Don’t let your 2-year old boy swing a pointed stick through a crowd of toddlers.

by doodaddy on August 22, 2007

Don’t let your 2-year old boy swing a pointed stick through a crowd of toddlers.

Who needs to be told that? Park Buddy and I have been running across parents with less sense than their kids of late, and it’s starting to get on my nerves.

We frequent a popular children’s museum on the bay shore across the Golden Gate Bridge from us. It’s a fantastic place: all outdoorsy and build-it-yourselfy, with lots of open-ended things to do and climb on. And like any busy playground, it also requires a little diligence from us caretakers. You know the stuff:

  • “Careful with the broom!”
  • “Let’s share that limited toy resource!”
  • “Look out for the baby!”

Normal, right?

Well, apparently not in Marin County, California. Over and over, Boobaby and Buddy Boy got snubbed and toy-snatched by the local kids, and the supervising parents didn’t do a thing to intervene.

Start with the aforementioned stick-wielder: a quite young boy beating a stick against anything or anyone in his way. The museum provides willow branches for creative building play, and so naturally, some kids take the sticks away to sword-fight. In itself, that’s not too worrying — I’ve heard of boys who chew toast into handgun shape and say “bang, bang!” But, of course, you take away the sharp stick when your toddler weaponizes it, right? An easy parental fix.

Nope. In this case, we had to steer Boo and Buddy Boy to a different station because Hands-Off Mom merely begged her child to follow her back to the car, making no attempt to disarm him. The note of pleading in her voice was telling: the boy, around two years old, clearly controlled the relationship.

So Boo and I headed over to the deserted spider web, but again, we were thwarted. A quartet of “big kids” — say, 5 to 9 or so — cut us off and jumped in, followed by two moms. Now I know that corralling big kid energy is a heck of a lot more challenging than distracting an 18-month old, so I graciously detoured to another exhibit. I expected the customary appreciative nod from the harried moms, but instead I got

“I guess you’d better come back later!”

Maybe she was trying to be funny? I don’t know. All I know is that I needed only a quick acknowledgement — sure, your kids made a playground foul, but I’m not going to make a big deal of it — and I got an entitled dismissal.


You seriously have to check out this sculpture. Click here and then the “Willow Sculpture” link.

We continually overheard snippets that reminded us of how enveloped we were by affluence. At the beautiful Patrick Dougherty woven willow house, a couple was discussing how they would love to put in a similar installation — but to do so they’d have to reduce the size of the orchard. The orchard? Who the frick has an orchard who’s not, say, a farmer or something? Even the kids’ names bore the whiff of privilege: Reagan. Sedona. Sonoma. Danilla.

It’s an odd parenting equation: the more leisure time and disposable income a family has, the less likely they seem to model and require appropriate behavior from their kids. I hate to paint so broadly, for I’m sure there are exceptional rich families with well-mannered children out there, just as I’m sure that the rich have no monopoly on clueless parenting. But more often than not, the truism holds: those that have the resources and the leisure time to lean how to parent well are the least likely to do it.

At my best moments, I can feel pity for the kids: their parents are modeling a debilitating sense of entitlement that will leave their kids socially backward, insensible to the value of selflessness in their relationships.

Most of the time, though, as I am forced to physically shield my daughter from the sharp sticks of poor parenting, it just pisses me off.

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tagged as , , in oddparents,playground,San Francisco ·

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Just Powers August 22, 2007 at 7:23 am

My family is in Newport, Rhode Island right now for a wedding and I have been amazed at the level of entitlement and privelege we are encountering. It feels like these people, the yachting and summer-mansion set, should be the ones modeling for the rest of us how to be gracious and respectful. Somehow it is just the opposite.


Blog Antagonist August 22, 2007 at 10:49 am

I remember how angry I used to get at the same kind of antics. There are clueless parents everywhere, if that makes you feel any better. Now that my boys are older, I make darned sure they aren’t behaving that way. Of course, that sometimes makes me sound like Joan Crawford screaming “NO MORE WIRE HANGEEEERRRRRRRSSSSS” but at least my kids aren’t maining toddlers.


aimee/greeblemonkey August 22, 2007 at 3:04 pm

Today we were at the beloved Chick Fil-A for lunch and there were these kids being maniacs in the playplace. MAIN-EEE-ACKS. At one point Declan came down and was crying and telling me these boys were actually up on the rafters hitting him. HITTING HIM. After I suppressed the urge to squish my fat ass up there and beat the tar out of those other kids, I sat down with Declan and taught him some phrases he could say back. And told him if they did it again to come talk to me straightaway. But either way, WTF? The moms were right there! They could hear my mom crying and telling me what was going on and not even pausing in their conversation about la-dee-da to see to their monsters-in-training.

Sometimes I feel like Nazi Mom, but at least I know my kid is NEVER going to the be the one swinging a stick at 2 year olds or hitting other kids hidden up in a fast food playplace.


aimee/greeblemonkey August 22, 2007 at 3:05 pm

oops, hear my SON crying. LOL. My mom is in Maryland.


JaniceNW August 22, 2007 at 9:04 pm

Sonoma? In No Cal? Snicker. Reagan? I’d get in trouble at your park. Just a bleedin’ heart liberal here. We lived in Irvine and my oldest was born in Newport Beach and you know what? I don’t miss the label crazy rich shallow snobs at all! Not one bit. I have never lived in No Cal but I hear it’s not as bad.

Don’t you wish people needed to pass a test to be parents? A sharp stick plus a 2 yo equals disaster. I have boys and know that every thing and anything can be made into a weapon.


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