Friday, October 29, 2010

Your Kid Isn't Perfect: Get used to it

Link:Are TV Mom's and Dad's Destroying The World?
Kid Frank Contributor:
Anne Random

As a parent, there is nothing more precious to me than my children. Funny, but when we think of our kids- we tend to be blinded by how much we love them. Admit it. You get warm fuzzies thinking of how 'cute' they are and about the moment you first laid eyes on that little face (or faces, in my case). Those thoughts generally swim in my head when I am away from them, or they are all being quiet doing something happily, or *sleeping*. I am often jolted out of that place of pride and joy the second someone I call "mine", comes running, screaming, and whining about another one of "mine" who clocked them in the face with a light-saber, matchbox car, or--more realistically- a closed fist. yes, i have three boys. There are bloody incidents around the clock in my house. Usually self-induced, but I know they secretly love beating the living snot out of each other.
This year my oldest is in the 3rd grade. I am finding 3rd grade to be a completely different ball game than any of the years before. It's funny, because I don't recall 3rd grade being quite the same back in the day when i was in school. Seems to me that the world has gone mad since i was in school- (not really that long ago!) There are 8 yr old's who are allowed to play Grand Theft Auto, and war games that are made to horrify grown men. Kids are consumed with the notions of girlfriends and boyfriends, and the worst of all-- this PANDEMIC of bullying. This is 3rd grade?
If anyone has watched any news in the last few months- or logged onto Facebook- you have seen the news about kids killing themselves after being tortured in school. Heartbreaking for anyone with a heart- but as a parent, this hits a real nerve on me. My oldest has Asperger's syndrome- and is one odd duck. I am not afraid at all to admit that. He is different. He is an easy target. Since the first day of Kindergarten, my husband and I have had reservations-- no,.. more than that,.... FEAR of sending him to school. why? not because we didn't think he could handle it. not because of the work. Because we knew kids would be cruel. No mom and no dad on this earth would feed their kid to a den of lions... and that's exactly what sending an Aspie to school feels like..... every single day.
Our house is a fantastic mix of people. High on the autistic spectrum, super low- artsy-fartsy people, sports-crazed mania, and its a big hodgepodge of eclectic mayhem. We are real people. We are a real family. We are not perfect. I do not claim to be a perfect parent... and I will be the first one to tell you that not-a-ONE of my kids is perfect.
Last Friday it came to my attention via my middle son that my oldest was picking on a first grader at school...
My first reaction was something like *OH MY DEAR GOD--WHAT!?!?! * It was like someone clocked me in the face with a matchbox car/ light-saber/ closed-fingered fist. I admittedly, for a fleeting second think, *not my kid- He wouldn't do that!*-- But isn't that terrible? I actually had that second of disbelief..why? because i taught him better. The thing of it is- third graders have been around for a long long time. All third graders are the same in one respect-- They want to flap those wings of theirs and fly. Be it by bike, by foot, or by being picked up by another kids mom who has Yoo Hoo in their fridge.... they want to separate from the family and be their own person.
My oldest is no exception- except for the fact he may be worse than the other kids because of the wiring in his brain. see, the problem with having a kid like mine is that in his head, he's 25. He has 20 yr old goals. he wants a job, he wants his own apt, and he wants to drive race cars. He wants to buy his own groceries, and he wants to run for senate. Reigning that in is exhausting for me. Reign it in-- but don't quench the dream is goal.
Back to the bullying story-- he picked on a kid. terrible... I nipped that right in the butt! We made him write a letter of apology to the kid, another one to his PARENTS, he had to go to school and apologize in person to the boy, to the guidance councilor and to the principal. (yes, his tail was between his legs-- may sound severe, but I guarantee that my son will think twice about EVER name calling someone again!!) But in this whole mess, we found out that our son was being bullied himself by a classmate... fairly severely.
Not shocking that he ended up picking an easy target and taking out some of that on someone else- but NO EXCUSES. Sometimes i want to go to schools and do some sort of assembly on respect of others... seems lately, everyones kid is being picked on in school...nasty things are said all the time. Where kids get off telling somone they are a "stupid idiot loser" because they have brought a toy in their backpack to play with on a rainy day for indoor recess-- and it just so happens to be "different" than what that kid chooses to play with? what!?!?
In my house, I am making a point to regularly discuss respect issues with my kids. I will never assume my kid is not picking on others ever again. I tell my kids that God gave them a mouth for a reason-- and the reason isn't to make people feel badly about themselves, its to make people feel GOOD. whatever happened to compliments?
I would encourage everyone to address this issue with their children. Ask them if they know of any kids being picked on... seriously. I have heard some doozies this week and i have expressed to my children the importance of sticking up for others. I am training my boys to be men... and by golly, they cant be real men and think that verbally abusing people is funny, amusing, or part of their everyday routine. Verbal abuse is disgusting... and i believe its contagious.
This week- I beg everyone to take the opportunity to speak with your children about how to find the beauty in someone's differences. How to love people... how to respect people, even if you don't like them. Newsflash-- you can still show love to someone even if you don't like them. you don't have to like everyone-- no, some people are just impossible to 'like'.
However, becoming a person who is verbally abusive makes "you" impossible to like.
Kids will be kids.... but this is just ridiculous.

Thanks for listening.

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