As Long As He’s Happy & Safe, That’s All That Matters

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I need to vent about something I overheard while on the train the other day. It’s been slowly eating at me, so I need to get it off my chest.

Oh, I can feel some ragin’ a-comin’! Let me get comfortable with some popcorn… Ok, Shoot!

There was a conversation between two women. One was complaining about an argument she had with her sister-in-law. The argument was over how their children were playing together.

The mother on the train, we’ll call her Angela, has a five-year-old son called Johnny. One day, Johnny was playing with his cousin who is a year older than him. Let’s call him, Damien. Angela and Damien’s mother, we’ll call her Lilith, were in the house when Johnny started screaming and crying.

The mothers went outside to find Damien chasing Johnny down with Johnny’s scooter. Angela asked Damien not to do that and to play nicer with his cousin. The mothers went back inside and a few minutes later, Johnny started to cry again. The mothers went outside, and it appeared Damien was successful in running down poor Johnny.

Wow… What a little jerk.

Angela told Damien off for running Johnny over with the scooter. Lilith laughed the incident off, telling Angela the boys were just playing. Angela pointed to her crying son’s heavily scrapped knee and asked her “how is this any fun?”, to which Lilith allegedly replied, “well, it’s not my fault my son was having fun and your child doesn’t know how to have fun”.

Oh, no she didn’t!

Apparently, she did! Angela was mad about the comment and asked her sister-in-law to leave with her child. Later that day Angela got a call from Lilith. Apparently, Damien was playing “keepings off” with Johnny. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but “keepings off” generally involves one child or a group of children keeping an item away from another. In this case, if Damien really was playing “keepings off” with Johnny, shouldn’t Johnny have been chasing Damien, not the other way around?

I’d say that’s correct. I mean, how many times have we seen kids wanting to play with another kid’s bike and they run around after them for it?

Exactly, and that’s the same point Angela made. Lilith still didn’t see it that way and defended Damien by saying “it’s not his fault if Johnny doesn’t know the rules”. Angela wasn’t taking her crap, so she gave her a piece of her mind. The issue was resolved later that night when Angela’s brother called and apologised for his son’s behaviour.

Good on Damien’s dad!

This situation could’ve been avoided from the start if Lilith told Damien not to chase after Johnny. If I was chasing around my cousin with a bike, I know for a fact my mum would’ve told me off right and confiscate the bike because I used it as a God damn weapon. If I were Damien’s dad, I would’ve taken the scooter away from him as well. Did Lilith honestly believe it was ok for her son to keep playing rough? Johnny was in distress and even after Johnny was hurt, Lilith still didn’t tell her son off for going too far with his little game.

Well, what about Angela? Kicking your sister-in-law out of the house is a bit much, isn’t it?

Maybe a little bit, but it’s her house and her child was the one injured. Maybe Angela has a mean streak and was on the verge of knocking Lilith the F#$% out.

What I do find frustrating was the fact Lilith called Angela to try and defend her son’s wrong-doing. Don’t try to pretend your child did nothing wrong when he hurt his cousin, AFTER being told to play nicer. Damien’s father shouldn’t have been the one to apologise to Angela, Lilith should’ve. This situation could’ve been avoided if Lilith told Damien “Hey! Don’t try to chase your cousin! You’re going to end up hurting him”.

Lilith was fine because her son wasn’t in any danger and was enjoying himself. As long as he’s happy and safe, that’s all that matters. Right?

…Oh why, why did you have to mention that?

Ha! I knew that’d set you off again!

Seriously, it took me four months to get over that incident and NOW you’ve reopened old wounds.

Remind us all what happened again? I can’t remember…

You remember very well what happened, but I’ll tell everyone since they don’t know. Last year I went to national park in Utah. My friends and I sat down to have lunch and there were several people around us. There was a nearby natural arch formation with a very specific sign put there by the US National Park Service that read “DO NOT CLIMB UP THE ARCH”.

A small family came along and stopped to eat. One of them, a boy around the age of ten, proceeded to try and climb up the arch. His father said, “Hey, don’t climb up there! Read the sign. You’re not allowed to, it’s dangerous.” His mother responded with, “No it’s ok. As long as he’s happy and safe, that’s all that matters.”

As long as he’s happy and safe…

Seriously, is this mother that naïve to allow her son to climb up the arch formation despite there being A DAMN SIGN PUT THERE BY THE GOVERNMENT?! Your “happy and safe” clause becomes null and void the second you break the law. Let’s say this child, let’s call him Ethan, grows up, steals a car and leads police on a six-hour chase. The chase ends when Ethan causes a ten car-pile up that puts twenty people in the hospital. He walks out from the wreck without any injury what-so-ever and is arrested. Do you honestly think his mother will try to defend his actions because he was “happy and safe, so that’s all that mattered”?

That’s a bit of an extreme situation but…

You know who else was happy and safe terrorising poor Johnny? DAMIEN! Maybe that’s how Lilith was trying to justify her child’s behaviour. All that mattered to Lilith and Ethan’s mum was their children’s happiness and safety, despite the fact they were being harmful to others. In Ethan’s case, he wasn’t safe! He was a good four or five feet up the side of the rock formation before his father came over and grabbed him. If he went any higher and slipped, I’m sure his mother would’ve been singing a different tune.

I’m not a parent but I knew as a child to play nice with other kids. Yes, I’d play rough with my friends and my cousins, but we’d all know when too far was too far. We wouldn’t do anything to put anyone in danger. I don’t see how any parent could justify their child’s bad behaviour by telling people “it’s just a bit of fun”. Really? Let’s see what happens on the day your child who ends up with a broken nose because his friend “wanted to have fun” by playing a game of “catch the brick”.

Ok, you need to ease off on these insane scenarios.

The thought process of both mothers blows my mind. Am I over reacting here? How can there be parents today who’ll allow their children to act up because their child is “happy and safe”? Are parents that worried upsetting their child they let them do what they want, even if it puts other children’s happiness and safety at risk? Is Angela right? Is Lilith right?

Let me know what you think. I’d like to get your thoughts on this while I go and cool down from all this venting.



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