Viral Video That’s Supposed To ‘Change The Way You Parent’ Isn’t Changing Anything

I’m a sucker for public service announcements – I admit it. I am the person crying during the Humane Society commercials. Basically any public service announcement usually gets me – hook line and sinker. I finally found one that doesn’t. It’s called “Children see. Children do.” Let’s see what you think about it:

I don’t get it. It just seems to be a bunch of horrible people being horrible. It’s not changing the way I parent at all, because I am not a horrible person. I don’t throw beer bottles in the street, or scream at strangers or throw up on the sidewalk. Why is that woman throwing up on the sidewalk? That confused the heck out of me.

I actually found the adult behavior just as disturbing as the children mimicking it. Is this a PSA reminding us not to be bad parents, or just reminding us not to be horrible people in general? The Huffpost says, “The video, created by True Activist, shows kids mimicking common adult behavior — smoking, littering, yelling at other drivers.” Is this common adult behavior? I’m going to go with, no. I don’t know any adults who throw rocks at puppies. Not one.

I think rather than aiming this at parents and calling it “Children see. Children do,” it should have been called, “Don’t be a jerk, jerk.” Underneath the video on the YouTube page it says, “This will change you in exactly 60 seconds.” This whole trend of “this is going to BLOW YOUR MIND” video marketing has got to stop. Enough is enough. I love exaggerating and hyperbole – but everyone is going batshit crazy.

(photo: YouTube)

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You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • pixie

    Yeah, I don’t get it, either. I don’t think it’s that common for someone to stomp out their cigarette in a public building. That poor woman throwing up could have been sick or reacting to something suddenly and not been able to get to a bathroom.

    Overall, no I don’t think these are common behaviours. Do they happen? Yes, especially the racism and domestic violence as the most worrying, but I’m with you, Maria, this didn’t change me at all.

    • Sri

      I’ve seen some shit. I used to work retail. People telling their kids that they were better than me and would go to college and get a good career because they’re smart, not like me, and then just dropping their shit on the floor and walking away were pretty mild. I once had a lady smear her toddler’s shitty diaper all over the changing room because when she asked me where the “private nursing room” was, I told her that we unfortunately didn’t have one, but we have a lounge in a room attached to the ladies’ room, we have the changing rooms, which unfortunately don’t have comfy chairs like the lounge but they’re not a bathroom, or we have comfy chairs on the sales floor, which aren’t private, but are comfy and not a bathroom. I’ve seen mothers teaching their toddlers to steal. All of these people were teaching their kids horrible lessons.

      All of these people were assholes, though, and it’s not like they’re going to look at this ad and change their behavior. The fact that they don’t see anything wrong with their behavior in the first place is what makes them assholes.

    • Rachel Sea

      Working with the public will sometimes make you wonder how we survived this long as a species – and sometimes wish we hadn’t.

    • pixie

      Oh, I’ll agree with that, I’ve worked retail, too. But I like to think that those people are in the minority.

    • Sri

      Oh, totally. I’ve had more good customers than bad. I wasn’t arguing the rarity of the behaviors as much as I was agreeing that those of us who aren’t assholes won’t change while trying to add that people who are assholes won’t change, either. I wasn’t really clear on that.

    • pixie

      Lol no worries, I got that.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      THANK YOU!!!
      Working in retail has made me fear for the survival of the human race.
      I think every person over 18 should have to work a month in retail just to see how their behaviour can really hurt someone.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      same, it’s the discrimination I worry about the most.
      Not just racism but any type of discrimination.

      More than once I’ve had to stop my stepson when he describes something as “retarded”. I’m not making excuses, he’s a sweet young kid, he’s 13, but it seems to be the slang now for something stupid.

      Thankfully he’s stopped altogether, but I do see and hear it a lot in kids his age, all young teens, something dumb isn’t “stupid”, but “spastic” or “retarded”.

      It’s such a pity that the slang has gotten so much more offensive, especially the homophobic ones. supposedly if something is “gay” that means bad now.

      I know I sound like an auld wan, but it seems to be the way it’s going now.

    • pixie

      I get that. I hear “gay” a lot, and have heard it quite a bit since I was in high school (I’m 23) and more and more. I cringe whenever my boyfriend and his friends get together and don’t check their language. They’re good people, not homophobic by any means, but get a group of loud young males together, give them some beer and games, and a lot of things come out of their mouths. Thankfully they don’t say anything like that in public.

      I have no idea what I’d do if I heard my 11 year old cousin say something was “gay” (I mean, apart from if she was telling me that one of her friends was actually gay or lesbian). I make sure not to say anything like that around her, and I don’t think I’ve even ever accidentally sworn in front of her (which is a miracle, because I’ve driven her places and I can get quite creative with my language when other drivers piss me off. Not where the other drivers can hear me, though).

  • keelhaulrose

    I honestly think I was more changed the first time my adorable 16 month old dropped my favorite four-letter word on me. That made me realize the little things she was picking up from me.
    To me this says “if you’re an asshole, you’re probably raising an asshole”. I’m not an asshole (I think), therefore I really can’t connect to this.

  • candyvines

    That lady booting on the sidewalk is probably just pregnant. Kids shouldn’t get pregnant!

  • brebay

    The only place I truly set a bad example is when I’m driving. Didn’t even realize I was doing it until one day my 4-year-old yelled at a guy going the speed limit who happened to pass us in another lane: “Where’s the damn fire?!” Oops. But seriously, I was a lot more jerky before I had kids. You give up the right to shoot your mouth off to strangers for being assholes in public when you have little people watching you. I might still bark at someone for parking in a handicapped space or cutting a line when I’m alone, but I don’t in front of my sons. Attitude+testosterone = I can’t afford bail.

    • Armchair Observer

      This. When I was a toddler, I used to spend a ton of time with my (not exactly cuddly, but generally appropriate) grandmother. My mom freaked when I started saying ‘gawd dam*it’ in the car and while sitting in the seat in the grocery cart. My grandmother’s excuse for overusing that particular invective while driving? Oh, I’m just asking God to ‘dam*’ something. Totally acceptable, right? ;-) Still told as a funny story at family functions these many decades later…

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      i like you lol.

      I do have a temper, my mother calls it my “simmer”. it takes a LOT over a LONG time to piss me off but when it does you run for the freakin hills.

      In my defence, it’s usually over some idiot who decides to tell me- you’re only a step-parent, you’re not a real parent. or who makes a point to bully my kids into admitting that yes, I’m their stepmom, not their real mom. then when I see the (usually auld biddy) person’s face get that smug look on their face, that’s when I tend to snap.

  • TwentiSomething Mom

    I don’t think its necessarily life changing but might make you stop and think of some of your own bad habits and reflect on how it can affect your kids. Whether its being impatient, not being considerate to others, drinking too much in their presence, cursing or having a negative attitude- your kids are watching and may pick up those same behaviors as well.

  • Tinyfaeri

    If you don’t understand exaggerating to make a point, or using a provocative title or tagline to get people to read or view what you’re putting out, I’m a little more worried about some of the posts on here than I was before.

    • brebay

      The thing is, just like the child abuse PSAs, the people who really need to get the message of this will be oblivious to it. No one thinks they abuse their child; they genuinely believe they’re “disciplining,” and parents who do this crap in public don’t think they’re jerks, because they truly believe that the world revolves around them.

    • Tinyfaeri

      I dunno, before we had kids we lived in CO. They play PSAs on Shaken Baby Syndrome every 5 seconds – the only days I didn’t hear or see one were days where I didn’t watch any TV, listen to any radio or drive anywhere. I am now completely paranoid that a light breeze can damage a baby’s brain.

      That said, I’d imagine the goal of this PSA is the goal of any PSA – to make people think. If it does that for one person, I would imagine they feel they have accomplished their goal.

  • SarahJesness

    I once threw up on a sidewalk in front of some kids. In my defense, I was VERY ill and trying to get myself home.

  • brebay

    Come on, Maria, you throw beer bottles in the street sometimes…

  • Sara Niles

    Monkey see-Monkey do

  • Katherine Handcock

    Yeah, I think this would have been much more effective if it had used more subtle things – sneering at the next-door neighbour, or one-upping your best friend, that kind of thing. I know there are things I do that my kids pick up (or will pick up) that will really reveal something not so nice about me, but they’re not going to be me screaming with road rage. They’re things like when my son says, “I’ve had it with this!” in a tone that sounds way too familiar.

    • brebay

      That would be better. One-upping friends is a really hard one for kids anyway. They all want to be “popular” but it’s tricky for them to understand that you don’t get that by convincing everyone how great you are; we want to be friends with people who make us feel great about who WE are.

  • Crusty Socks

    The best part was the asian dry cleaner. All they needed was the black drug dealer and hispanic landscaper to complete the troll.

  • Kay_Sue

    I wouldn’t say that it was life-changing, but it did make me pause for a moment and go, “what actions have I taken today that I would not want my kids to emulate”.

    Today, the answer is none, but tomorrow, the answer might be different. It’s hyperbole, and I’m getting tired of the viral videos too, but…if that was what they were trying to achieve, they got me, I have to say.

  • Muggle

    The only worthwhile shots in the whole clip would have been the guy yelling at the Asian dry cleaner, or the guy beating his wife. I think the ad was trying to go with too many messages all at once, and then the message wound up being “don’t be an anti-social asshole.”

    Also I think the woman puking on the sidewalk was supposed to be drunk or something, but no lie, when I was 18 I was really sick and stone-cold sober when I wound up puking in the bushes outside some apartments on the way back to my dorm in college.

    • pixie

      Yeah, I kind of figured that she was supposed to be drunk, but it’s so unclear that she is. I’ve known people who were completely sober but felt very sick for whatever reason and didn’t make it to a bathroom or trashcan soon enough. I puke when I have an allergic reaction and my first bad reaction (at 13) my parents and I were out for a walk, and though we’d only got the the end of our street and started hurrying back to our house when I felt my throat close, I ended up puking on a neighbour’s front lawn/garden while they were sitting out on their front porch (thankfully they were decent people and concerned about me and weren’t even mad when we apologized and continued hurrying home). An adult puking doesn’t mean they’re drunk.

      And I definitely agree that there were far too many messages at once.

  • Valerie

    My son told his daycare teachers you could only call someone stupid if they are a bad driver. I think they thought I would be ashamed when they told me but really I was just thanking goddess he didn’t add “douche”.

  • Harriet Meadow

    Every time I see that a video is labeled “THIS WILL CHANGE YOU” or something to that effect, I don’t watch it. Because they’re ALWAYS disappointing.

    • Harriet Meadow

      Also, I freaking hate videos. My computer is really slow and it takes forever to watch a video (plus I’m a much faster reader than I am a watcher anyway). So if there’s an interesting-looking headline but I click on it and it’s a video (goddammit, upworthy), that shit gets x-ed out immediately.

  • Kresaera

    I cringe to think about what my kids pick up from me when I think they aren’t watching or aren’t in the room. My husband and I have gotten into a couple fights that probably would have been better done in the privacy of our car or our bedroom. I don’t do anything NEAR what goes on in this video though, and it didn’t really make me want to change my parenting any more than I already knew I should.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      THANK YOU for admitting that couples fight!!!
      Anytime we have a little tiff the kids act horrified because according to them, we never fight…we do of course, I don’t think you’re human if you don’t have one or two good bust ups a year lol, we just wait til they’ve gone back to their mother’s house.

      Also gives us a good chance to think up awesome comebacks! =P

  • gothicgaelicgirl

    Yeah I hate this…
    It’s far too judgey for my taste.

    Plus I firmly believe there is no “right” way to parent a child. Everyone has their own methods.
    What gives the ad makers the right to say “this is how NOT to raise a little asshole”

  • jsterling93

    The people in this video are so terrible that I am sure the people like them in the real world would not be moved by these images. Also I don’t really understand the vomiting one. You know that is typically a reaction people can’t control. I mean I once stood on a side walk throwing up into my purse because I got ill one a 20 block walk back to my hotel.

  • rrlo

    Don’t scream at your infant, yell at your dry cleaners, punch your wife and throw garbage everywhere because your kids are watching? I can think of MANY better reasons not to do those things… This PSA is, IMO, completely useless.

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