My heart is hurting over the barrage of criticism that so many kids have to endure from the grownups in their lives.
Kids are kids. But more than that, they are people. Not substandard people. Not partially-formed people. Or second-class citizens. Or savages in need of civilizing. Or criminals in need of judging.
Neither are they our personal whipping boys.
Yet lots of folks think it's perfectly okay to scream at children. To hit them. To ride their asses, jumping with sick glee on every bit of evidence that they do not measure up.
Is it because kids are inherently evil? Or because everyone knows that a childhood of physical and verbal bullying is healthy for kids? Or because we think we're teaching them by example how to solve conflicts, make friends, and influence people?
Is it because if we don't scream and hit and ride their asses, they will surely grow up to be serial killers or welfare moms or politicians?
Is it because we don't have control of ourselves?
Could it be that what makes us so angry is that we are unhappy with our lives or our jobs or our marriages or ourselves?
After all, kids are relatively safe places to vent our anger/rage/frustration/disappointment. They are fairly defenseless. The Man only has their backs if somebody is dumb enough to leave physical evidence.
I ask you, does it state anywhere in our country's legal code, "Grownups can kick each others' asses as long as they don't leave a mark"?
NO! But that's basically the rule for parent-child altercations.
And if a husband (or wife) gets all up in his (or her) spouse's face, screaming and threatening, we call it domestic violence. When it happens to a kid, we call it discipline.
And that is a ridiculous double standard, folks.
But I've got more to say. And this time it's personal.
Nature Boy is realizing that kids don't get cut a break. He lives with too much criticism, from the state of his education to his dinner manners to the length of his hair. If I had to deal with as much nagging and criticizing and b!*&%ing as my son does, I'd have written off folks and taken an alias years ago.
But I don't have to put up with that mess. Because I am an adult.
(And I am crazy. So people tend to be scared of me.)
My kid is not a hard-headed, defiant brat. He's a good person who tries his best. Yes, he's forgetful and quite adept at mess-making. And yeah, he cops an attitude once in a while. He is also a child.
A child who is fully a person, but one who is still growing and learning. AS ARE WE ALL.
Yet all too often, he is held to adult standards of behavior. And that's not fair.
If you have not raised a child recently, it is quite possible that you do not remember what normal kid behavior is.
Fun Fact II:
If you do not particularly enjoy being around children (in general) or my child (in particular), kindly refrain from offering invitations. Everyone will be better off.
Fun Fact III:
There are many paths to a destination. Any number of them will get you there. The path you choose (or chose) is not the vaulted One Absolutely Correct and Best Choice. It's simply one path.
None of us is the standard of normal.