Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Parental Rules

As I was filling the car with gas today, I saw a young family leave the mini mart attached to the gas station, the mom holding their infant daughter and the dad holding the infant carseat. I guess that is what made me notice them and continue watching. It seemed odd that they took the seat into the mini mart. I mean, how long were they in there? I watched them get in the car, and instead of buckling the seat in, the dad tossed it in the back, and the mom climbed in holding the infant. Then, they drove off.

I know I sound naive, but it shocked me. It shocks me that in this day and age, people don't always buckle up their kids. I couldn't help but continue to stare at them as they pulled out of the parking lot. I have done a post about the importance my mother placed on accepting the consequences to your actions. Well, buckling up was one of the rules my dad was very strict about. Actually, that was one both mom and dad were hardcore about. But I think it probably orginated from my dad. He was a police officer a good portion of my young life, and I can still hear him saying, "I've seen too many dead kids in the road....." If I was ever riding with a friend's family anywhere, my mother would talk to their mother and drive home the point that I must have a seat belt. When I was not very old, I remember my mother telling me I must make sure I got a seat belt, if for some reason there were not enough, I was to make sure I was one of the people who got one. Sounds somewhat cold, I know, but my mother is the orginal animal mother, fierce in the protection and safety of her young. When my younger sister came along, I remember a few times she would throw a fit as a toddler because she didn't want to get in her seat. My parents would sit calmly in the driveway and wait for her to finish. The car's engine didn't turn over till she stopped and got strapped in. As a teenager, I broke the rule once. (yes, I was a *good girl* {until I wasn't anyway} who took many of my parent's rules seriously) Honestly, when I got a ride home with no seat belt, I could only think of two things: 1. Please god don't let us happen to pass my parents on the street and 2. If we do get into an accident, I better die, cause I don't want to have to tell them I wasn't wearing a belt.

Interestingly enough, after I met Mr. g, I saw that almost none of his family wore seat belts. Including him. When we started dating, his brother had a two year old, and brother-in-law and sister-in-law would often not put son in a seat for the drive home if he fell asleep wherever we were at. I remember going places with them, and being horribly uncomfortable at the sight of their son in mommy's lap. When their son was 5, they had another child, and I have never witnessed that behavior from them again, from that time on. I have no idea what caused the shift. Mr. g wears his now too, though that was directly from my influence. I never nagged or pushed, but he knew how I felt about it. I use to tease him that I was going to take him to my parents and make my dad give him the "dead kids on the street" talk. Within probably a year of our dating, he had picked up the habit of always buckling up, thank goodness. I *think* most of his family does it now too. I know his mom still doesn't. However, knowing and having seen his family in action, I do worry if I ever have a living child at home, will I ever really want to let my child go somewhere with them? I could do a whole other post on my in-laws and their lack of common sense for things that I think should be obvious. The good news is they know me, and probably would always buckle my child up for fear of suffering my wrath if I found out they didn't.

I don't get the no seat belt thing. You can't protect your child from so many things in this world. Why not do the simple and easy things you can to keep them safe? It's no hassle, it doesn't cost more, it doesn't hurt to buckle them up.

These were all the things that ran through my mind this afternoon. And, may I ask permission from Niobe to borrow from her? I love how she ends many of her posts with questions, and I love to read the answers. So I am going to be a copycat today, and end with this: What rule or rules do you remember being drilled into your head? Do you agree with them, or now that you are an adult, think your parents were crazy?


Lori said...

Well, I am with you on the seatbelt thing that's for sure. I don't know if you have ever gone to the Real Age site where you can fill out a questionnaire to compute your "real age", but one of the things it asks you is if you wear a seatbelt and if you do so every single time you get in a car. Apparently, it has something to do with your life expectancy (duh!)

The one that popped into my mind when reading this was my parent's favorite statement that "nothing good ever happens after midnight."(Hence, my curfew). And even though I knew they were wrong, I also understood their point. When you are a teenager, not much good does happen after midnight.

niobe said...

My parents didn't really have many rules. They were very much hands-off and I was always surprised to find that other kids had all sorts of rules to follow.

In our family, I was the one who enforced the seatbelt rule. In fact, I remember being very disturbed that there were no seatbelts on the school bus.

Kristen said...

I'm a big seatbelt advocate. DH rarely wears one unless I am in the car and tell him to buckle up. It makes me so nervous. Even if you are a good driver, you can't control other people who are on the road. I would've stared at that couple too.

I think the only rules my parents really drilled into me were the usual (1) say No to drugs and (2) don't have unprotected sex (or sex at all for that matter). My mom got pregnant with my brother at 17 so she came down really hard on me about dating/sex. Even though I was a good girl and didn't lose my virginity until 17, she still had an iron fist about it.

Monica said...

Oh that just chaps me!!! When I was a kid I can remember pleading with my father to wear a seatbelt. Finally when I was a teenager they began an aggressive ad campaign about how seatbelts save lives.

I've posted before that my parents were always early for appts. and that being late is one of the most awful things you could be. I always arrive early for things. That is until I got a baby. Now I'm lucky to show up at all.

Carole said...

That's so awful that they didn't put the baby in a car seat. Makes you wonder why they even had it.

Seat belts was one of my mom's biggest things. She still nags my brother about this even though he's grown and on his own.