There is a special place reserved for the category of parents excusing their lack of discipline by attacking well-behaved children. (Where is it reserved? I don't know, but it's somewhere they get to listen to other kids screaming non-stop.)
One of my Facebook friends was bemoaning the way her kids had been acting when they were out earlier that day. Now, this gal is a great mom, and I somehow doubt her kids were as bad as she thinks they were (our kids rarely are!). She's got an autistic child and a three-year-old who is the very embodiment of three-years-old, so as far as I'm concerned any time she goes out and accomplishes what she needs to accomplish she deserves a pat on the back, whether her kids are perfectly behaved or not.
BUT, she was feeling bad about how they'd behaved, because she's a mother and wants her kids to act right. As most of us do. At any rate, everyone commiserated with her, and all was good. 'Til we got to the kicker comment, which I am only going to paraphrase here.
A friend of hers said that yeah, some kids behave well in public, and that's partly genetics because some kids are laid back, but the rest of it is that their parents scare them into submission and since she won't threaten her children, and because they're bright, inquisitive snowflakes they're not perfectly behaved.
And then, the kicker: "Whenever I babysit a really laid back child and watch my own children run circles around him/her, I secretly think to myself, 'We know whose's going to survive if it came to survival of the fittest.'"
Fuck the what? Really? Being bratty is now equivalent to being fitter than a well-behaved child?
I'll be honest, I backed away slowly at that point, mainly 'cause I didn't want to drama up my friend's status by verbally bitch-slapping this chick into next Tuesday. 'Cause my children are the ones who are usually very well-behaved in public (they're the ones staring in bemusement at the little hellions), and it's not because I beat them at home or scare them into submission, it's because I have taught them that there are other people in this world, and they need to have consideration for them.**
Admittedly, it is probably not in my kids' nature to climb displays or run up and down the aisles. But that doesn't mean they're unfit for survival; it means they're going to stand back and watch while someone else's "high-energy" child runs across the freeway; they'll be able to tell the police which 18-wheeler hit the snowflake first. Impulsiveness isn't typically a good trait to encourage, y'know.
I can't say this is new, either. It's a self-serving sort of thing I've seen again and again from parents who lack any desire to guide their children (which is what discipline is, thankyouverymuch). They don't want to crush their child's spirit, they will say, implying that those of us who shush our kids when they start shrieking in the grocery store are doing just that. Their kid just has a lot of energy, claiming of course that this is the natural state of things and it's ridiculous to channel that energy into acceptable paths (anyone who has seen the whirling dervishes the invitation to dance turns my children into knows they have plenty of desire for motion). There are a lot of people out there, it seems, who want to embrace parental laziness as a virtue--I think you see this most commonly in potty training, where it's often put off until the child trains himself, likely out of disgust--and while believe me I understand the desire to think you're doing what's best for little Bess and Jimmy, the truth is no child is being done a favor by not being prepared to function in society.
**By the by, I am not saying that my kids are perfect angels. They're not. Their latest thing is to refuse to sit and stay sitting while in a restaurant. Damned if I know where this came from. They'll pop up and come to me for a hug or a kiss or a squeeze of the baby, and they'll get sent right back to their seat.