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Sunday, January 29, 2012

an open letter to a friend:

How could so much power be wrapped up in a package that only stands 3’8”?  Really.  How could a small person be so powerful, especially since their chronological age is only 1/6 of ours?  It’s remarkable—kind of like when ants carry things 10+ times their weight, but it isn’t nearly as cool.  Not one bit.

You’ve seen it too, haven’t you?  A successful, educated, reasonable grown-up is somehow brought to their knees resorting to behavior that’s, well, literally beneath them.  Suddenly, it is as if they themselves are children again, lying, cheating, ignoring – leaving the other adults in the room to eye one another knowingly: another grown-up has committed an act in the name of their own child that goes against everything they know to be right and responsible.  How could it be?

If you were out with a friend, husband, or sister, would you ever tolerate their crying or sulking if they didn’t get their way or what they wanted?  Would you acquiesce and give into their demands or would you recall that negotiating with terrorists never works out well for the negotiating side?  Would you bribe them with goodies so that they didn’t embarrass you in public?  Would you allow them to lie or hit, and then make excuses for their behavior, or even worse, blame it on the other guy?

Chances are that you wouldn’t.  See, that would be some sort of abusive relationship, or an enabling one at best.  Duh, everyone knows that, you smugly think to yourself.  Who would be enough of a moron to put up with or do that?

Uh, you.  Have you looked in the mirror much?

The scenario may be difficult to detect for those afflicted by it, but let me clarify in case there is some confusion --  instead of your friend, husband or sister, it’s your child that we’re talking about.  Your kid.  You know, the one that seems to cause problems in your familial relationships, or your friendships.  You know, the loathsome child who acts out because he or she can.  Because, even though it is harsh to say it:  you helped make them that way.

I know you love them.  Of course you do!  But if you really loved your kid you’d get them ready for the life that awaits them, so that they can be successful both socially and otherwise.  Because, that behavior that you think is cute, or at least tolerable, isn’t cute or tolerable to those who aren’t called Mommy or Daddy by your little munchkin.

This country got rid of being ruled by a Royal Family 200+ years ago, so why are you creating princes and princesses?  Do you think they’ll grow up to make edicts and that we’ll follow them?  I’m pretty confident that you’re smarter than that, which is why your behavior is inexplicable.  I just don’t get it, and frankly, those people around you whom you see raising their eyebrows, well, they don’t get it either.

And to make matters worse, when your kid’s behavior isn’t just obnoxious to the adults in the room, but is now affecting the offspring of those adults, well, things kinda go downhill from there.  Because as much as people, especially people who are more, shall we say, consequence oriented, don’t like wimpy parents, there is something they don’t like even more: the children of wimpy parents hurting their kids.  They don’t like it one bit, and, unfortunately, friendships and relationships pay the ultimate price, which is really a shame, and wholly unnecessary.  I mean, I still want to be your friend, and I want our kids to be friends.  Really.  You’re just gonna have to take some action, and remember one key thing…

If you wouldn’t want it happening to your child, chances are, I don’t want it happening to mine.

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