In the past week or so I have overheard three different things out of parents mouths that both shocked and hurt me, not to mention their kids.
The first was uttered by a mom at the pool where we stayed on vacation (I'll be working on that post). Her very pretty 5 - 6 year old daughter had been playing with another, slightly older girl. I mentioned to Pop Rocks that the older girl was being a bully to the younger girl. It should also be noted that the majority of the time we were in the pool (about 20 minutes) the younger girls mom was not there, just the older girls parents. Well when the mom got back the older girl got in trouble for being mean. We had gotten out of the pool to dry off by this point and the younger girl was alone in the pool. Well when you are 5 or 6 being in the pool alone is no fun, so she asked her mom if they could go home. The mom says to the girl, "You need to swim around and exercise because you need to lose weight." I looked at Pop Rocks and told him we needed to leave right then. I feel kinda guilty for not sticking up for the sweet girl, but I didn't want to get into a fight.
The second incident happened at one of the two zoos I have been too in the last week. We had been in zync with a family of three rambunctious boys. There we were looking at an empty Cougar cage (it was hot and the cat was inside, but you had to figure that out yourself) when I heard quiet. The dad asks what some of the Cougar's other names are and there is no response. The dad calls the oldest (and loudest one) by name and asks him to read the first paragraph aloud so he can answer the question. The boy did so, but I could not even hear the words as we walked closer by. The kid had shame written across his face and it hurt. I told Pop Rocks, lets not be those parents one day.
The third incident involved a parent calling their kid stupid. The tone cut me through like a knife. It was harsh and painful to hear.
I hope that those kids are all okay when they grow up. I know that the parents weren't meaning to hurt them, but I can see how these things if a common practice could hurt the kids. I realize I'm not a parent, but I like kids and I don't want any of them to be hurt, beyond mending.
Have you ever been in a similar situation? How did you handle it?