Last night I was at soccer practice for the oldest.
Oh man, I’m kinda glad tonight is the last game of the city finals.
It sounds really impressive, doesn’t it? His team made the city finals – woo hoo!
Actually, I think all the teams made it. We’re among the teams in last place, so I’m pretty sure if we didn’t win a game since before Christmas and we made it to the finals, pretty much every team in Southern Alberta made it to the finals.
But this isn’t a post about soccer and extracurricular activities. I need a bit of a break from the soccer, hockey & swim club before I can write anything about them. A bit of space if you will. Some distance.
This post is about what a group of us mommas discussed last night at soccer practice.
It started off with four of us standing around during the 1 1/2 hour practice (during which I admit I didn’t stay the whole time for. I made the excuse to the oldest that I had to get gas & cat food. And I did. But after that, I went roaming around the mall for 45 minutes before making my way back to his practice).
We started talking about the attitude. Of these precious angels. And if you have a child of any age, really, I think you can relate.
I don’t know how many times in a conversation about attitude with these kids that someone my age (and myself included) have piped up and said, ‘if I talked to my folks like that when I was a kid, I wouldn’t be standing here right now’.
So how do they get away with it? It isn’t any more acceptable in my house for my kids to disrespect me than it was in my house when I was a kid. So where’s the difference? Do I stand for it? I like to think I don’t. I call them on it when they talk rude to me or whine or… or… anything really. I call them on a lot of stuff. So why does it seem sometimes that I have the most ill-mannered boys in the free world?
And the ‘herd mentality’ argument only goes so far too (see previous post for definition of herd mentality). I don’t care how carried away you get with your brothers or friends; you don’t get to give me attitude and treat me like a second-class citizen.
It starts me on the wrenching journey of trying to figure out what I’ve done wrong. Because of course, being a woman means you have guilt and it must somehow be your fault.
What’s your fault? Name it. I’m sure we can attach our names to it.
Oh no, I let the water run too long in my shower this morning. I’m contributing to the decline of drinkable water.
Oh no, I used too much shampoo in my hair. Waste, waste. And it isn’t organic. Oh crap.
Oh no, I’m letting the kids watch too much TV while I’m enjoying my hot shower. Doh!
And that’s all before I even set foot out of my bathroom in the morning. Don’t get me started on what I feed my children for breakfast (non-organic cereal that probably has more sugar than fibre. Non-organic milk. Non-organic juice.)…
I think we’re all just a big pile of chemicals. And I feel guilt about it.
So when I start to analyze why my kids are acting like little stinkers (trying to keep my language clean), sometimes I blame myself.
And I blame too much TV and too many video games and not enough chores or enough parental attention or too much junk food or they’re not enough sleep or they had a rough day or I had a rough day or… or… and… and…
When do the excuses stop?
Granted, they’re kids. They’re going to act up. You can’t be perfect 24/7 (like their momma).
But little things. Like whining when they have to get ready for school. And when it’s time for homework.
But that’s another post coming in the future. I could dedicate a whole book to the trials & tribulations of homework and children!
So what to do about this attitude problem? And it ain’t just one of them displaying ‘attitude’.
I need to go back to what we all agreed on last night. I don’t know how you feel about spanking or discipline in general, but I think there is something to the fact that when I was a child and threatened with the ‘wooden spoon’, I would instantly stop what I was doing and smarten up. Seriously. And my folks never had to use it on me. That’s their story anyway. They could have clobbered me silly with it and maybe I just blacked out and don’t recall any of the ‘punishment’. But I do actually believe that they didn’t have to use the wooden spoon on me.
Hey, it’s me. Golden child.
My brother on the other hand…
No seriously. I think my mom said she only had to use it once on him. That’s the story anyway. They could have clobbered him silly with it and maybe he just blacked out and I blocked it from my mind…
But I don’t think so. We were pretty good kids. And you know why? Because of fear.
Not this namby pamby talk about respect. How do kids learn respect when they’re young?
Fear = Respect when you’re little.
A dog bites you. You’re scared of dogs after that and ‘respect’ the fact that when a dog is eating their food, you don’t approach them.
That’s what happened to me when I was little. Got a little too close to a dog during meal time and he tried to nip me.
Think I ever tried it again? Think I learned my lesson?
Now I’m not saying my kids are dogs… I’m the dog.
I don’t think that came out right. But maybe there’s something to that idea…
Of course I think my chance has been lost by now. My kids are too old now and threats just don’t seem to hold as much water as they used to.
Unless you’re talking about threatening to take away video games. Which is what we do. Big time. Sometimes I think it’ll water our threats down with the amount of times these guys lose their video games. Like taking too much Tylenol as a student in university – now it doesn’t do a thing for me. I need stronger stuff. But we follow through on our threats and they still feel the pain. Everytime. You’d think they’d learn.
Like Pavlov’s dog.
I wait for their little brains to click on and think, “heeeey, wait a sec here, Mom threatened me the other day that if I (insert action here: pushed my brother, acted up at school, talked back & slammed doors, forgot my homework) again, I’d lose video games…. maybe I shouldn’t do it.”
But then the urge is probably too great. I get it. Sometimes I’d like to haul off and give some people a big push too.
Maybe I should lay off a bit and try to chill and understand where these guys are coming from.
Oh crap. That’s what got me here in the first place, complaining about attitude, isn’t it?
Back to last night though – it was soooo great to hear one mom talk about her son and how he doesn’t EVER take responsibility for anything he does. Again, I heard a little choir of angels singing up on high. A little ditty about something I like to call – Someone Else Is Going Through This Too!
It’s catchy. Sing it sometime to yourself. Very uplifting.
Everybody now, get a beat going. Oh yeah. Sing it now, “someone else – cha cha cha – is going through this too!”
Hallelujah, choir of angels… hallelujah.
With mine it is ALWAYS someone else’s fault. Someone else made them push that kid or whisper in class or throw the ball in gym while the teacher was talking. Someone else started the fight. Someone else, someone else…
It’s like that Family Circle comic where, “I Don’t Know” and “Not Me” move into the house. I think I have a couple of extra kids living here too. They’re buggers, these interlopers! Real trouble makers. Not sure who invited, “Not Me” into the Pigeon Coop, but his/her welcome is officially over!
I saw a motto the other day. I think I’ll adopt it.
“Raise a glass and lower your standards.”
Oh now I feel guilty about being a mom and actually typing that…