Let me set the scene. Today, my other half and I were happily walking round Trostre retail park in Llanelli, singing along in harmony to any Christmas music we could hear being played (apart from that annoying Christmas Wrapping song by The Waitresses, which seemed to follow us round from shop to shop) – a standard Saturday afternoon for us. As a side note, I really wish shops in retail parks would talk to each other and devise a plan where they all play the same Christmas song at the same time so you don’t end up hearing your most hated song in Outfit, Next, River Island and Debenhams!
Walking past our favourite coffee shop, we overheard a father tell his little boy to behave otherwise the security guard who was walking behind them would ‘take him to jail.’ I mean, WHAT?! To make matters worse, the security guard overheard this silly threat and echoed the father’s statement! There is SO much wrong with this on SO many levels, it actually makes my blood boil just writing about it! The little boy looked about six years old – the exact age they say children are in a time of important social advances that establish their sense of identity. The bottom line? Six year olds are impressionable, so be careful what you are teaching them. In this case it was a father villainizing a person of authority to control his son’s bad behaviour.
I ask you this, what if that child was to lose sight of his father amongst the shopping frenzy and end up on his own, completely lost? I’d like to think he would have the sense to approach a security guard who could then get on the radio and organise reuniting him with his father, but I doubt this would happen. Why would he seek help from a man who would ‘punish him’ for behaving badly, getting lost and potentially ‘send him to jail with all the naughty people?’
This is not the child’s fault, this is the parent’s. Do you want your child to approach the right people in a time of crisis? It’s the same with Police Officers. Too often have I overheard parents in the streets threatening their children with the Police Officer that just happens to be in sight. Children should be looking to them as good people who can help you if you need it – in simple terms, as the good guy, maybe even a hero. This mindset is hard to achieve however when they have the parent in their ear using them as a stick to beat them with.
Today’s incident was extra shocking however because the security guard laughed and agreed with the father. He villainized himself. I really hope that by some miracle he reads this blog, thinks about how that little meeting today has negatively influenced that poor little boy’s mind and thinks twice about what to say next time.
I am not a parent yet, nor do I claim to know everything about what parents should and shouldn’t teach their children, but surely this is something most can agree with? Let’s get things right first time and avoid the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that poor teachers will have to try and do in school to combat the negative attitudes towards these authority figures!
Parents, I implore you, DO NOT villainise the good guys!