Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Negotiations

I am not a mom, and I don't claim to know what I am talking about when it comes to parenting, but there are certain things that seem to be...well, let's just say there are things that I would do differently. Here's an interesting patron story for ya! First let me tell you that we have a nice little playground in the yard of our library. To get to the playground from the library, you have to cross the fairly busy parking lot. It's a recent addition to the grounds, and very popular!

A boy comes racing into the library and up to my desk looking all sweaty and out of breath.

Little Boy: Do you know where my mom is?
Real Librarian: Uh, no, but I can help you find her. Have you been playing outside on the playground?
LB: Yeah.
RL: How old are you?
LB: I'm 6!

This means, that this little six year old was playing outside on a public playground by himself with NO supervision. I'm sorry, this seems wrong to me. Now, in my po-dunky little town where I grew up in North Dakota, parents let this happen...or they used to when I was a kid. That's because the town had 400 people and everyone knew everyone, and trusted their neighbors. But, times have changed, and this is a pretty big city.

So, I take the little boy by the hand and we start to walk through the library to find his mom. We find her nestled into a catalog computer looking up books.

LB: MOM!!!
Mom: (in a casual tone) Oh, there you are.
RL: Excuse me, ma'am, but children seven and under have to stay with their parents at all times. It's library policy.
LB: But I do things by myself all the time!
M: It's just that he's a good negotiator.
RL: Excuse me?
M: He said that if anyone came up to him while he was playing he would run into the library.

I about fell over. These are the kinds of negotiations you are making with your 6 year old?!?! I know libraries have this air of safety and all that to them, but seriously, we are a PUBLIC place...not a SAFE place. Meaning ANYONE can use our facilities. Use your imagination here. Your 6 year old should not be hanging out on a public playground ALONE.

I mean, I can see saying "if you eat your veggies, I'll let you watch 30 minutes of TV," but allowing this to happen just seems...wrong.

I just told her again that children 7 and under needed to stay with their parents at all times. (And I told her AGAIN 10 minutes later when the kid came back to my desk saying his mom said he could get on the computer while she looked up books. Seriously - what does AT ALL TIMES mean to you??)

I guess I just have to let stuff like that go, because in the end, it really isn't any of my business.

2 comments:

kaitlin said...

I really wonder about some parents these days.

Stephanie said...

I don't even let my 10 and 8 year olds do things alone.........geesh.