Today while at Walmart I over heard a 3 year old tell his mom, "You're a butt-head. Did you know that? You're a big butt-head." I was *this* close to turning around and telling him, "You know, little boys that call their mothers butt-heads get eaten by monsters that hide under their bed and in their closet while they're sleeping at night." But they walked away. Probably a good thing.
And of course, there were several comments on the post. Here is a selection of the typical comments:
You are stronger than me!
Ooh that would NOT fly with my kiddos. I would be very tempted to turn around and tell him to not talk to his mom like that!
"Frankly, young man, I think your mother should never put up with you calling her names. If you were MY little boy, you would be in SERIOUS trouble! Be nice to your mother!!!"
This post and the responses hit such a nerve with me as a parent. I am always amazed at the condescension of people that "MY kiddos wouldn't do that" and "if you were my boy would be in SERIOUS trouble" etc...
Whose to say that this boy didn't get punished when he got home, or even in the car, once the mother had a chance to talk to him privately?
I think what really bothers me the most, however, is twofold:
1. The pervasive attitude that my child would never behave like that. Or that I would never let my child talk to me like that. Really? Then you must not have kids! Because they will whine, they will talk back to you, and they will at times be downright mean. Not that any of this means it is acceptable - but by saying that your own kids would not do it is making a harsh judgment that is frankly just not true. If your kids haven't been disrespectful to you at some point, then you must not be listening to them. Kids learning to be polite is a work in progress, and as soon as they master one aspect of behavior, there will be something else to work on.
2. The second thing that bothers me is the "criticism for sport" aspect. This is amplified by social media because everyone feels they can criticize whatever behavior they don't like, and bashing parenting skills (or lack thereof) is a favorite of women. It is like girlish cattiness thinly disguised. Heaven help the mother whose child isn't always perfect in public, because you will be lambasted for it!
Moral of the story, as parents, as women, as mothers, heck, as human beings, we should be a lot kinder to one another, a lot less critical, and a lot more understanding. Kids aren't perfect. Parents aren't perfect. But most of us are trying to do the best we can.