Monday, June 11, 2007

Quiet Riot

A few years ago, I witnessed a riot. I mean a real-life, full-blown donnybrook in the streets, complete with riot police in full riot gear. It was one of the scariest things I have ever seen.

Yesterday, I attended a kiddie birthday party at a combination miniature golf/arcade place.

The only difference yesterday was the absence of the riot police.

Now look, I was a crazy kid with crazy friends, and I'm not a completely clueless old fart. I love kids having fun, and I don't expect them to behave like robots. I've been known to rile up a group of little people now and then, myself.

But what the heck? Is every situation involving more than one kid expected now to just spiral out of control? Is "fun" now synonymous with "complete mayhem?" Three kids sustained some pretty considerable injuries yesterday, including a 4 year old who ran headlong into a door and was knocked silly.

I also don't consider myself anywhere near a perfect parent, but how do you just stand idly by and allow these kids to wreak havoc completely unchecked? I mean I know we're supposed to allow our kids to "express themselves", have fun and all. But even if you're so clueless as to not care about the personal property of others, don't you even care about your own kid's safety?

There were 2 pounds of popcorn completely scattered everywhere, 200 gallons of soda spilled everywhere, chairs overturned. When the kids sang "Happy Birthday" the ones closest to the cake finished up by shoving their hands completely into the cake. One kid took to the mini-golf course and proceeded to whack the balls (his father kept getting him new ones) everywhere, including over the fence. And Dad laughed.

Maybe because I have a little girl, my protective instincts were in overdrive, but seriously...what the heck is going on?


  1. I think birthday parties should be simplified -and there's no reason to invite every kid in town.

    Yesterday my boyfriend and I went to church -and it was a zoo! There were kids running around and one little girl thought the pew I was sitting on was slip 'n slide! And did any of the parents bother to stop the mayhem? Nope.

    I know since I'm still single, I don't have any idea how hard it can be to keep the kids in line -but by golly, when I'm a mommy, I'm not going to let my kids rule! So help me.

  2. What kind of parties are you going to? Riots, Disney.....;-)

    I think it all boils down to your main point: parenting (or the lack thereof)

    Kids are not being taught to control themselves and/or behave themselves in public. Parents are also encouraging bad behavior. Common courtesy is just totally lacking in our society.

    Sad thing is, these kids will one day grow up to be parents, and the cycle starts over.

  3. Parents seem to think that's ok behavior these days. :(

    Chucky Cheese is hell on earth! lol

  4. Note to self: Get vasectomy.

  5. Ironically, I was just thinking about this exact thing today only from a slightly different perspective. I was wondering how to prevent my children from becoming part of stories like this one :)

    During the 5 years I've spent as a parent, I have learned only two things for sure:

    1) I really don't have a clue what I'm doing. What once seemed black and white fades into a million shades of gray when you are blinded by the love of a child.

    2) If my children leave my house learning nothing else besides a good measure of self-control, I will count myself successful.

  6. i feel so much better now! last week at my daughter's end of the year beach party the other "nazi" mom and i just kept looking at the boys and saying "the other mothers here may let you act like that, but do NOT do it where we can see or hear you, you WILL be sorry" (and they straightened right up!)

  7. PS (sorry for taking up so much space, like I said I've been thinking about this myself).

    I once had an education teacher show us a clip of Apollo 13.
    It was the part where the spaceship had broken and everyone back on earth was frantically trying to figure out how to get the astronauts home safely before they run out of air (which was rapidly leaking out of the side of the ship).

    The clip shows a group of people sitting at a table. A man walks in, throws a bunch of components on the table, and says something to the effect of, "Gentlemen, we have to figure out how to make this (holds up a square), fit into this (holds up a circle), using only these things (the pieces available on the spaceship)."

    The point my teacher made was that true creative expression comes within boundaries.

    I guess that applies to children too. Any kid can be wild, off the wall and inappropriate. It's those children who can find a way to have fun within appropriate boundaries that are really learning to be creative and express themselves.

  8. Ohhhhhhhhh Mammamia

    you say this: "1) I really don't have a clue what I'm doing."

    and then right the rest of your comment. You DEFINITELY have way more than just A clue, trust me. I'd gladly have you and your kids to any party I have, and let them go to yours!

  9. Kristen: I don't know if this quick tale really fits right now, but the pastor was telling the story about how a Mom was saying that her kid really believed in himself, blah blah blah, and how she allowed him to express himself freely, blah blah, and the pastor told her: "Hitler sure believed in himself too, and look how he expressed himself.

    It's all about guidance and constraints, right?

  10. OH MY...
    As a mother of four, I am proud to say, we have very calm birthday parties. THe idea I think, maybe I think too much, is to give them activities that are fun...and do not escalate into this 'riot' pf hyperactivity. Again being the adult, I would be the one choosing or assisting the child choose what to do. I dread the birthday parties at adventure lands or chuckE about chaos. And I am all about no drama, no chaos...and we manage to still have fun!
    ANd a huge chuckle to Jeff!


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