Last week I wrote about raising praise junkies and apparently hit a chord. Everyone who commented agreed with me. I thought I would take it a step further and address raising the disagreeable child. To me, this seems a logical counterpart to raising the praise junkie. If you’re constantly praising your child, even you are going to start believing the hype.
Overall, the disagreeable child is one who is consistently rude to those around him. She makes no bones about being the prettiest and repeatedly lets the other girls know. He is the star of the team–every team. She treats the teacher and all involved in her everyday school life with disdain.
How did this happen? How did your little baby become the disagreeable child? Here are a few situations that illustrate the creating of that child.
Your son plays on a park district team where everyone gets equal playing time. Yet, you are the parent approaching the coach game after game to let him know your son should and must be playing more. For the good of the team. While other kids and their parents are content to let all the players experience every position–as the rules state–you complain to the coach because your child is obviously star pitcher material. You also sit in the stands and make comments under your breath about the other sub-par players.
The teacher calls to tell you about a behavior problem in school. Your immediate reaction is, “not my kid!” Of course not! The teacher is calling you and making up tales. Because he has nothing better to do with his time. It doesn’t support the school in any way to automatically discount everything they are telling you. Yes, there are times when they have gotten things wrong. But don’t jump to conclusions and assume your child is an angel. Even after speaking to him you can’t be certain if their story is true. Because kids lie. It’s what kids do. They don’t want to get into trouble, so they gloss over bad behavior. Hell, even adults do this!
True story. In junior high one of the twins got into trouble and the principal called to let me know about it. I said, “Will he be getting a detention?” The principal’s response floored me: “You mean it’s ok to give him a detention?” Yes, parents argue with the school about what are detention-earning behaviors! Shouldn’t the principal set the rules and we help her enforce them?
Your child takes a test and you don’t like the grade. Instead of considering that your child wasn’t prepared or just wasn’t doing his best, you call the teacher and demand that the grade be changed. Again, teachers usually aren’t out to harm your child intentionally. Yes, if there is an obvious mistake in calculating the grade it should be pointed out. People make mistakes. But if the grade was because of a poor performance, asking the teacher to change it is just wrong.
You go to the store and you stop watching your child. Or he’s just acting obnoxious. Not everyone finds it adorable when your child runs the aisles, swings his coat all over the place, or knocks things over. That’s why carts are a good idea for younger children. Hopefully by the time they are too big for the cart they know how to act in public. Yes, I often find it amusing when your child misbehaves in public. I know sometimes you have to go to the store with a grumpy, nasty child. Remember, the hardest thing to say is no consistently.
There are so many more examples, but I think you’re getting the idea. I know that to some I am coming across as a parenting expert–which I am not (that’s a story for another day!). I think most of us parent the same way. But we see parents who make it harder and harder to be a good parent when they want to break all their rules for their children. While our kids suffer because we follow the rules.
What do you think? Am I completely off base? Any examples you’d like to share?