Friday, October 9, 2009

Chinks in our armor

Well, I do have much more to say on the Accutane subject. However, in an attempt to thwart a nasty gram from my dear sainted mother-in-law because I have talking too much about neuroblastoma and not enough about her precious grandchildren, I must digress today. It is back to the kiddos. I suppose I should also note that it is also her birthday and, although it may not be a national holiday around your house, it certainly ranks up there for us.

(Yes, they are visiting in a couple of weeks and I do find it worthwhile to suck up.)

I digress again.

Regardless, I am happy to report that there is very little to report on the kiddo front. They have, thankfully, been relatively quiet as of late. My dad would say that this is exactly how children were meant to be. You know, seen but not heard. Old school. Hard line.

Of course, these are MY kiddos we are talking about so rather than rejoice in their quietude, I must admit that I am somewhat fearful. My kiddos only have two states of existence - chaos and planning for chaos. Given that, I have a pretty clear indication of where we are going from here.

I guess that is not entirely true. Their behavior has changed as of late. Lynley and I have been working very hard to curb two common childhood problems - fighting amongst each other and a general lack of respect.

The fighting amongst each other is annoying but it is relatively easy to stop - at least in the short term. When they start fighting we punish them - all of them. Walla. It does not take long for them to stop that annoying habit. It unites them and puts them in the same boat and, the next thing you know, they begin to work together to keep from going to time out. The only problem with this system is that it encourages them to work together. It encourages planning and thought and we all not that is not a good mix for a 4,5 and 8 year old. You have read Lord of the Flies, haven't you?

The second issue is more difficult and has always driven me nuts. Our kids are pretty respectful at home. They know that here they can not get away with it. They make a smart remark to their mother and I am all over them like flies on -- kids. There is no tolerance.

The problem is when we are in public or talking to other adults. Of course, this is also the most embarrassing for us. In public we don't handle it the same way as we do at home and we are being paid back for it. I have mentioned this before. The kiddos are like the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park. They look for weaknesses in the defenses and then they pounce on it. This is exactly what they do in public. They know that we will avoid making a scene in public. While we won't let them misbehave we do let them get away with disrespecting their parents - at least until we can get them alone. I guess we do it this we because of the embarrassment that we, the parental units, feel. We try to play it off as being something less than it is. But, in our hearts, we know that they are being blatantly disrespectful.

It mostly comes in the form of interruptions when we are talking to other adults. Embarrassingly enough this can be followed by jumping up and down and a temper tantrum when we don't acknowledge them. Sure, I will turn to them and tell them politely to wait but this just seems to egg them on. Generally, I finish my conversation politely with the adult and then quietly take my offending brat (I say that because that is what they are acting like) off to a quiet corner and scold them. This system works temporarily but the issue always seems to arise, either with the same child or another, the very next time I am engaged in a conversation.

It is frustrating. This is one front where we have failed as parents. Currently, the existing system is not working and a change of tactic is in order. The issue is not being remedied with what we are doing. I don't know what the answer is.

However, if, for some reason, the next time you see me leaving a building dangling one of my children from his or her ankle please know that I am doing me very best.

Just because I have purpose does not always give me a solution.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Mark for writing about the kids today----you scored "BIG BROWNIE points" with your dear sainted mother-in-law!!!!
I love you all!!!! Mimi