Why are some parents so overprotective and overreactive with their children? Tonight, while waiting to order at a restaurant, I watched a father who does not “get it.”
He was standing in line with his family right in front of me. I think he had two or three rugrats. One of them was a tiny girl about two years old, give or take six months. Cute as a bug’s ear. She was walking around, looking to entertain herself, but generally staying in sight of Mom and Dad.
On the wall nearby was an electrical outlet. She saw it and went to investigate closer. In fact, she went right up and touched the outlet’s slot. As anyone can easily see, outlets are designed with slots so narrow that even an infant cannot fit her finger far enough into them to reach the metal contacts inside. This child could not possibly have gotten hurt using only her bare finger. If she’d had a small metal object, things would be different. She didn’t have anything, just her finger.
As soon as Mr. Worrypants saw what she was doing, he sprang into action. Moving with lightning speed from his position about ten feet away, he swept up the child while virtually yelling, “No, no, no! Don’t touch that!”
I wanted to tell him, “Chillax, dude. She’s not trying to clean a key in there, just touching the outside cover.”
|Image courtesy of CollegeHumor.com|
Of course, his response startled her, and she began to cry. More like a brief whimper, really. So he over-corrected again and hugged her tightly while soothing her in a stupid baby-talk voice: “It’s okay, daddy wuvs you. Daddy wuuuvs you.” Really, doofus? You want her to learn to talk like that?
Tip for new parents: kids mimic what they see and hear. If you want them to learn to speak correctly, speak correctly to them. I know, a radical approach, huh? Not only that, but kids are very adept at reading their parents’ emotions, from a very young age. If you want them to be frightened and upset, freak out around them. To help them remain calm and comfortable, well, you know what I’m going to say here…
Imagine what this guy will do in 10 or 15 years when his special princess is confronted with real dangers.