Lisa on Life Without Baby got me thinking, as she ranted about “bad parents” and their out-of-control offspring.
I understand her feelings. From time to time I will also rant wildly about what I perceive to be bad parenting. I’m trying to be balanced adding the “what-I-perceive-to-be” qualifier, though I don’t actually think I need it – and I’m confident that in most cases most people would agree with me.
I think part of this is that fear that, as women without children, we’re not allowed to have a view on how others should parent. I’ve posted about this in the past. But I think we are allowed to have a view. I rant at the radio/TV/internet/newspaper about other things I have views on, whether or not I have direct experience on which to base my views, so I don’t see why I can’t rant about parenthood.
Also, I have a dear friend who gives me permission. She has two children, and now a grandchild with another on the way (and argh she’s younger than me!), so in some ways when she validates my views, I feel I have permission to express them. And, let’s face it, no-one can judge me on my ability or inability to parent by the behaviour of my non-existent offspring. So perhaps it is easier for me to judge. I used to feel guilty about that. Now I don’t. In fact, I feel quite free to comment (though only to like-minded people - I'm still polite), or at least to think, or to rant in the safety of my own home!
I’m going to give you all the chance to feel free to rant, to judge, to comment on bad parenting. As you know, I’ve just spent a week in Thailand. One night I turned up at the pool at my sister’s hotel for happy hour. (Sex on the Beach there was great!) My sister and her two friends were talking about the shock of the afternoon! A small boy had stood at the side of the pool, and peed into it. His mother watched him, and shrugged. All the guests were rendered speechless, and so nothing was said. They were aghast at this terrible parenting (a toilet was conveniently placed just a few metres away, as were many plants in pots that could have done in the last resort!). They (all of them parents) felt free to judge. So did I. After all, you don’t need to have had children to know that that behaviour is wrong. And those who have had children certainly don’t think it is right.