Colleen Figg

Backseat baby horror

2008-03-07 08:43

Colleen Figg

Stories about babies or toddlers being left in the car in shopping centres and at gambling establishments often pop up in the news. Parents or caretakers of these children seemingly have no qualms whatsoever about leaving them there while they go off and enjoy themselves.

I've spoken to security personnel at casinos about this too and they report that this trend is very common. Some parents put their sleeping children in the car and go to the casino, leaving the children in the car without waking them so that when the child wakes up his first feeling is terror and a horrible sense of abandonment.

His second feeling must be fear that something may have happened to mom and dad, and his third panic as he realises he is truly alone with no idea how to get hold of his parents. Considering that these people are responsible for his wellbeing I find it impossible to actually, truly understand what drives them to leave a small child alone in a car.

When I was growing up we lived quite close to a poor white area and often picked up very young children walking home after the drive-in shows. My father would take them straight to their front doors worrying that they were cold and alone, but actually he need not have bothered because none of the parents ever appeared to thank him, or to welcome their child home. Possibly the parents never knew the children were gone in the first place but the most likely scenario is that they simply did not care.

Give and take

Then you get the poor little rich kids who feel put upon and sorry for themselves because their caring, involved, thoughtful and loving parents expect some sort of give and take in the household, who baulk at picking up their washing and putting it in the wash.

These sorts mewl for independence and the right to self determination, the right to lounge around smoking on their parents' couch and sitting on Mxit 'til all hours of the night. They do not wish to be told what to do, or made to account for their whereabouts and will even give up their privileged private school education in their bid for "freedom".

Their parents run up and down, moving the goalposts, trying to understand and accommodate and at the end of it all still get given the finger; left to question their parenting, their entire lives, really, while the little sods are completely impervious to the existential crisis brought about by their own selfishness.

Methinks we should have a house swap scenario for these rich ungrateful types, send them to live in South Hills or Moffat View, where those lonely barely clothed children walked the dark streets and got into cars with strangers (some well meaning, some not) and got taken home eventually to a house filled with vast, profound indifference and the sounds of drunken brawling.

Send your comments to Colleen.

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