Who needs the zoo? Grocery shopping is all you really need to do if you are hoping to observe unique and unusual sights. As a mom, I shop regularly so I am often treated with delightful exhibitions of parent-child interactions that truly bewilder, amuse, and provide food for thought.

My kids are not grown so I hesitate to critique others but I just can’t resist wondering what’s going to happen to some of these children I see– ones with indulgent parents who don’t tell their children to sit in the cart, not open food containers before they pay for them, or use full sentences to express their desires rather than grunts or yells. It’s crazy–or crazy-making.

Crazy-making is a term used in counseling to describe what happens when someone who has been wronged is led to believe by the actions and denial of those around them that the wrong didn’t actually happen. Even though common sense says they were wronged, the people around them pretend that it isn’t a problem and the individual wronged begins to doubt their perception of reality–they start to feel like they are crazy. Hence the term, crazy-making.

What are these children without boundaries learning? Their parents are creating a false reality for them. They live in a world where you stand in the cart if you want to, you eat whatever you want when you want to, and you yell for what you want and someone else will try their best to figure our what you are saying. Their whole reality is really a lie. There ARE rules and there IS such a thing as private property. I suppose they will learn these lessons somewhere but they won’t have many friends until they do–neither will they be very happy until they understand these truths. So the irony is that these indulgent parents are really being selfish…putting off the discomfort of challenging their children’s bad behavior and giving them a false sense of reality.

I suppose the most frightful possibility is that they won’t learn these lessons. They won’t learn to sit still–so they will fall behind academically or be mis-diagnosed with some developmental delay. They won’t learn to respect others and their property so they will be unpopular with other children. And as an adult? What do we call someone who acts according to a false reality? Foolish at best, crazy at worst. Crazy in the making.