Damien Whitworth (who he?), writing in the Times Online, eloquently describes a situation I have often found myself in, namely looking at other people’s kids doing stuff I’d bawl mine out for doing, and desperately wanting to say say something but wondering how. In his words:
I made a real hash of bollocking some children at Kew Gardens the other day. The kids were tugging at huge water lilies. Two mothers stood by doing nothing. I dithered. I wanted to tell the women to get a grip of their kids before they destroyed splendid specimens at a World Heritage Site, but was loath to interfere; people go ballistic at the slightest suggestion that they might be bad parents. â€œPop!â€ A lily was snapped off. The women said nothing. A small hand reached out to another thick stem. â€œPlease donâ€™t do that!â€ I snapped. The kid stopped. The mother bristled, weighing whether to give me an earful. In the end she moved the children on, reluctant to concede in front of me that they were out of order on her watch. Next time Iâ€™ll be straight in with the bollocking. Of the gormless mother.
The last bit hits the nail on the head. The kids are just the soft targets; it’s the parents who are ultimately responsible for their little shites behaviour (funny how you can add an ‘e’, put on an Irish accent, and suddenly a phrase becomes acceptable). Who can possibly stand by whilst their kids are ripping plants apart, or tearing up and down the aisles in Sainsburys, or chatting incesantly whilst (supposedly) watching a film at the cinema? Unfortunately all too many so-called parents seem to be able to. But equally, how many of us have the nerve to give the parents the b$Â£%&*king they deserve, however tempting it may be?