Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Chicken Parents

Anyone who has worked at a library for a considerable amount of time is sure to have been the victim of Chicken Parents.

A young child is misbehaving in the library: running around, being noisy, damaging property. You know the scene. In this situation, the Responsible Parent knows the child is just testing them. If the Responsible Parent passes the test, the situation is not very likely to repeat itself.

The Chicken Parent, however, is not aware of this fact, or, if they are, have a greater fear than public embarrassment resulting from their child’s constant misbehavior. I’m not really sure what this fear is . . . Being the “bad guy” parent? Growing a spine? Abandoning their own childish behaviors and actually growing up?

Whatever the reason, the Chicken Parent responds to the above situation by saying something like: “If you don’t behave, the librarian will yell at you.” Or tonight’s Chicken Mom actually said, “If you run in the library, the librarian won’t let you check out books.”

Do you see anything inherently WRONG with this?

Yeah, you’re out of luck tonight, Chicken Mom. I save my yelling for my own kids. They deserve it. They are worth it. And people in public places don’t fear them. If you want your kids to behave, you’ll have to grow your own backbone, take the parental leap, and discipline them yourself! I should write a book.