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KarenatKL
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Stories


The incident on the bus - and why it doesn't pay to be judgemental!

The incident on the bus...
A young woman got on a bus. She had had a terrible day at work and now it was pouring down with rain and she felt (and looked!) like a drowned rat. All she wanted to do was get home. Traffic was bad and the bus was full apart from two seats right at the front. She squeezed in on the seat immediately behind the last empty row. Three stops further on a lady got on with two children, a little boy of about five and a girl of about seven years old. The lady looked to be in her sixties so the young woman guessed she must be the children’s grandmother. The children started running up and down the bus, shouting and screaming. The grandmother asked them to behave but to no avail, so gave up trying and looked out the window. There were mutterings across the length of the bus as people began to lose patience with the children’s behaviour and the grandmother’s inability (or lack of desire) to do anything about it. Eventually, tired of the game of running up and down the bus, the children sat down in the row immediately in front of the young woman. They knelt on the seat and looked back down the bus and the girl started making faces and pushing her tongue out at the young woman and the man sitting next to her. The grandmother still did nothing to correct the children’s behaviour. Eventually the young woman had enough and said ‘now stop that behaviour, you are being very naughty. What would your mummy and daddy say if they could see you behaving in this way?’ The grandmother turned round, looked the young woman in the eye and said ‘Their mummy is dead and their father is driving the bus’.
An awkward silence fell among the passengers and everyone looked anywhere, other than at the grandmother and the two children. At the next stop there was a change of driver. The bus driver (who was, as the passengers had been told, the children’s father) got off with the children and his mother to allow the relief driver on-board. Before doing so and clearly embarrassed, he apologised for his children’s behaviour. It will come as no surprise that I was the young woman who had had a really bad day at work and who took it upon myself (in my youth and great ignorance!) to chastise two orphans for their poor behaviour. When I recall the incident now it still makes me cringe over 20 years later and has on occasion come back to haunt me! However, having spoken to friends, family and clients over the years, I have realised I am not the only one to have made judgements about other people’s parenting before I had experienced having children of my own and finding out how difficult, challenging (although ultimately rewarding) the role can be. How many of you (pre children) have been in a supermarket, shopping centre or at the park and witnessed poor behaviour and meltdowns by children and young people and smugly thought ‘when I have children they will NEVER behave like that!’ The fact is parenting can be incredibly difficult and however prepared you think you are prior to the birth of your child, nothing ever really prepares you for the ups and downs you experience during your parenting journey. One thing the incident on the bus taught me is don’t pass judgement without knowing the full story (and if possible don’t pass judgement at all!) Having worked with young people and families for a number of years and after raising my own family, I have come to the conclusion there is no such thing as a perfect parent or for that matter, a perfect child. You can substitute the word ‘naughty’ child for ‘anxious’ child, a ‘worried’ child, a ‘frightened’ child or an ‘angry’ child. The list is endless. ‘Naughty’ never really covers it. In future 'stories' it is my aim to share some of the experiences I have had in my role as a Parent and Life Coach, Parent Support Adviser, Family Support Practitioner and last but not least, the mother of two young adults. I hope you enjoy reading and please feel free to ask me any questions about parenting

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