Oh, stop it, everyone who’s saying, Kids aren’t monsters! How can you talk about those sweet wittle wee ums that way?
This might be a surprising statement coming from me, who recently waxed rhapsodic on mommy ‘hood and the legendary lore of childhood. But what I was hoping to do with those thoughts is encourage a focus on the good parts, not suggest the bad never happen.
There are days–at least parts of them–when my own two wovely wittle wee ums behave like monsters. My six year old gets giddy, which is all well and good until you need to get her to the bus and she is whooping and hollering with glee that is an exact mirror–in OPPOSITE LAND, that is–of the expression on my face. And sometimes my almost four year old gets hungry ONE HUNDRED times a day, acting every single one of those times as if he is starving, even though I just served him fruit/nuts/cheese/mini crackers five seconds ago.
These behaviors really aren’t that bad as things go, I guess. Maybe only bordering on monstrous–depending on how much writing I’m trying to get done between whoops and snacks.
But we all know a kid or two who really is a monster. A brat. An ill behaved wretch.
Have there always been kids like that? Even when children were supposed to be seen and not heard? Was seen and not heard meant to keep the monstrous in check–with a strap for when the whooping got too loud NOT to be heard?
I would love to read a historical account of brattiness. But till I find one, here’s a piece that discusses what to do when a monstrous child shows up at your house for a play date. And here’s another that lays it on the line about a certain privileged sector which is perhaps uniquely producing monsters.
There’s even a paragraph about a new subset of bullies that targets kids who don’t wear Dolce & Gabbana.
See? Kids are monsters.
Maybe we all are at heart till society steps in to channel us and smooth our rough edges.
The problem today is a false self esteem movement has told us that those same wittle wee ums will develop lifelong self esteem issues if we criticize them. You can’t say, Don’t do that, you have to say, Please do x.
I’m gonna let out a good old-fashioned fooey. If I see my kid doing something mean, or dangerous, or just hopelessly spoiled, s/he needs to know how I feel about that. That’s not going to cause bad self esteem. The opposite: good self esteem arises from knowing deeply who you are.
It’s up to us parents to curb monstrous tendencies with discipline and, perhaps most importantly, recognition.
When they act monstrously, admit it, then stop them.
And I promise. One day they’ll all be big non-monsters with good self esteem.