Part of the challenge of teaching your kid how NOT to be an asshole, is how you handle it when your child gets in trouble with another adult. Come to their defense too quickly and with too much fervor, before gathering the proper amount of information and it may leave YOU looking like the asshole! I’m not saying I won’t go “Mama Bear” in a heartbeat if someone wrongfully goes after my kid, because like most moms, I am fiercely protective of my offspring. Let’s be honest though, our children’s decision-making skills are in a constant state of flux at this point and therefore still in question. Just because your kid made three good decisions in a row only moments before, doesn’t mean they won’t bitch slap their friend in a heartbeat because they stole the toy they were just playing with. There is a fine line between defending your kid because they need you to and defending your kid just because….Is this the face of an innocent, perfect angel? I think not!
High on my list of dislikes: Parents who defend their kids blindly, regardless of the situation. Not that I don’t have faith in my kids, but if someone says one of them kicked little “Billy” in the shin for no reason, I am inclined to believe it. I almost always take proper due diligence before reacting to any incident with my kids (stress on the words “almost always”), but I would say my first instinct is usually to believe that they are in the wrong. Guilty before proven innocent!! Sounds bad, but I much prefer the parent who will at least entertain the idea that their perfect, little child may have made a bad choice over the brainless parent who defends their kid to the death, even when they don’t deserve it.
Here is a perfect example: I was at the park with my fellow Not So Zen Mom and her two boys. That makes four boys total, ages eight and under. The perfect recipe for bad decision-making!! My friend and I were walking around the park while the kids played on the playground. This being one of the perks you will enjoy once your youngest child is old enough to know not to pick up a marble and try to swallow it. P.S. The walking was more for mental sanity, than physical health…We probably burned around 3.5 calories per lap! We could see the boys as we walked, but every lap we would stop and check in to make sure everything was still kosher.
On lap #10 (35 calories burned!) we walked over to the playground to find another mom raising her voice at our kids. Yelling can trigger the mama bear instinct in a heartbeat, but the reality of our four boy’s history of sporadic poor decision-making calmed us right down. Case in point: Earlier that day, the oldest of the group picked up a piece of candy he saw fall from a random stranger’s pocket on the ground. True story! Before we reacted, we asked several questions and defused the situation. It turns out that her kid kicked my son in the shin, but the other mom mindlessly defended her son. Who’s the asshole now? It’s important to note that the other mom had her newborn attached to her body and her son was around four. Therefore, instead of going mama bear on her, we cut her some major slack for wrongfully yelling at our kids because she is likely not sleeping, dealing with an unruly four-year-old boy and probably partially out of her mind. We only know this because we were both mere shells of ourselves when we had newborns and toddlers.
The moral of the story is, you can teach your kids how not to be an asshole, by not being an asshole yourself. If your kid actually does something wrong, then getting reprimanded by another adult other than their parent can leave a lasting impression. My close friends all know, they are more than welcome to put their foot down with my kids if need be. Many moms get twitchy about this scenario, even when it comes to their good friends. The reason being, these parents are either unwilling or unable to accept that their kids could actually be little assholes at times. While I love my kids more than anything and think they are pretty damn cool, there is no question they make poor decisions and act like little shits from time to time (sometimes every couple of minutes). Let’s face it, making poor decisions is what little kids do…That’s how they learn! So the next time your kid’s teacher tells you little Becky bit her classmate, think before you speak!