The babysitter continues to appear at gan without the baby in tow. Today I mentioned to her that it was against the law to leave a child under six alone in the house. “What, for five minutes, asleep in the crib?” She said that the mother knows about it (that makes it all right then, no?) I said that it was nevertheless illegal and there could be a fire. She responded in typical Israeli fashion, “Kacha gidalnu et kol hayeladim” (that is how we raised all the children). Well, they’re fine, aren’t they?
Guess I’ll keep my mouth shut next time. I will have to remember this incident if that boy ever invites my son over to play.
The conversation reminded me of a lecture by a psychologist, who gave two explanations for why today’s parents have such a hard time. First, our parents knew what was right, even when they were wrong, and they expected obedience from their children. We have lost that confidence and our children sense our confusion and react accordingly. Second, we have lost the close-knit community that helped keep our kids in line. In the old days if the neighbor would see a child doing something questionable, he would rebuke the child, who knew his parents were going to hear about it. Nowadays we value our privacy too much and even if people know what is going on, they are afraid to say anything. Parents get defensive.
Actually there was another incident today. My husband was at a store he frequents, sometimes with the children, and the storekeeper said that my young children were there the other day (including the “tinoket”–my youngest is close to three) and “put some things in their pockets”!! I am sure he is mistaken as my younger two have been home every afternoon this week, we live too far for them to even think about going there on their own, and I rarely even send the older kids to that store. I haven’t been there myself in months. I told my husband he should have called me immediately so I could get the whole story, and also given the storekeeper our number so we could be notified the next time he sees those children. Even when I know there is no basis, it sure doesn’t feel good to have one’s children accused of shoplifting. But if my kids are doing something wrong, I want to know about it.