Disclaimer: I’m not a perfect parent, I get things wrong ALL THE TIME. Some days, I feel like I’ve been a terrible mum and made totally the wrong decision on just about everything. That’s because I’m human. I have four children and they’re definitely not perfect either (although I’m biased and think they can be adorable when they try!) and I’m absolutely 100% certain that the second I hit the ‘publish’ button on this post, they will morph into uncontrollable animals. But until then, I suggest…
SOME kids are just plain NAUGHTY!
We all know our own kids aren’t perfect because nobody’s are. As parents, we get easily frustrated when they don’t listen to us, at their refusal to tidy up, their inability to share or their lack of manners. But really, even when some kids aren’t behaving at their best, they’re still never ‘that’ bad! They can be wonderful, insightful, inspirational, precious, hilarious, charmingly innocent and brutally honest. Sometimes, all in one day. And that high pitched squeal as they walk the WHOLE way home from school, kicking every lamp post and throwing their lunch bag into the garden hedge, that might test your patience and parenting skills to the max… but let’s keep a little perspective!
Has your child ever drawn on the walls with permanent marker? Done a handstand on your dressing table? Ran up the bonnet of your car wearing their football boots?
No, nope, and they wouldn’t even think of it. But there are kids who do these things (I’ve had the dimple marks in my car bonnet as a daily reminder, thanks neighbour) and I’m getting a little fed up with excusing such bad behaviour. Now I know, really I do, that there are a wealth of GENUINE reasons why some children misbehave. Medical conditions, behavioural issues, dietary complications to name but a few. And I have full and total respect for those families, as I cannot begin to imagine how hard their parenting job must be. Truly. And those aren’t the children that I’m talking about. But when did we stop admitting that SOME kids are just plain NAUGHTY?
If we are out as a family and my kids misbehave (which they do), I deal with it. Perhaps not always in the best way because parenting is difficult, and by far the most challenging job I’ve ever had. But when another child misbehaves and it doesn’t even raise an eyebrow from their own parents, well, that’s confusing for the other kids. Isn’t it? Try explaining to a four year old how come ‘that’ kid didn’t get told off too. But we don’t. We avoid eye contact, quickly point our children in a different direction and move the conversation along. All the more uncomfortable when ‘that’ kids parents are our friends, or if ‘that’ kid is ALWAYS the naughty one.
We all have different house rules, what one family thinks is okay might not be in line with another family. Personally, I ask my kids to remove their shoes when they come indoors (cream carpets), and tell them not to jump on the sofa. Others don’t, and that’s fine. My daughter had a wonderful time at her friend’s house recently as they ran along the sofa and jumped onto a pile of cushions. I was mortified when she told me but it was their house, their rules.
But tell me, please, in whose house is it acceptable to hit someone around the head with a guitar? To intentionally cut someone else’s trousers, or repeatedly wallop the furniture with a toy saucepan? Because those kids exist and their parents enable it. Not knowing how to handle poor little Jimmy, he’s just ‘being a boy’. No he’s not, he’s being a little sod. Or maybe the parents are tired of having their reprimands being ignored and have bought ‘Princess Petal’ to toddler group so that they can ignore her for an hour while sitting on their arse to drink a hot cuppa and complain about how difficult parenting is. Let her trash someone else’s toys for a while. I’m sorry, but she’s not a ‘character’ and neither is she ‘asserting her independence’. Likewise the parent, who on watching their toddler climb behind a fireguard to get a closer look at the flames, rushed to grab her phone to take a photo which she promptly uploading to Facebook “lolz, look what he’s done now!’, rather than actually retrieving the child or securing the fireguard back in place. It’s madness.
Yes, ‘kids will be kids’, they’re all learning, and yes, and it’s our job as parents to guide and direct them. And not all naughty kids are a result of bad parenting. If you’ve ever witnessed that look of evil defiance in a child’s eyes, when they KNOW that what they are doing is VERY wrong but they’re gonna do it anyway, well that’s kinda scary. And these kids are only pre-schoolers – I can’t wait to see what they do when they’re older.
There’s always going to be a child that’s better behaved than mine (lots, undoubtably), and a child who’s worse behaved. Even within my four little buttons, I confess to having had a secret ‘favourite child of the day’ who has being particularly lovely (as parents, we get our fun where we can, right?) But even when one of my clan are mischievously playing catch and accidentally drop the loo roll into the toilet, well, I might be cross but still thank my lucky stars that none of my lot have ever been as bad as ‘that’ kid.