Nagging parents

Bitch, bitch, bitch.
I have to share something that happened while my husband and I were away for a two day vacation.

We were having breakfast at Perkins, and the table across from us had a dad and his two nice daughters sitting at it. He was engrossed in the paper, and the girls were chatting quietly to each other, bothering no one. Every so often he would put down the paper long enough to snap at one of them:
“Sit UP for Gods sake. Why do you always have to sit like that?” and other stupid crap. He carped at them periodically while he read, and as the morning progressed these little girls looked less and less happy.

Finally, the food came. Now, these girls were about 10 and 11. Their plates are HEAPED up with food. He spends the entire meal sniping and bitching. They don’t cut their food right, they don’t fucking chew right, they don’t do ANYTHING right. I am like ready to bash in his skull, because I can’t take listening to him badgering these girls! They are so good- just sitting there eating, and he CANNOT leave them be!

As were were leaving, he was berating one into tears with the “You ordered all that food, and you’re damned well going to eat it! I’m not paying for all that food that you ordered without you eating it.” Etc, etc. Her little lip was quivering and I swear if I had a stun gun I would have zapped him and rescued those girls. Instead I got up (we were leaving) and said to him “Wow, that must have been one expensive breakfast to make you carry on like that.”

He didn’t say shit back to me, just looked right at his plate and started eating. (My husband is big and scary and he likely didn’t feel like trying to bully HIM)

My question is unanswerable, I know. But WHY WHY WHY WHY do some parents have to just pick and pick at thier kids until you can see they’re just broken? It was an awful thing to witness- as bad as watching them being beaten, in my book.

Obviously I have issues with this, but the point remains. If you are one of these parents who CONSTANTLY picks at your kid- calling them names, making them feel bad, embarrasing them in front of strangers or family PLEASE get some help.

It broke my heart to know that the 10 year old in tears over her breakfast would probobly have at least 8 more years of it to go through. Like being in jail for doing nothing wrong.


PS- No, I do not have kids. No, I don’t think all parents are bad. No, I don’t expect parents to be best friends with their kids. Yes, I know he could have been having the worst day of his life, etc. This is just one example of the kind of person I’m talking about.

It is upbringing. Maybe the father doesn’t recognize what he was doing was wrong, because that was the way he was treated growing up. It’s sad. Someone should maybe point it out to him and stop the cycle, lest his daughters grow up the same way.

His daughters will get their revenge by doing one or more of the following:

a) running away at age 16
b) getting pregnant at 14
c) becoming a stripper
d) posing nude in Hustler
e) becoming a crack-whore
f) being a cast member on Big Brother IX

Oh boy, I probably shouldn’t touch this, and my response certainly won’t be venomous enough for the Pit, but here goes.

First off, sounds like that guy acted like a complete asshole on that occasion. And, it is likely that he is a complete asshole generally.

Have to admit, tho, that I have on more than one occasion committed many, if not most of the things that guy did (tho probably not all at the same time, and probably not in public.)

First off, having kids, and being a good parent, is really hard. Don’t take this as bitching, because it can also be incredibly rewarding. But talk about stress and frustration! There is no manual, and no matter how hard you work at it, you can never approach perfection.

I’ve got 3 kids, 12 1/2 to 9. And as much as I love them, there are times they drive me insane. Dinners used to be tough for me. I guess I have some wacky ideas about dinner table behavior, no playing with your food, that kind of stuff. And it can be frustrating when you tell the kid the same damn thing 1000 times, and the next day they do the same thing that they should know by now bugs the hell out of you. It takes a lot of character, and in my case, several years of experience, to remain calm and tell your kid for the 1001st time. Especially, as you note, if you had a shitty day. Maybe your boss was ragging on you, and all you want to do is come home and have a nice meal with your family. And after cooking the meal, trying to fix something everyone will like, they still complain about it.

It was not natural for me to correct things in a constructive manner understanable to a not fully reasoning child. And it is easy to take stuff personally (big mistake). And there are occasions when I let myself get mad, and said mean things to my kids. (Probably wouldn’t seem that mean to an adult, but when the kid wants your approval and love so much, and has self esteem issues and insecurities whirling around in his developing personality, it doen;t always take that much to make that lip quiver.)

I often think, I find it so hard, and I am economically flush, have a supportive spouse, the kids are basically really good, and I’m relatively intelligent and emotionally stable. How tough would it be if I were lacking one or more of those qualities? It starts early. When you have a baby, he is fed, clean, warm, and you can’t do anything to stop him from crying. And all you want to do is sleep. Although you do not do it, you have a glimpse of how some less fortunate individuals could commit chiild abuse.

I think you did a really good thing. Hopefully, the guy will be mortified, and will realize he was a jerk. (Let’s hope he doesn’t go home and beat the kids.) Sometimes you have to fuck up and get called on it to learn.

Reading is another thing. Not having kids, you may not realize how selfish an act reading can be? All you want to do is read the darn paper. And a kid wants you to play a game with him, or read her a book. You really, really want to read the paper. It was not (for me) a natural reaction to put down the paper, realizing that in a few short years you will have all the time in the world to read, appreciating how wonderful it is to have someone who wants your attention so much.

This is too long already. In summary, he was a jerk, and you did a good thing.

Great honest post. I understand frustration, believe me I do. My fury with this behavior stems from being berated like that as a kid (no, not ALL parents do their best unfortunately). I don’t know if my mom meant to hurt me like she did, and I am just hoping someone who may recognize him or herself in my OP will reflect on how their behavior is hurting their children and do something about it. It’s such a lose, lose situation.


This pisses me off so much. My own mother is the type who loves to humiliate me whenever she can (even to this day, whenever there is anyone else around, she parades out her whole collection of stories of every bad thing I ever did. Never the good things, always just the bad, the embarrassing, the shameful)…

A similar thing that I have witnessed several times and just steams me to no end is when a parent won’t let a child go to the bathroom. What the fuck is that about? Control. I remember one time I was at a grocery store. One I KNOW has a public restroom. The kid was maybe 3 or 4, and was totally twisted up trying to keep from wetting her pants. She was begging to be allowed to go to the bathroom, while her mother SCREAMED at her to shut up and wait til they got home. It made me want to cry.

Ugh. After reading this, Whammo’s “Bitch-slap” thread, and lucie’s “You’d look better if” thread, I am reminded once again why I broke up with my girlfriend.

I’m glad you said something to him, Zette. I hope it makes him think.

A pat on the back for Zette. I hope you got this guys attention. Abusive parents usually were abused as a child and they carry on the tradition, unless they realize the problem and deal with it.
I lived with abusive parents and I vowed to never heap abuse on my own kids. “The Kids” are now 22 and 21, Summa Cum Laude graduates and are both actively involved in their careers. I kept my vow, the kids never had even a glimpse of the abused child life.

I admit that at times I’m like that man. And you’re right: it does reflect on the parent’s upbringing.

My mother did the same to me. Constantly and without end. Sit up straight. Don’t talk when you eat. Don’t slurp your soup. Don’t swing your legs. Don’t play with your food. Don’t, Don’t, Don’t.

I remember what it was – and still is-- like feeling as though you can do nothing right. Whether it’s eating your dinner, going to work or raising your own child, nothing is ever good enough. It took several years for me to understand that “That’s just how she is,” is not a valid excuse. What it comes down to is exactly what Opalcat said – control. You feel as if you have to control each and every moment of that child’s life.

Now, because this is how I was raised, I see both sides of this coin. I remember what it was like and how much I hated it. But at the same time, I do it without thinking.

I try to explain to my child my reasoning for such commands, especially after I catch myself, but it’s not easy. I see how some of his friends act and don’t want him picking up their bad habits. I worry about him having this “from a single family home” label hanging over his head. I want him to rise above the stereotype. But I also want him to be confident, self-assured, and independant. I do my best, but I make mistakes.

It’s not an easy thing to get a hold on, especially if this is what you’re used to. My mother still does this to me and I’m nearly 30. She will never quit and I will never feel accepted by her. I have vowed not to do the same (to the same extent) to my son. It’s a daily conscious effort to control the sniping.

Wow! I saw something here that just tickled my brain. It’s a tangent so forgive me, Zette. You see, my dad has a really bad habit. Similar in a lot to what you saw but different dynamics… anyway… he would take me out to eat and then sit there and read the paper. He wouldn’t talk to me, converse with me, nothing. But he was the one who invited me to lunch, dinner whatever.

I always went with high hopes that we could converse and share a meal but no… he always brought something to read. It broke my heart. It was like he wanted to be seen with me in public but didn’t want to actually BE with me, his own daughter or anything…

To this day he doesn’t understand why none of his children want to go out, alone, to eat with him. Because he ignores us. I mean, hey, what this father did is worse, I guess, in the overall scheme of things but I can’t say that what my father did was much better…

If I had to choose between what those girls got and what my dad did I’d rather be ignored than ridden through the entire meal.

But if I could really have whatever I wanted I’d want my dad to treat me the way he does his best friends. Just once I’d like him to really show me the respect and admiration he does them. Just once. I’d almost KILL for that from my own father. And that’s sad.

I don’t know if it’s been pointed out but, hey fathers out there: what you say or don’t say, how you say it or don’t say it, has such a major impact on your children. Even into our adult years; what our father says about us and how he treats us has a major impact… just be kind and treat them the way you want to be treated…

Just keep in mind that some day they will probably be the only support system you have…