Look, I’m not a parent, so this isn’t one of those preachy I-know-best posts. At least it’s not intended that way. I’m positive that parenting is the hardest job in the world so I’m not going to pretend to endow my wisdom upon the masses. But I am a critic. And this is a country where the society still raises the kid. True, city life has made it out that neighbors don’t even speak to one another, but families and their extensions are large organizations that still meet regularly and still participate in creating that environment.
Now all that being said, let me say what’s on my mind:
There are times when I really want to walk up to parents in Jordan and just slap the hell out of them. What goes through their minds is just, I don’t know how to describe it. I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen parents laugh at their kids’ misbehavior, in essence, cheering them on and encouraging them. The two biggest things seems to be curse words and smoking. When a 3 year old learns a curse word, his parents will parade him around like a sideshow. They’ll demand every one listen to the little cute kid saying a word, that even I feel embarrassed to say out loud, let alone in front of my parents.
And what the hell is it with encouraging kids whose legs still don’t touch the ground to “try” argeelah, or even worse, “warm it up” for the parents. This basically consists of sucking on the pipe for a good 3 minutes before handing it off to the adults.
Do parents not realize that kids are sponges that absorb everything? If you validate their cursing, and even encourage it, giving them the attention they so craze, they’re going to do it over and over again. And sooner or later they’ll embarrass you in front of someone and you’ll slap them for it, and the psychological twisting of their minds ensue.
Its a wonder to me why parents become so surprised that their 15 year old started smoking. I wish I could slap them in the face and scream “well, duh!”.
When you’re going out, say to a concert or a dinner at a nice place, please, for the love of God, leave your kids home. This isn’t the west where you “can’t find a babysitter”. There are 100 people willing to accept your child in to their home for a few hours while you go out and do adult stuff, like watch a movie. Bringing them along and having them cry, or run up and down aisles kicking people, is not an option. And if you’re kid is just a weeks old, STAY THE HELL HOME! Don’t get all frustrated with the baby for crying in the middle of say, a poetry reading, and start shaking him like crazy. That’s what babies do. They cry.
Mothers. I love you. But please. Try. I mean just try. You know. Mothering. I mean, please don’t go out shopping and bring your Sri Lankian, Philapino, Malaysian, Indonesian maid with you to hold your kids hand, or carry them for you, or look out for them for you. If you can’t do any of those things on then please reconsider bringing another dysfunctional sri-lankian speaking kid in to this world. And if your planning on becoming a mother, use the aforementioned as a checklist; if you can’t do them, then you’re not ready.
How many times have I seen all dressed up young to middle-aged housewives walking around malls and places like Safeway, while their kid is crying and the Indonesian maid is rocking them to sleep? Some of them will even send the maid to get their kids from school while they wait in the car.
It’s no wonder kids these days don’t know who their real mothers are anymore.
Parenting has been absent in the city these days. Most parents don’t even bother, while others are uncomfortable getting involved in the parenting of others’ kids (which is understandable if most can’t even handle their own kin).
Like I said, I’m not a parent, but parents really have to invest a lot more time into parenting. And maybe city life should have a society that gets involved in raising other people’s kids as well. It does in fact take a society to raise anyone.
They are a product of their environment and a reflection of their parents. In most of Jordan, kids spend most of their days out of the house being raised in the neighbourhood. They are scolded by neighbors and relatives and brought up to be tough. Rarely have I seen a kid start to cry and turn to run home looking for his mother (or the non-existent maid). Probably because they know they’d get a second beating if they did. Instead they fend for themselves, they learn the rights and wrongs in a communal environment. Some environments are more positive than others, but that’s another story.
Anyways, I’m not Dr. Spock.
I’m just a frustrated observer who needed to rant.
p.s. also, please stop buying them expensive cars.