I recently left a playgroup early because I was utterly appalled by some mother/child behavior. The spring anoles were active, and all the kids were interested in the little green chameleons. In particular, some older boys, about 5, were actively trying to catch them. When I warned them that catching a lizard can make it drop its tail, which may or may not grow back, they were even more serious about their hunt, and one even said he wanted to pull off the lizard's tail himself. Which was bad enough. But their moms just let them try.
I said, "Do we really want them hurting animals?"
And one of the moms, a seasoned pro with 3 kids, said, "That's just what boys do."
My mental response was, "Yeah, the serial killers do that, and their weak and permissive moms let them," but I held my tongue and called my mom to make lunch plans instead. It's amazing to me that these moms didn't step up to the responsibility of explaining to their children that while it's great to like animals and observe their behavior, that it is unkind to antagonize and maim them. They were just too busy talking to upset their children by instilling character in them by stopping their cruel game.
Not only were they ignorant of the lizard in question, which one mom call an iguana, but they did not respond to new knowledge by passing it on to their kids. They could have had a teaching moment-- tell us more about the lizard, what does it eat, what is it doing-- but instead, they ignored their kids and allowed them to chase, capture, stomp, and otherwise disrespect living creatures.
No wonder the world is full of people torturing cats, shooting up schools, and flicking other drivers off as they run stop signs. I blame parenting. There, I've said it. Now step up and parent your stupid kid. Learn, adapt, pick up a book, put down your latte and interact. Karma's ugly, and you're going to hate seeing him on C.O.P.S. in a few years.