My mum didn't rule us with an iron rod but we knew how far to push the line and there was never an excuse for us to run riot in public, to swear, to scream and shout and have tantrums and any other unattractive behaviours.
It's only now I look back from an adult's perspective that I realise what a bloody good job our mum did bringing us up because if it had been left to our dad, we wouldn't have half the social graces we do have considering as a father, he was neither use nor ornament and placed the pub in a far higher regard than he ever did his wife or children.
I am proud to say I have taken after my mum. I know without a shadow of a doubt that one day I want to be a mum and there is no way on this earth my children will grow up without knowing what respect and manners and general decency are. I don't take bad behaviour from my horse or dog so there is no way I'll take it from my own child. My horse is about the only one on the yard well mannered enough to stand back and wait for me to bring her food to her rather than rush at me and grab the bucket, she may only be a horse but she knows what the word 'stand!' means. The same goes for my dog, he sits and waits for his food and even if I call him away from it, he will come to me. Both of them have been taught manners through firm but fair handling so certainly don't do it out of fear.
So imagine my despair at walking past two little girls last week, one of about four and the other of between seven and ten. The younger one walking down the road and flicking the V at any passing traffic and the older one lecturing her by saying "For fucks sake will you stop fucking doing that! I don't want the fucking scum on us again."
I have no idea why but I was shocked. I was also quite sad as these two were out in nothing more than jeans/leggings and t-shirt tops at 8pm at night, walking down a path that is near a main road and making their way to a dark and quiet park that is fairly empty after about 7pm. It was drizzly and cold and neither had anything to protect them from the cold or damp. Both of them looked like little street urchins but clearly were used to being dragged up and it looked like as long as they were out of their mother's way, she couldn't care less where they were or who they were with.
A four year old should be innocent. They shouldn't know what swearing is let alone what the V sign is. Most of all neither of them should have been walking down a main road at that time of night and turning in to a park that is very often empty of the general public after about 7pm in the Winter months.
I know people that would give their all to be blessed with a child and for whatever reason, can't have them. I've been told there is a risk I either won't be able to have children or will certainly have to be careful because at just under 5ft and a hipbone-to-hipbone span of 11 inches there is not much of me at all and my skeleton is petite and dainty so I've been told that there is no way they'd leave me to give birth naturally as in all likelihood, the baby would end up starved of oxygen and all manner of complications.
Clearly there is a woman out there who has managed to have at least two children and doesn't give enough of a toss about them to even let them out with a coat each. Their faces weren't child-like, they were hard and looked like they'd seen enough of life to tell them they needn't bother getting out of the pit they'd been born in to. As harsh as it sounds you just know in a few years time they are going to be pushing out the next generation of yobs and thugs.
When I see things like this it makes me wish that contraception was pumped in to the water system and an exam taken before you are allowed to reproduce.