Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Mr Cranky Pants

Lately, Mr. Alex has been wearing his cranky pants.  Lots of complaining, lots of objecting, very little cooperating.  Which means he's been earning very little screen time.

It's been very frustrating.  No matter how hard I try to avoid taking it personally and remain neutral, a constant and grating chorus of "No " and "Mm-hmm" and ignoring my instructions wears me down.  Some days I just need him to stop talking and stop making it worse, but that's a hard concept for Alex to understand.

What can be even more frustrating is when those around me attempt to intervene and justify his behaviour.  "Oh, he's just trying to express himself" or "He just doesn't want to ".

A little tip for the world at large, if your words to a parent include "just" as one of the first words, that's dismissive of what the parent is trying to do.  (If you think a parent is being abusive, you should definitely intervene, but otherwise, think carefully about what you're saying.)

Here's the thing.  I know and recognize that many children go through whiny and complainy phases.  I know and recognize that it is a standard part of growing up.  I also know and recognize that I am holding my children to a higher standard than is typically done for children their age.

But here's the part that the rest of the world sometimes forgets: I am not doing this because I am a mean, drill-sergeant type parent.  I am doing this because I don't have the luxury of "letting them grow out of it".  My children will not grasp social niceties of when it is acceptable to complain and when it is not.  So therefore I have to give them a hard and fast rule: if someone in a position of authority tells you to do something, then complaining is not an option.  This is necessary if I ever want them to hold a job, interact successfully with the police or otherwise function in society.

Being the bad guy is exhausting.  Being the bad guy while enduring other people's judgment and constant complaining is worse.  But I still do it, because I believe it gives my children the best possible chance for their future, even though the cost to me is very high.  That's being a parent.

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