". . . or feel that pressure because they can't stand the idea of not seeing their children for more than just the school drop-off/pick-up."
I think, often it's because if they don't see their children for more than just the school drop-off/pick-up, then neither parent will? I'm not married, and I don't have kids, but what I see with my friends is that if there's slack in the marriage (neglected kids, messy house, etc.) it will either get taken up by the wife, or it won't get done at all. That's a TON of pressure.
“Real women’s empowerment is being able to do what you want to when you want to" - white (presumably) able-bodied Yale graduate
intersectionality: ur doing it wrong
"'Real women’s empowerment is being able to do what you want to when you want to.'"
And if you try so very, very hard, and do everything exactly right, and make perfect choices, eventually you will have a perfect life, free of conflicts and anxieties and the nagging feeling that if you had just done it right, been a little more accommodating or a little less accommodating or nicer or meaner or in better shape or less concerned about your body or more dedicated to your job or more focused on your home life, everything would have just snapped into place and you would be content now.
And if you don't have that life, it's your fault, because you have CHOICES, can't you see that, and if you had made the right ones you would have transcended human imperfection by now.
So yeah, the behavior was not cool. But what was going on with the families? The five year old just sounds like she had no direction, no activities or toys there to keep her occupied, or like one of the parents (I'm guessing it's a couple) wasn't willing to say "I'm going to take her to the park for a while."
The 9 year old boy though, that sounds like something else is up. He either really didn't want to come on this trip, or something is happening with his family that he has to be devious to get their attention. Are they getting a divorce? Did a friend of his move away? Basically he sounds like he was acting out of frustration and anger and was trying to get attention and the parents weren't giving him either a shoulder to cry on or a boundary to feel secure within - for whatever reasons THEY have.
Recent studies have shown that middle-class American parents are basically the most permissive and indulgent parents in the world: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304450004577277482565674646.html#
I'm tempted to advance an academic argument here: the idea of childhood has always been imaginatively created and curated by adults, and the current Western conception of childhood as a privileged time of innocence, freedom, and exploration (rather than sinfulness, vulnerability to disease, and dependency/labor source) is only a couple of hundred years old, and really came into its own during the Victorian era/late modern period. "Childhood" emerges as a relative category, a foil to help us understand adulthood. We expect childhood to be the opposite of adulthood, a time to indulge in all the things we are subsequently expected to reject and leave behind. So basically, parents who themselves feel constrained by their choices, burdened with unfulfilling work, and constantly policed/judged by social expectations to be clean, orderly, and respectful will permit their children to do the opposite in order to vicariously live through them.
Also there's always the terrifying possibility that your child will grow up and write one of those tell-all memoirs describing the torturous way you made them pick up their own toys. Give them whatever they want!
So I have a kid and I deal with issues like this on a regular basis (when friends bring their kids over AND as a preschool teacher). Parents have different standards for acceptable behavior too! A couple of things I've learned:
You do have to pick your battles. Obviously bad behavior towards pets is a big no-no and you would be more than justified in talking directly to the child about that. Not yelling/screaming, but simply getting on their level and explaining what they did wrong and perhaps modelling the correct behavior i.e: "mr. wiggle bottom likes it if you sit quietly and rub his head like this".
The other stuff you and your SO would need to decide what the big deals are and what you can let go. For the things that are big deals you need to bring it up to the parents. Heck, I usually use the old "I'm trying to look out for your wonderful angel's safety" trick. So when Timmy pulls something out of the fridge and eats it without asking you let Mom and Dad know that he needs to ask first because you also keep your totally toxic but delicious smelling night cream in there too. And maybe some of your husband's science experiments. That makes you seem like the loving childless-by-choice-but-damn-your-kids-are-so-amazing friend while still letting you maintain your sanity.
Also, I put a lot of shit away when I know I'm having guests over. Even adult guests can be irresponsible, bad house guests (heck, it sounds like these dear friends are just that). Simply removing really breakable items, making certain rooms or areas of rooms off-limits might help prevent some of the worst damage.
Also, get better friends, because having a kid who acts out and having a kid who you let destroy a friend's home are two very different things and one of those is indicative of a very selfish person.
@Porn Peddler Wait has anyone ever tried eating magic berries beforehand? WHAT IF THIS IS A GREAT IDEA!?
@parallel-lines Agreed. As far as I am concerned there are two kinds of yogurt: candy-replacement for people who want to feel good about themselves but still can't control their sugar addictions, and disgusting sludge eaten by people on diets. Sometimes they overlap and contain lots of unnatural chemicals!
YOGURT IS BULLSHIT.
C'mon. It is. It totally is. It's like, you have yogurt for breakfast and your stomach is like, "Hey...hey, I'm still hungry down here. Can you throw something more than some curdled bacteria into me?"
Also, are we talking that sugar laden Dannon "high fructose syrup on the bottom stuff" or are we taking about people who eat plain Fage 0%? Because obviously the latter set is healthy--can you see the shit their tastebuds can withstand? They could probably eat tree bark coated in wheat germ.
@iceberg - This is PROBABLY hideious mansplaining and long, but I want to dissent, as a Hetero White Dude.
I kind of disagree a lot with this article. I'm a white hetero dude, and amongst people of the same descriptors, we have DEFINITELY DEFINITELY joked about like "Man, how easy would it be to live in Mad Men? I want to just drink all I want and not get yelled at for smoking and etc."
But like, we're also educated, liberal dudes who don't actually believe that. When we say it, it is friends joking about a thing that's crazy easy for us to joke about, because all it is is making our lives "easier". But not BETTER, because we really believe that a rising tide lifts all boats, equality, etc. (I say etc not to dismiss it offhand, but ya'll are on the same page as to what the etc is).
And like - I'm not some magically super-evolved dude. I am SO FUCKING THERE in times of my voting, charitable donation, marching in whatever etc support of like, Gay Rights for instance - full on RIGHTS, like I think Civil Unions are a disgusting BS cop-out and hate when liberals propose it.
But also like, I was raised a blue collar white straight guy, and it took me YEARS to not want to turn away when two dudes kiss, and like, today, my reaction to something might be an emotional/automatic "that's romantic" when a straight couple does it, but the "that's romantic" when a gay couple does it is intellectual/learned reaction when a gay couple does it.
So you know, sure, there is some 'discomfort' in being a member of the most privileged class in the history of time. That part of the article is true.
But you know who's problem it completely is not? Anybody but our own. The talk of "counter-revolution" - I mean, yes it happens. It's the entire basis of the current wacko-wing of the republican party. And it sucks. And it is fucking bullshit.
The sunburn/heart attack metaphor is right, but maybe people don't deserve any sympathy for sunburn. Maybe they should learn to stay the fuck out of the sun for so long. And if they're dumb enough to fall asleep on the beach towel with their face in the sand, maybe you ought to slap them on the back when you ask a sarcastic "How Ya Doin'?"
Of course, all of that is easy for me to say, since I'm not the one who has to deal with it. And I get that, and I don't mean to dismiss the article - maybe it's right, and I just can't accept that there needs to be this bullshit compromise path. But honestly, dudes like me, who ever, once, whatsoever open their mouth about things getting harder for us because they're ever so slowly becoming a little better for our fellow human beings, need to take long walks off of short piers.