Monday, April 9, 2012

Musings on being a parent

My kids have been sick, lately.  A little more clingy, and a little more whiny than usual.  They're great kids, normally--lots of energy; and getting into that stage where they want to be independent, can't figure out how, and get frustrated and angry, but great kids, nevertheless. 

All I have to do to have that opinion reinforced is take them out in public.

I used to think I didn't like kids.  I never was one of the whiny, shallow, selfish brats.  They annoyed the hell out of me, because they interrupted my reading time in class by being too loud for me to ignore.  I can't say I wasn't rebellious, though--I told more than one teacher I wasn't going to do an assignment because I was already working on something else for fun that was more complex and advanced than what they'd assigned. 

Somehow, I never got in trouble for that one. 

I never whined about an assignment being too hard, that I couldn't do it.  I never refused to do an assignment because I didn't understand it.  I never threw fits because someone said they didn't know how to do something, or because they couldn't do something (whether due to stupid rules that I didn't bother to follow, or because of a broken piece of equipment).

I still don't.

I see so many who do, and I wonder. 

Why didn't their parents love them enough to teach them how to behave?

I still don't like whiny brats, but I don't really fault them for their behavior, if they're children.  I don't really fault adolescents--it's not their fault that puberty causes a few years of insanity, on top of trying to figure out (often on their own) what it is to be an adult. 

Adults, on the other hand...well, they're supposed to be just that: adult.  People like the individual that made TinCan Assassin's day so shitty need to remember that they're not freakin' five years old anymore. 

They also need to be spayed/neutered so that they don't pass their bad behavior on by spawning.


  1. Exactly. Bad parenting reaches it's logical conclusion. When throwing a tantrum gets you your way, just to shut you up, in reinforces bad behavior. And the Customer Service Mindset is to give them what they want so they'll shut up.

    I wanted to slap her. Then make him eat my stapler when he complained about my "tone". This is AZ. If all you're having to deal with is your clerk's "tone", he is exercising a great deal of self control. I think not shooting him on the spot was great customer service, considering all the other crap I am dealing with right now. Even if it was bad for the species as a whole.

    Proving the anti's wrong, every day, I am. Damn it.

    1. As a college professor, I see the same behavior you do. Only, they're whining about me not accepting late work.

      Do they really think their future bosses won't fire them if they consistently miss deadlines?

  2. I think part of the problem comes because too many parents want to be their kids' "friend" rather than their kids' "parent."

    There's time enough (hopefully) for that kind of interaction after the child grows into a responsible adult.

    I'm incredibly grateful my parents raised me the way they did: not to whine, not to shut down and go "it's tooooo haaaaaaaard" when faced with a challenge, to see other people as people and to remember (most of the time) to treat them as you would like to be treated.

    I'm sure that was hard, I'm sure all the times I ran into my room crying "I HATE YOU" was painful....but in the long run it paid off, I think.

    And yeah, I see the missed-deadline thing in my students and it drives me bonkers. Or the person who just doesn't show up to lab and then expects me to set the lab back up, teach them the lab, and sit there for two hours while they do the lab all by themselves...and I'm "mean" if I say "no."

    1. Yeah...I'm "mean" because I don't accept late work, and give half credit for any makeup work I actually accept.

      Though, this semester, I've got one student who's just had a baby (by C-section), and another who's got a baby on the way (and was told by a specialist--in front of her daughters, mind you--that her baby had triploidy, couldn't possibly survive, and it was too late to abort. Asshole didn't even think it worth the bother of a follow-up, since the baby wouldn't make it through the whole pregnancy. Second opinion wasn't nearly as dire).

      Those cases are exceptions--I allow make-up work--and often will take late work. But those cases are rare. So are the ones that actually ask for extensions before the deadline (which I usually grant).

    2. Oh, I take late work if there's a reason for it. But all too often there isn't...or the reason is "I have no concept of prioritization of what I need to do."

      I know someone - this was years and years ago - who was told to abort b/c her child would be born with spina bifida. She and her husband were aghast at that suggestion, changed doctors, and stated that they would love and care for their baby no matter what. (The child was born with no health problems).

    3. It's easier to tell them I don't at all, so that I don't have to deal with the "but...but...I couldn't miss that party! all of the cool kids were there!"

      There's a reason I am pro-life. The only time I think it's acceptable is if the baby is in pain.

  3. I think a lot of it is laziness. The parent doesn't want to take the time to act right. I've got three daughter, and I'm pretty laid back, but I won't allow them to disrespect me, or act out in public. Recently all three of them (I have them on weekends and during vacation) over the weekend had trouble with not listening, and making me repeat things. I had enough, so this weekend all of them don't to get to use the interactive electronics (iPad, computers, video games), and are having television limited. I also told them if any of them ask to use the stuff the offender will get another week (I hate when I see kids nag their parents until they give in). Funny, they know I am serious, and all have been respectful and thankful. Contrast this to their mother, who yells and swears, which causes the kids to tune her out.

    Compare this to my suppose to be temporary roommate (don't ask) who has an eight year old. Kid is the rudest little girl I've met. No friends, because she is a bossy brat. She had a school project that both she and her mother knew about a month in advance. The girl didn't start it until two days before (it was a diorama and a report on a native american tribe of her choice). The diorama never ended up getting completed, and the night before, after hours of the girl whining of how hard it was, the mother went on the internet, and dictated, word for word, what to write for the report.

    I would have never done that. The kid has no concept of personal responsibility. My 10 year old had a report on new jersey to do. About a month for it, too. She started her diorama right away, and did the brochure. Now the diorama got left at my place when I went out of town, but she got it done. She knew it was her responsibility.

    1. I think you're right--it is laziness. That, and overbooking themselves to the point where they're too exhausted to deal with whining, so they just give in and reinforce their kids' bad behavior.

      The only time my kids throw tantrums refusing to do what I ask/tell them to is when I'm shooing them out of the kitchen without following (they hate it when I'm in a different room--unless they go play in the imp's room), or if I've asked them to do something they don't understand. If that last is the case, I show them, and it's sunshine, smiles, and they turn it into a game.

      My kids are 3.5 and sixteen months. They don't have much concept of personal responsibility, yet, but they're slowly learning.