My “Shout It Out!” for Tonight – Disrespectful Kids and Parents

I was at my riding lesson on Saturday and saw one of the most disturbing displays of poor parenting I think I have ever witnessed.  Two kids, accompanied by their mother, were to begin a riding lesson after mine.  The mother arrived 45 minutes early and seemed to expect the instructor and her workers (middle school aged girls that work on their own time to help out) to entertain her children for the time prior to their lesson.  Trying to be helpful, my instructor asked one of the workers to help the young kids (approximately ages 7 and 5) brush a horse while the instructor taught my class.  The mother promptly left to sit in the lounge and didn’t stay to help supervise her kids. 

Within a few minutes, the worker came out holding the 5 year old girl’s hand with the 7 year old boy following.  She walked them to the mother and came to talk to the instructor.  Apparently, the 5 year old, when told that she couldn’t walk under the horse she was brushing (something she had done and been told not to do at the last lesson), told the worker to “Shut Up”, threw a brush at her brother and proceeded to walk under the horse anyway (luckily it is a very kind animal).  When asked by the instructor if she had indeed done that, she lied and said she didn’t, acting like the reason to not do so had never been explained to her.  All while this was happening (before and as the instructor was talking to the kids) the mother did and said nothing!  After the lesson the kids were out of control, running up and down the aisle, going in stalls and generally getting into everything.  Again, the mother did NOTHING!  I really don’t know how my instructor kept her cool.   I think I would have gone ballistic and asked the mother never to bring the kids back (probably a good reason for me not to ever try teaching anything).  Once again, my instructor is reaching that “saint” status I talked about in “Ode to the Riding Instructor“.

I have two kids, and while I don’t consider myself particularly strict, I do expect them to respect other people, especially adults.    The problem I have is that I see this all the time (at the gym, at the store, at horse shows).  What is going on and why can’t parents teach their kids manner and respect for others?  It just drives me nuts!

2 Responses to My “Shout It Out!” for Tonight – Disrespectful Kids and Parents

  1. kad says:

    Approaching this as both an intructor and a mother I see this as growing epidemic.
    As a mother- my child would be close to dead if she didn’t get killed by the horse first. (Murphy’s law says any horse person that knows better would be the one to get hurt.)
    As an instructor- It really never ceases to amaze me what walks through the barn door on a daily basis. I have over the past several years met some of the most wonderful people anyone could ever want to meet, both children and adults. I have seen students come and go and even grow into kind, caring, loving individuals that I am proud and honored to know. Most of this comes from their parents but I like to think that a small part of the person they have become has to do with me and the love they have shared with the horses (and myself) in my program. I have always, always tried to treat my students with the honesty and repect they deserve. Sure, there are some I dislike but as a professional it is my duty to still give them that reguardless of my personal feelings for them. I try to instill this in my students as well. I have always thought that teaching someone to ride is more than just mechanics. I have to be able to teach them humility, love, and respect for them to truly grow as a rider and for me to grow as a teacher, and a person.
    Unfortunately, like everything else in life with the good comes the bad. And when they (the students & parents) are bad, they are very,very bad. Stereothypes would lead most to believe that there financial backround has alot to do with it but I strongly diagree. I have those that work overtime and scrape up just enough to get lessons for their kids and even those that could afford to buy the entire riding school and both can produce angels and evil little devils. Unfortunately, I am obligated to teach both. I am the first to admit that I do what I do out of a love for my job. I could, and some days wish I did, stay at home and eat bon bons. I feel that as a teacher, an adult, and a generally hard working person that I derserve common courtisy, respect, and the right to make decisions I feel necessary to do the job that they are paying me for in the first place.
    Children are certainly a product of their environment, that sometimes is painfully evident when you meet their parents as they can be just as ignorant and disrepectful as their 5 yr old child.
    As a mother – I hope myself and my child never act the way Black Eye Beth decribed that family.


  2. I will have to say that it IS a growing epidemic. Everywhere I go, I see that some parents are, for lack of better word, ‘ignoring’ their childrens behaviour! Or maybe they just don’t see it because they too act that way?
    It is not just at horse shows, but everywhere! At many a horse shows I have been sitting in the stands watching my friends show while someones wild children are running up and down the seats and yelling… and out of all people, mostly not even knowing who these children are, **I** am the one to tell them to sit down and be quiet while the parents are
    a) no where to be seen or
    b) apalled that I told their children to sit down!! Someone has to do it before someone else gets hurt!

    My trainers worked very hard with me to get where I am with my horses today. They have taught me alot, and have given up alot for me to succeed with my horses! Trainer’s are definately the ‘therapist’ in the world of bratty horses, children and parents lol. I dont know how they do it!
    So there’s my shout out to all you trainers! Keep on keepin on!!

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