Monday, December 2, 2013

Cracking Down on Disrespect

I had been preparing to write a short and simple post yesterday to share a photo of a parenting-related meme that's been making its way around Facebook:
When I re-posted this to my Facebook page a few days ago, I commented that I'd tattoo these "rules" to the backs of my kids' eyelids if I could, and made a mental note to blog about it this weekend. (By the way--the "speech" quoted in the above photo was neither a speech nor was it written by Bill Gates. I figured as much, but I'd still do the tattooing.)

Well, life happened, and I didn't get to my blog yesterday. And anyway, what ended up going down between Bug (he recently turned six) and me this morning illustrates some of the sentiment quite nicely. Let's take a look at the email I shot off to my mom directly after school drop-off at 9:12 am, recounting the scenario:
"Mom, I just need you to tell me everything will be OK: Bug was being a BRAT in the car this morning; making annoying noises whenever I would talk (I was trying to tell Pie something). Bug got in a snit when I said I was going to stop taking, because I ruined his fun (i.e. if I didn't talk, he couldn't make noises over me). When I tried to talk to Pie again, Bug started with the noises again, so I pulled the car over and got out and grabbed his collar and called him a brat and said "you cannot treat people like this." He started crying and said, "but I WANT TO" (which was SO SPOILED sounding). So I just got back in the car to drive through the dropoff line at school. Bug pulled himself together, but then TRIPPED and FELL as he got out of the car.
I feel SO HORRIBLE. I sent an email to his teacher to tell her what had happened in case Bug seemed upset. I'm thinking he'll probably just get over it and get on with his day, but I still feel HORRIBLE that he was crying and that he tripped. But I really shouldn't feel horrible because he was being a brat, right? What do I do?"

Prickly Grandma's responses came pretty quickly:
"You did the RIGHT thing!!!!!"
"That kind of behavior CAN NOT be tolerated; so your reaction was RIGHT ON!  Of course it’s too bad that he tripped and fell, but he didn’t  (obviously) need coddling by his mother. Keep up the non-tolerance and you will eventually see results!!"

"You are doing the world a favor by insisting that your boys behave properly!!!!!"

Sigh. The touchy-feely parenting trends of our generation have convinced me and many, many other parents that any "cracking down, " molding of, or even mere guiding our children's behavior is tantamount to breaking their spirits, denying their status as a human being with equal rights, or worse. The parenting experts have taught us to question, or just outright distrust our instincts and common sense. But like "Bill Gates" implies above, would this kind of entitled, annoying behavior be tolerated between adults and/or peers in the real world? Hell no. Like I've told Bug many times, my job is to teach him how to be a good grown-up. 

That's what I'm trying to do. Why can't we all just be on the same page?


  1. Your children's friend's parents, teachers, and future spouses will thank you for being the kind of parent who cares enough to be a meanie when the situation calls for it..

  2. i know what you mean about touchy feely parenting trends making you second guess every time to you try and instill some politeness and common decency into your child. I think its important that kids learn that they aren't the centre of the universe and being thoughtful and ind isn't just about not hitting another kid, its also about allowing parents to have a conversation without butting in, or not asking Mum to get your drink thats right in front of you. It totally sucks that he tripped, but it wasn't like you pushed him. He would still have tripped even if you hadn't had an altercation. Maybe the fact he did trip will help him remember the conversation ;-) Hugs to you missus.