This gramma has a bone to pick with some of you raising small children.
I have three “nots” that leave knots in my stomach:
- Do NOT punish the child when it’s not their fault
- Do NOT compromise their integrity in public
- Do NOT treat them like a sideshow circus act
Do NOT think you know what I’m referring to in the three points above. Please take the time to read on and reflect on how you are raising your child(ren).
1. Do NOT punish the child when it’s not their fault
Just to be clear, what I’m not referring to is when Mikey blames Bobby for breaking your cherished Fabergé Egg knock-off.
How many times has your child come home with a slightly… how do I put this… unsavory behavior? In their lifetime (right into adulthood, actually), it will be no less than a gazillion times. Here are some examples:
- She suddenly starts spitting her food at the cat
- He runs around in circles shouting “f@#%, f@#%, f@#%!”
- She begins to push your hand away and shout, “Stop it!”
- He growls at you and bears his teeth when you tell him he can’t have something
You are perplexed because these behaviors seem to have come out of nowhere. Then your ah-ha moment happens when you discover that:
- Her six-year old cousin repeatedly spit his food in their cat’s face at the recent family Thanksgiving dinner
- His favorite playmate at daycare has a proficiency for profanity
- Her uncle thought it would be funny to shout “stop it” at her each time she reached for a cracker
- The next door neighbor’s son got on his hands and knees and growled at him like a dog when he wouldn’t share a toy
So how do you deal with it? Do you go to any or all of the offenders and rip them a new one? Do you rip your child a new one? No, to both questions. I would, however, suggest that you gently speak to the offenders (or their parents), and make them aware of how the extreme behavior can affect impressionable minds. As for your child—as much as it will stretch your patience—do your best to stay calm, and express to them (in an age-appropriate way) that their behavior is not acceptable.
Do not blame them for being a sponge. They will absorb everything, no matter neither good nor bad. It is your job to guide them lovingly.
2. Do NOT compromise their integrity in public
This is not a repeat of my blog about surviving outings with your kids—my philosophy of Offensive Parenting. (“Offensive” being the opposite of “defensive” like in football; not “offensive” like dropping the f-bomb.) This is something else—something that really gets my back up.
Young children are curious and chatty, and the average parent will engage them rather than shush them. What really irks me though, are the parents who think it’s cool to speak very loudly in public to draw everyone’s attention to their conversation, in order to either look like a cool and funny parent, or embarrass the child.
In the words of the little girl in point #1—STOP IT!
For those who do it (and you know who you are), you will soon come to wonder (if you haven’t already) why your child has become so turned into themselves, rude, or lacking general social skills. Well, it’s because, you broke their bloody spirit when you allowed the shoppers at the department store to jump on the mockery bandwagon with you. There will always be willing participants nearby chime in. Negativity audiences are never in short supply.
Why do you want to turn your child into an insecure bully? Is it because your parents did that to you? Is that where you learned it?
Well… STOP IT!
3. Do NOT treat them like a sideshow circus act
My granddaughter is just shy of her second birthday, and now parrots everything we say and tries to imitate everything we do. I love watching children stretch their developmental wings, and it can also be the catalyst for many, many cute moments. Recently, she even had one hysterical moment that my daughter happened to catch on video; which we are trying to convince her to send it to America’s Funniest Home Videos. We all agree that it’s worth at LEAST ten grand. If a gazillion dads, who got hit in the nards by their kid’s whiffle ball, can win some cash, why can’t this innocent little sweetheart?
Anyhoo, kids say the darndest things, and their mispronunciation of some words is something you wish you couldn’t change as they get older, like some of my granddaughter’s:
- Boops = boots
- Sippies = slippers
- What are you doing? = Are doonin?
- See you soon = ah soon
- Milk = miwkee
I could go on for days on the adorable things she says.
Well, there have been about three mispronunciations with her that are, albeit friggin adorable, not something we should encourage. Those three are:
I don’t think I need to explain how she actually pronounces them, but I must admit, it sure is hard not to encourage her to do so. We’re all guilty of wanting to make them say it over and over again, but it will, at some point backfire on you.
Go ahead and try to catch it on video so that you can play it for your friends and family (when the child is not present, of course), but please don’t put them on a stage in the living room and ask them to tell everyone that your male dog has a big “stick.”
It is your job, as a parent, in this increasingly difficult world we live in, to nurture them the right way.
There’s lots of time to go for mother-daughter belly button piercings, or father-son matching tattoos—let them be innocent for just a little bit longer please.