Calling all parents :: how many of you out there are constantly terrified in the back of your mind that everything you do and say is laying a brick to the foundation of fucking up your kid?
I know. It’s a terrible thought to have. But we’ve all thought it at least once, right?
I keep seeing all these videos on that loathsome social media site they call Facebook (that I have broken up with several times over the years, and I think we are heading towards that path once again) of kids, shit-kids – shit-kids through no fault of their own, we all know the parents are truly to blame here – with complete disregard for authority and no respect for anyone, let alone themselves. The video of the 4- or 5-yo girl flipping out and striking an adult repeatedly. The video of the kid in the classroom picking up his teacher and body-slamming him to the ground because he took his phone away for having it out in class. All these kids are really making me scared for the future. I mean you gotta worry about that, right? What will our country become once this nation of shit-kids turns into a nation of shit-adult voters? I shudder to think. (I also worry about all those kids that stand around recording incidents with their phones instead of doing something – but that’s another topic for another day.)
Anyway. There seems to be a common theme in the comments section of these viral posts – “You know what’s wrong with kids today? Nobody’s getting their asses whooped anymore!” “These kids need a good ass-whoopin’!” “If I’d have acted like that as a kid I would’ve had my ass handed to me!” Everyone seems to think that the answer to solving this problem of violence and disregard for authority in our youth is …. more violence.
This deeply, deeply disturbs me.
Like this is the kind of deeply disturbing shit that makes me want to move to the middle of nowhere and homeschool my kid and keep her away from all the crazy that is out there.
I very firmly believe in not hitting children. I believe that if children are brought up in a calm, respectful, loving home, then they will grow to be calm, respectful, loving people. I am sure that you have to try harder with some kids than with others. But I honestly believe that. It’s simple psychology. Has anyone thought that maybe – just maybe – the reason these kids are violent and disrespectful, is because their parents are violent and disrespectful with them? Something to ponder. If mom and dad are sending the message that you get what you want by hitting and body-slamming, then what else are kids gonna do, to get what they want?
It should be said that none of these blanket-statements apply to all children. You can have two kids and beat the piss out of them every time they do wrong, and one could grow up to be a wife-beater and the other could grow up not to be a wife-beater. This is where the “nature” part of “nature vs. nurture” comes in.
I have been blessed with a pretty damn good kid. The moment they put her in my arms, and I realized what a true miracle she was, what a true miracle life is, I could not ever imagine striking her or hurting her. I just could not. I can think of two times in the past 6 years that I’ve struck her, and both filled me with such guilt and hurt for resorting to that, that I cried, and vowed to never do it again (one was out of frustration after telling her multiple times to stop taking a knife out of the dishwasher as I was loading dishes; I struck her hand and she looked at me with such shock and grief that I quit what I was doing and knelt down and cried and hugged her… the other time she was pitching a royal fit in the backseat and had been at it for the better part of 45 minutes – throwing things at me, reaching forward to hit me and pull my hair, and finally flung a blanket at me that covered my face as I was doing 65mph on the highway – I snapped and she got a smack on the leg for that). We made it through the terrible two’s (and the terrible three’s – nobody tells you about those!) without beating our child. And she is sweet, and kind, and loving, and polite, and respectful of authority. My daughter lives in a home with parents that do not fight, parents that do not yell at each other or call each other names, parents that respect the opinions and thoughts of their child, parents that respect the opinions and thoughts of each other. I’m not bragging, believe me, and she has her moments – her moments where I see my sassy self coming out in her, my argumentative nature finding its way into her tone. And she has tested her boundaries and truly tried our patience, and we have raised our voices to get our point across. We are not a perfect family, but we have never felt as though GOSH WE BETTER START BEATING OUR KID SO SHE KNOWS SHE CAN’T HIT OTHER PEOPLE AND DISRESPECT OTHER PEOPLE.
Hitting is, in its very nature, disrespectful. It is violent. And I do not understand those that think that the answer to solving the problem of violence in our youth is to add more violence to the mix. “It is not right to hit people, so I am going to hit you. It is not right to disrespect people, so I am going to hit you.” This does not compute.
Despite that, though, the theme is so prevalent, that I actually caught myself thinking the other day – Am I raising my kid wrong? Will she grow up to be one of these shit-kids because I’m not beating her? Because I’m not laying my hands on her to show her who’s boss? And those thoughts inevitably led to all the other thoughts I’ve occasionally had about whether or not everything I’m doing is fucking her up…. If I don’t feign excitement or interest every time she says “guess what!” will she think I don’t care what she has to say? If I am irritated with her, will she grow up to think I never loved her? If I snap at her, will she grow up to say I was mean? If I am not patient with her every possible second of every single day, will she think I wasn’t a good mother?
It just makes you wonder, you know? Who’s doing it right, and who’s doing it wrong? Maybe there is no right and there is no wrong, and there is only “doing the best that we can”. I’m not going to start beating my kid because some illiterate idiot who doesn’t know what a period is went on a rant in a Facebook comments section about how kids are fucked up today because they aren’t getting “they asses” beat. But I am worried about all those people who think violence is the answer…. someday my kid will be sitting next to their kids in school. And I wonder if she even has a chance.
Maybe I should just let her keep working on that sass. It might be all she’ll have.