done just in the last few weeks, I asked about time-out. She ignored the question, but she said something about how she puts her foot down while her husband is so nice all the time... so the kid sucks up to daddy (but still misbehaves) and is only horrible for her. The last punishment she inflicted was taking away a Christmas present every time he misbehaves. He's down to 0 presents, and at four he's probably still incapable of connecting cause (bad behavior) with the far-distant effect of getting no presents (to a four year old's mind, ten minutes is distant. Christmas is forever from now). I am also willing to bet she won't follow through and he'll have ALL the presents he wanted under the tree, despite the fact that his comment to her upon losing his last present was "How's Santa gonna fit his fat ass down the chimney anyway?".
This kid has zero respect for authority already and he isn't even pre-school age yet! AND he's been making racist remarks (he doesn't like black people because their skin is 'dirty', and his mother's "too embarrassed" to say anything to him about it!). I made a comment to her in the line of "he must be learning it from somewhere"... which I think made her even MORE uncomfortable. (Good! I want her to feel inadequate as a parent, so she might be open to learning!).
So thanks for preparing your son for the real world, Joan! I hope his teachers are capable of setting boundaries or they're never going to control him, and you'll probably wonder why...
There's actually a Parenting for Dummies... wonder if I should get it for her for Christmas?