First of all, I don’t use the word “bad” to describe my kids. I have never said, “you’re so bad, that’s a bad boy or girl”, or anything of the sort. I do not believe in calling my kids bad. There are other ways to express to them that what they have done is not appropriate. I try not to label them — esp negative labels. I try.
However, there are kids who behave badly. Mine behave badly every day. I don’t call it that to them. But it is what it is. Bad behavior. We say “naughty” like The Nanny does.
We were at the water playground yesterday. It was the first time my little boy was actually running through the water spouts. He was laughing and screaming and having a splendid time. My daughter has always loved to do this and she was so excited that her little brother was finally playing with her. They were being so cute and I was smiling from ear to ear. It was quite a moment for all of us. Filled to the brim with joy!
Until he showed up.
The brat with the big-mouthed mom.
I have done my share of spewing on other people’s parenting skills (or lack thereof). Most of it, before I had children. But I still get irritated. Yesterday was one of those days.
“The Brat” came and started picking on the other two siblings there. I watched him push “Katie” down twice as he bulldozed through the water spout that she was playing in. Nevermind that there were about 10 other spouts he could have bulldozed through. No, he picked hers. She fell down onto her butt and shouted at him. Katie was almost as big as The Brat. The Brat kept running around bulldozing through water spouts. My kids came running over to me with fear on their faces since they just witnessed Katie’s fall. Katie got all adjusted and here comes you-know-who to bulldoze her down again. This time The Brat’s mom opens her big mouth and shouts that if he does it again they will leave. I think to myself, “bet she won’t leave if he does it again, I just bet.” Empty threats and kids aren’t stupid.
“Kyle” is a little boy younger than my Jeremy. I assume he’s about 20 months old. Kyle is Katie’s brother. The Brat sees Kyle playing with a bucket. He cocks his head a little and starts running towards the baby. I am squirming in my chair as Kyle’s mom is getting up from her seat and starting to bolt for the baby. She sees what is about to happen too. The Brat gets to the baby before mom does and snag, rip, jerk he gets the bucket from the baby and the baby cries. Props to Kyle for trying to hold onto the bucket for the 2 seconds it took The Brat to jerk it out of his little grip. Kyle’s mom picks him up, consoles him, and walks towards her table. The Brat’s mom is shouting, “no, no, no [insert name], that is not nice. You give that back to the baby or we will go home”. Really? You’ll go home? You know what I am thinking, “Oh, please don’t give it back to the baby, The Brat, because I soooo want your mom to take you home.”
My kids go back to playing. Katie’s and Kyle’s mom starts packing up to leave. I had it in my stomach. I could feel the nudge. “Leave”, my gut was telling me. “Leave now! Just pack it up. An hour is long enough. Just leave.” But I didn’t leave. I stayed. And suddenly I was transformed. I had 4 eyes, not two. I could see my little ones and I could see The Brat. I turned into a Hawk. Two eyes on The Brat and an eye on each of my kids. I was on the edge of my seat. I was hating The Brat’s mom and fiercely dying to tell her off. I was all nerves and ready to fight.
Big-mouthed mom’s friend shows up with her daughter. I was relieved. Now The Brat will pick on that kid and mine will be fine. Relax. Sit back in seat like a normal person. Take my eyes off of The Brat.
My kids had plastic animals that we brought with us. The Brat saw Jeremy’s dinosaur and you can just imagine what happened next. And you’re right. It did. I flew across the water yard, grabbed him off of the ground, wrapped him in a towel, kissed him, and did all those mommy things to make it all better. Big-mouth comes over to apologize.
Guess what I did?
Yep. I said, “oh, that’s ok. He’ll be fine. Boys will be boys.” I know. I couldn’t believe it either. I just couldn’t tell her off. But inside I was seething, folks. Mama bear was going on in a big way. On the outside, I was as wimpy as they get. Almost apologetic. Pathetic!!
The Brat wasn’t finished with my kids yet.
- He slapped Brianna in the mouth
- He pushed her from behind, thankfully she didn’t fall down
- He smacked Jeremy on the back
- He bulldozed into Jeremy and that was it
After he knocked Jeremy down the second time I was livid. This time Jeremy’s shoulder, arm, knee, and leg got all scratched up (and were bleeding) and he hit his head on the cement. That time when mommy big-mouth-empty-discipline came over to apologize I almost couldn’t even look her in the eye. There were so many words going through my head at that very moment and I didn’t say ONE of them. I also didn’t say, “that’s ok”, when she apologized for her heathen. I just nodded and said, “thank you”.
We left after that. Nobody was having fun. The kids were both crying. I was biting a hole in my tongue. I have never wanted to slap a child so much in my life. More like beat him till the cops showed up. Yeah. I guess if I’m honest, I envisioned bruising his backside.
His mom put him in “Time Out”. As I was trying to get my kids ready to go and pack up our stuff, The Brat kept getting out of “Time Out” and big-mouth mom was threatening to leave again. He’d sit down on the chair and scream and beat his fists on the table. Big-mouth mom would threaten some more. He would get up and run around again. Same thing over and over.
Do you see the problem here?
It’s not The Brat’s fault he’s The Brat. It’s big-mouthed mom’s fault. She is breeding a bully because she is unwilling to follow through with her threats.
I am not the world’s most perfect mom. But I know discipline and I know how to use it. My parents followed through with their threats. They had no choice. They had 7 kids that could get WAY far out of hand. If they didn’t discipline us and then stick to their guns they would have had 7 buttholes for kids. When I tell my kids things I am more than willing to follow through. I don’t give them idle threats. For the most part, they don’t test me. Much. As Brianna gets older she realizes more and more that mom means business. Jeremy is still in the learning curve, but even he understands “one, two, three” and that if he doesn’t move by “three” something unpleasant will happen.
Give your kids boundaries and when they cross the line punish them.
Don’t breed bullies. Don’t have brats.
Discipline. It’s biblical even.