Friday, June 08, 2007

Corrosive Parenting

Yesterday we were walking home, and a mother with two little girls was walking in front of us. The girls might have been 6 and 3 years old, or thereabouts; they were holding hands.

"Let the lady pass, she's walking faster than us, you're too slow," said the mum.
"Yes, but they're so sweet, holding hands like that," I commented.
"Oh, that's just because she runs off if someone isn't holding her," she said dismissively pointing to the 3 year old.

Then the girls started cooing over Philip in his wrap.

"Hard work, isn't it?" (This HAS to be a tie with "is it time for his feed" as the most hated phrase in mothering. Yes, I agree, I don't get to lie in bed and watch television all day long anymore. AND?)
"Well, yes, but it's nice; I like it."
"Oh, do you? Not me. I wouldn't have any more."
"I will. I'm not done yet."
"Aren't you? I am. These two have convinced me I don't want any more," pointing to the girls. Then they walked off.

WHY do people do this? WHY? WHY? I hear comments like that almost on a daily basis.

"They're so nice at that age. Just wait until they are (4-5-6-*insert approximate age of child standing next to the person making the comment*) then they become horrible."

"Oh, little Jackie here? He's 9 going-on-29. Eheheheh."

I had a mother actually tell me (while she was holding her baby girl and her little boy, who has just started school, was standing next to her,) "I like boys until they start school. Then they change."

This sort of casual, unprovoked put-down always makes me cringe. To me, it's worse than spanking, worse than swearing at them when you get angry. I think that a normal child can actually recognise acts made in anger, as long as he also receives a comparable amound of affection when his parents are not angry. "When is do this, it makes mummy angry. When I am angry, I stomp my feet. When mummy is angry, she calls me a ****** ****** or she gives me a swat on the bum" is not an ideal situation, but at least there is a cause-and-effect element to it. What does this sort of behaviour tell a child? "I am so insignificant that my mum will talk to strangers about me like I'm not there." "I am such an inconvenience that my mum will complain about me even when I haven't been doing anything wrong." "I am so unpleasant to have around that I have proven to my mum she wouldn't want any more like me." "There is no point in NOT being naughty, they complain about me anyway."

Don't get me wrong, I DON'T condone spanking or swearing at children. I very much aspire never to spank my kids. Notice, I said aspire. I try never to say never.

But I promise, I will never, ever, EVER treat my children like insignificant pests when talking to other people.

Check this out, I learned how to put videos online! (your reward for reading through my rant -unless you are Marilena or Andreas -SHAME ON YOU!)

Matilda decided walking is too much effort:

Philip Live, Unplugged:

And Matilda, having her morning cuppa:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gmt...thelw na er8w...