Posted on | January 24, 2012 | 6 Comments
Last year, at one of the drop-ins, this four-year-old came up and kissed me.
Smack dab on the mouth.
I didn’t see it coming. I was looking to my left, he came up on the right, grabbed my mug with his craft-glue covered paws and attacked me with his smooches.
Isn’t that keee-yooot?
Why, you ask?
Well, I reply, and I’m just going to come right out and say it, I didn’t particularly like this kid.
Whoa. Did I really just say that?
Yup I did, but just for you I’ll take the high-road-oh-so-politically-correct-and-motherly-mature view on the situation and instead say that I don’t really like the way he’s parented.
And because that too is a loaded statement (and frankly we all suck at one point or another – just hang out on this blog for a while…you’ll see) I’ll further refine and say I don’t like the way that he’s parented at the drop-ins. Which is to say that he isn’t.
Or not much.
Did I side-step my way out of that puddle of poo?
Probably not, but let’s continue shall we.
Back to the kiss.
I think that I handled it with grace and maturity; I shrunk my head into my neck, closed my eyes, leaned away as far as I could and shouted things like “Ew! No! Yuck! Gross!“ over and over.
The kid hung on though, one hand on my chin and one on the back of my head, face in full attack-pucker mode and after a loooong 30 second struggle I eventually lost the fight, and he gave me a smack on the gob and took off.
I tried to recover by straightening my hair, mopping up my tea and shakily attempted to put my “universal parent” hat back on and managed a mumbled “aw…wasn’t that a uh nice uh…kiss…thank-you…”
I’m still sorta traumatized by the whole thing, partly because both Jack and I had had several unpleasant and stressful run-ins with this wee lad that resulted my statements and reactions above.
I think that any parent who takes their own “little angel” out to be around other little kids can probably relate to that one particular child, who tears, screaming at the top of their lungs, arms flailing walks into a room and the entire mood changes; clouds converge and darken, thunder rumbles, and daisies wilt in apocalyptic foreboding. Parents edge closer to their offspring and hope that devil child doesn’t want to play at the same puzzle table. For me, I just hate having to tell another kid to go away.
It’s pretty sad. Especially when that kid is yours. Lately it’s been mine.
I remember the first moment that we were entering this stage. Jack was 18 months old.
I knew he knew.
We both saw the boundary.
It looked like this:
There it was. You’re not the boss of me.
It was at this moment that I referred back to my parenting guru and thought about what he would say.
For us, that means time-outs, which for you means watching my child throw a huge fit in the corner of a public building. Yup. That’s us. Sorry about that, just plug your ears and move along.
We have them everywhere. Super markets, playgroups, sidewalks, between the vending machines in airports. At parent-tot drop ins I used to bring a nice little mat that fit nicely in the corner that Jack could melt down on. Now I just let him flail in the corner covered in cobwebs. That way I don’t get mat-whacked.
Hopefully it’ll be worth it. (Hand raised to the heavens while a choir sings behind me kind of ‘hopefully’.)
Discipline is a controversial subject. Ask anyone and you’re probably going to get a different answer. There are a lot of compelling arguments about talking it through, not going the punishment or consequences route etc etc. I’ve read it all. I’d still do time-outs because really, as an adult, we’re told to have time outs all the time, even if it’s just for our well being.
- Anger management: count to ten.
- Marital arguments: call a truce and walk away until you’ve calmed down.
- Need to de-stress or keep yourself sane: go meditate.
And lets face it, you’re a bully on the playground, you’re gonna sit in the principal’s office. Break the law, go to jail. Complete ass-wipe at work, you’re fired.
So that’s why I went that route, since you asked. I’m not saying you should, or that I’m even right. Kids, parents and their situations are different. And I understand. I’m never going to try to tell Jack how to think or feel, and if he needs to kick and scream, awesome. I’m just going to move him away from the paint, scissors and traffic while this happens. And he’s not allowed to act in certain ways, especially when they violate other people’s feelings or space or when he puts himself or others in danger. Period. I guess I’ll have to deal with any repercussions later.
And if we go back to Casanova at the beginning of our story, I’d never seen him put in time-out. Ever. Rarely were his actions intervened or explained or talked about until everyone was past meltdown. And obviously he was not able to know when his actions were clearly not appreciated or acceptable. And it’s sad, because rarely did I see him able to play with other kids peacefully, happily or without close supervision, and that’s the real tragedy.
That, and the fact that I had an awesome cold when he kissed me.
Parents: What are your tips or tricks for misbehaving kids?
Watchers of parents: what have you seen that worked or never seems to work?
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