**Warning - I'm sure this post will upset and offend some of you but, well, it's my blog so I'm gettin' on my soapbox.**
I found out today that there are carts at some grocery stores that have TV's on them. Luckily, as of last week at least, the store I frequent does not have them because the idea of this makes me want to vomit. Seriously? What ever happened to teaching your children how to behave and making them a part of your day to day activities? Now we can't even take our kids to the grocery store without sitting them in front of some sort of technology?
I have two strong willed children and I have had occassions where I have had to take both of them to the store with me (or at least one). We grab the car cart, they get a free cookie from the bakery and off we go. It's not always easy and I have definatly had struggles but I have set the expectation that they should be able to sit and enjoy the ride. I hope that one day, when they are a bit older, they can help. The store is a great learning experience for kids. They can learn about food, money (and the benefit of saving money) and how to interact with other people.
It's sad that people think it's a great thing to tune their kids out and find a "babysitter" for them so they don't have to be responsible for their child's behavior.
I remember when I worked at Macaroni Grill, from time to time, we had people come to the table for a meal and let their child watch a show on a portable DVD player. It is just so sad to me that this is where our society is going. When I was growing up I was expected to behave. I had to learn how to act when in a restaurant and if I didn't then I had to deal with consequences of it. But I learned manners! I learned how to behave around adults. I wasn't allowed to act up, run around and reek havoc.
If you plop your child in front of a TV or game system every time you are out in public, sure you may have a little more peace and quiet, but at what cost? When is your child going to learn about the world? When will they learn how to behave in public? What happens when you go to the store and that TV cart is broken? They won't know what to do and your trip will be even worse than those trips you had before those coma-inducing cart came about.
Parenting is tough. It's one of the toughest things I've ever done. I'm no expert. Most days I feel like the worst mom on the planet. But my hope is that one day my kids will thank me for a being tough on them. They will thank me for being involved and trying to help them learn about the world. They will be grateful that they learned how to say "please" and "thank you" and "excuse me". Yes we have a DVD player in the minivan but they don't get to watch it every time we drive. It's a treat for them. Most of the time we listen to music and they look out the windows.
I hope those carts never appear in my store. I don't want my kids to even know they exist. Even though it might give me a few extra minutes of peace while I'm shopping, I will not be so selfish as to use them. As difficult as it may be sometimes, I am a parent and I am responsible for the well being and growth of my child. I hope I never ever forget that and I wish more people felt that way.