Thursday, November 17, 2005

Perspective

Today I will take a small diversion from politics to discuss people. Although I'm sure it could relate to politics.

My daughter had a Drs. appointment this morning and I ended up taking all 4 of my kids with me. I will not pretend that my kids are perfect by any stretch of the means. My oldest daughter is quiet and well-behaved but my other 3 are normal children. But it always amazes me how other parents seem to be in denial and have interesting perspectives on childrens' behavior.

My youngest son that I have told you about is almost 6 yrs. old. He was coloring and playing with the toys in the waiting room when he began to be harassed by a bully. The kid was younger than him but clearly aggressive. He took my son's stuffed animal away, hit him numerous times and was trying to take over whatever toy my son was playing with. My son didn't hit back but he also didn't lay down and let the kid walk over him. He stared him down and retrieved his stuffed animal and didn't let him take it back although the kid tried numerous times. He also didn't back off on whatever toy he was playing with when the kid tried to bully him away. As you can imagine I was getting more and more irritated as I watched this and the other boy's mother was completely oblivious. This is one of my huge pet peeves. Parents who have children that are bullies usually appear to be completely oblivious to what their children are doing. Finally I just pulled my son aside and told him to try to stay away from the other kid but to no avail because the kid kept following him. Then the mother says real loudly (to no one in particular) laughingly that these 2 boys have been in a power struggle all morning. I'm sitting there incredulous. Any objective person would not have described the scenario that way. My older 3 children were outraged that this kid was being a bully towards their younger brother. My oldest son was about ready to intervene. I am a very transparent person so people can usually tell what I'm thinking. It had to be obvious that I was not happy and did not agree with this lady's assessment. We were saved by the bell so to speak when the nurse called my daughter's name and we left the waiting room.

Do I have a point to this story? I guess it would be that parents in denial irritate me. And that it seems our culture is accepting bad and irresponsible behavior more and more and justifying it. I don't think that is good for the kids and for society in general.

18 comments:

Joia said...

That whole "it takes a village" mentality seems to give a lot of parents permission to just let their kids run wild and work out their differences with peers without adult interference. While I agree that many times kids need to solve problems themselves, that's when we're talking about siblings or friends in a controlled setting. Letting your kid beat up on some stranger's kid in the doctor's office is ridiculously negligent. Next time I'm coming with you and bringing my oldest to start his own "power struggle" with that little snot.

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I had to deal with lots of monster kids in my restaurant (drawing on table-cloths, annoying other diners etc) in San Fran which seems to be full of people who are total slaves to their kids. The kids seems to turn into bullies by practicing on bullying their parents.

Are you a saint, Miss C? I would not have allowed my self to get irritated but would have laid into the mother forthwith especially since most of these idiot parents seem to be too thick-skinned to pick up subtle cues. Grrr.

The Exile said...

I had a similar experience on Monday.

Before my daughter's cheerleading class started, she was playing with one of the girls. They played "eenie-meenie" to figure out which one would be the leader in "red light, green light. When my daughter won, the other little girl said she wasn't playing and ran off.

During class this little girl's moter's cell phone went off 3 times. Each time she went outside of the door that I was sitting next to and talked loudly. This door locked when it closed, so I had to let her in.

The first time I did it with a smirk. The second time I gave her a look of what I'm sure was utter contempt. The third time she rattled the door knob, I sat and looked at her for about 5 seconds before pointing to the door at the front of the room that was standing wide open the whole time.

She was shocked that I wouldn't wait on her! After all, she was obviously a very important person with a cell phone who had very important things to do. I, on the other hand, was doing nothing but watching my daughter, who was assuredly nowhere near as perfect as her own snotty little angel.

Like mother like daughter.

Oh, and I think that it's no coincidence that, out in the parking lot, I noticed a Kerry-Edwards sticker on her SUV.

I can't wait until next Monday.

Revka said...

Exile,
Great story/comparison, and the kerry sticker thing, i had to laugh, but what topped it off was she had an SUV.. ha@@

LMC,
Do I know about bullying! I agree with what you said totally.

Since my son has autism, and tries to talk, sometimes the kids just look at him wierd then walk away. He is big and tall. (Not fat),but stocky.. and he is strong. I don't think any kid would want to mess with him.
When he gets mad, woooosh, watch out. He let loose on my 6 year old, and it sounded like someone pounding on meat.

I agree, patrick, about parents who let the kids run them. It totally makes me sick. I don't get it. They have bought into all that psycho-babble, then their kids grow up and murder people when they don't get what they want.

our kids know that when we go out to eat they are to sit there and eat, not get up, throw food or bother other people. They know to say excuse me, or tap on the shoulder if they interupt a conversation. They aren't perfect, no kid is, but these are things we are teaching them. I can't stand it when I am talking with another adult and the child keeps interrupting like every 5 seconds and the parent lets them.

When you have 4 boys ages 6-1, you have to use spanking, and other types of discipline and you have to be consistent with boundaries.
Even when it isn't convenient.

If a child bullies, he needs to go and apologize to the victim. The bullies' parent needs to make him go do it.

Being a parent is a constant learning experience, and a lot of hard work believe me!!
That is why i get sick when i see a parent not address bad behavior.

My Kid's Mom said...

My youngest had been the victim of bullying for almost 2 years in a Catholic school. Not only were the other parents in denial, but so were the teachers and administrators. Your son did a good job in handling the situation - he stood up for himself yet he didn't stoop to the other kid's level of behavior.

Bullying is becoming so pervasive in our society - and yet, we have parents who won't discipline or spend time with their kids to teach them right from wrong.

"Power struggle" - yeah, right!

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

Rebecca, I'm not against spanking although the first time I spanked my son when I was a single parent, I was the one who cried.

But, in the end, the way to discipline kids is to discipline oneself. It took me a few years to figure that out. Parents with no self-disciplne raise monsters and bullies.

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

And, Exile, I took a look at your blog and can relate, having been a single parent. I love your new pre-amble".

"Comrades! We must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all."
(Nikita Khrushchev , February 25, 1956 20th Congress of the Communist Party)

"We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society."
(Hillary Clinton, 1993)

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Patrick: I am far from a saint but if we had been in the waiting room much longer I'm sure something would have been said or done :-).

Exile: I love the fact that the annoying mother had a kerry bumper sticker. How ironic.

Rebecca: I think that is the frustrating thing in that we spend a lot of time disciplining and guiding our children only to have them harassed by children who aren't.

My kid's mom: Thanks for agreeing that my son handled it well. I was pretty proud of him because he didn't cry or get upset and wasn't intimidated.

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

11 17 05

Great post Ms. Chatterbox! I got bullied as a kid and was miserable until one day I was pushed over the edge and let out all the agression I had ever had. It was not pretty. I am so happy your son maintained his composure and perspective and didn't get violent but didn't lose ground either. You have raised good children obviously. And because of the way he handled himself, I doubt that he will lose control like I did because he is addressing the issue head on and in his own way! Great!

Patrick is right; in SF those parents are so lame! Instead of saying: "Be quiet or else...", they say "Honey...that is not a good plan"! They are such namby pambys and yes slaves to their kids. SF has one of the lowest birth rates in the country, and a lot of families have moved from there because it is too expensive and too concrete jungle style for kids to be kids! When I see these namby pambys they are usually Yuppie women who are in their forties with young children and they try to pass their kids off on everyone else to babysit! It is as if they looked at having children as a commodity to be traded back and forth, rather than the miracle to love, teach and discipline that they are.

Great post! I am so happy all of us are sharing these experiences. Because I found later on that staying calm in the face of a bully and giving eye contact was the best way to handle them, less physically assaulting them!

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Mahndisa: Thanks for your comments. I struggled with getting picked on in school as well. That was one of the reasons I chose to homeschool at least in the early years to help my kids build their self-confidence. Thats why I was happy with how my son handled the situation.

Revka said...

finally figured the link stuff out. I was pasting in www. in front of the address, instead of just looking at how the google bar was, i figured the wrong way.
So, i did it right this time.
Got ya linked now!

now, i need to figure out pictures.

Eddie said...

What I can't stand most is parents who laugh at their children's rude behavior. I mean, my father's face would be turning red and I would have had the fear of God in me if I would have acted the way some of these kids do.

I pray that I one day learn patience so I can be a good parent, when I have kids. I still wonder how my parents ever raised five children without choking us.

When I worked at McD's the thing that annoyed me most was the oblivious mother sitting with her two year old in line, asking her 2 year old what they wanted, with five people waiting behind her, and that person thinking her two year old had the mental capability to make decisions! This use to happen ALL THE TIME. It is the parents responsibility to guide their children and be the leader.

watbull said...

I have a slightly different perspective. Had I not had GOOD parents, I could have been a bully. I, naturally, have a highly-aggressive personality. I can be brutish at times, particularly if I want things to go my way (which is... erm... always! *tee hee*). I can be blunt sometimes to the point of hurting someone else's feelings. These are my personal issues... issues that I recognize and am continually working to improve upon... thanks to my PARENTS and their DISCIPLINE.

My parents molded me in such a way that my aggressiveness never became bullying. They found other (positive) outlets for my aggressive behavior, rather than ignoring the behavior altogether. And, a swift slap on the rear when I got too far out of line obviously never killed me, either.

My aggressiveness is a double-edged sword, as well. I simply could not have had the patience that you did with that other child's mother. Your kid picks on my kid; I pick on YOU! *sigh* This is the kind of thing that gets me in trouble, of course.

Fear. That's what kept me in line. The fuzzy-wuzzy people around nowadays will tell you that it was wrong of my parents to instill fear in me. Fact is, though, had they not, I might have been one of those bullying; terrorizing; horrible children... the type with which we are all, no doubt, familiar. Fact is, my fear of consequences WORKED.

Oh! And, Lisa, if you happen to follow me here and read this: Picking on you and Chris doesn't count... I was entitled as the eldest sibling, after all.

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

11 18 05

Ha Watbull! I was the oldest too and did pick on my siblings, but not like a schoolyard bully!!!

Ms. Chatterbox: I forgot to tell you how much I LOVE that Bible verse on your sidebar. And I totally agree; faith is hoping!

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Eddie: It does take A LOT of patience to deal with kids and you do have to learn not to take everything so seriously. But guidance and discipline makes a difference in whether you have fairly normal good kid or a bully or a spoiled brat.

Watbull: Thanks for your comments. You make some great points. Aggressiveness is definitely a strengh and a weakness. I wish I could've been more aggressive with that kid or that kid's mom.

Mahndisa: Thanks for the comments about the verse.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Here's what I saw last night: my 85-year-old Dad wanted to go to Dennys. For whatever reason he likes that restaurant. While there with my brother and Dad's 91-year-old friend, I took my sights away from the table to to an adjacent table.

Here was a mother with a child who was screeching at the top of his lungs and alternately leaving the table. High pitched noises like that make me physically cringe and actually hurt my ears. The mother placed her child on Ignore Mode and intervened not at all in either making him be quiet, stay in his seat, pull the napkin down and throw it on the floor, pitch silverware into the aisle, screech further, and then continuously say "mama look, mama look" about 350 times.

The best part: the child ruins, the table, the servers pick up the items from the floor, food is strewn all over, the child seat is covered in food -- and the mother cleans up nothing. Absolutely nothing. She gets up, walks out, the child follows, screeching and starting to cry, and she leaves the table and surroundings a ridiculous mess. I looked further: she left no tip.

We can't blame the kids; we have to blame their utterly inane, do-nothing, brain-dead, inconsiderate, pig-headed parents.

The Exile said...

Better late than never, but the only good part of these idiotic parents putting up with the boorish behavior of their children, is that you know that they also have to put up with it at home...constantly. Kind of a Karmic thing.

I may be a single daddy, but it's not that hard to raise my daughter by myself. She is polite and extremely well-behaved. Why? Because I have taken the time to teach her to be so, which makes my life easier. She doesn't whine, and the only time that she screams is when I tickle her.

I didn't set out to teach my daughter to be well-behaved just to make my life easier. But, as always, doing the right thing has its own rewards.

Phantom_Driver, USNR, Ret. said...

When I had six kids to usher about in the outside world, and other kids would act up and cause a scene, I would loudly use them as a bad example to my brood, who'd stare at them. That would usually shush the offender and often brought dirty glares from the offender's parents.

Tough.

None of them had the guts to say anything to me, and the peer pressure of 5 boys who made fists and one girl who giggled and made faces at the miscreants put the bad actors in their place post haste.

Having all the kids grown and gone,I encounter rude behaviour in stores by kids, I whip off my glasses, stare at them, and say loudly "Your parents can be Soooo proud". That usually draws an open mouth gape while the parents try to recover their embarrassment.

Other times, the wife and I will just talk to each other loudly and bemoan the sad state of affairs concerning the raising of kids these days.

If we keep silent during outrageous behaviour, we contribute to its continuance.

Don't like something, SAY something. If everyone did, the world would be a better and more polite place.

Pd -- proud father of an American Soldier