Between the hours after work and before bed, public places can be a zoo of parent-child arguments. While at the drugstore last night, my peaceful meandering down the greeting card aisle was curtly interrupted by a woman's voice that sounded exactly like my car's GPS system.
"But mom can I-" replied the tiny little girl behind her.
"No. Whatever it is, no."
"Mom, I reall-"
"No." She began to repeat herself before even allowing her daughter to get a syllable in. Monotone and seemingly without reason, this mother kept denying her child of something that I am still not sure of. It was totally unclear what she was asking for.
The mother continued, without so much as making eye contact with her daughter, "No because I said so, so don't ask me why. And if you aren't following me now then I'm ignoring you."
(No exaggeration here. This is what she actually said.)
The daughter straggled behind her, whimpering. Her mother never once looked in her direction the entire time I witnessed this episode.
My sympathy goes out to the little girl, of course. In part, I feel sorry for the mother as well because I don't think that she knows any other way. Was this the way that she was parented perhaps? At the same time, I don't think she wishes to psychologically damage her daughter either. My guess is that she hasn't a clue on the impact that this kind of parenting will have on her daughter for years to come.
What I do wonder is who this mother will blame when her daughter reaches teenage years (or sooner) and starts to rebel against her.
It always takes me a moment to get my bearings back and realize that this is not my problem, although the speech has been mentally rehearsed many a time. Suffice it to say, my only chosen audience for this kind of story are P.E.T. parents and readers here on our blog. It is our every intention at GTI to spread the word of P.E.T. not just to parents who are already followers of ours, but more importantly, to those who aren't.
By: Selena Cruz George, Program Manager