Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Is my kid an asshole?

What do you do if your kid is an asshole? Like if you are raising a bully or a jerk, what do you do? And why aren't people more interested in how their kids are behaving socially?

My boy got a "D" in Spanish last semester. I know he did his best and is almost always an "A" student.  But he struggles in Spanish.  When the teacher called me, she ended her message with, "he is a NICE boy, and I look forward to teaching him next year."

And THAT is all I need to know.  I could hear the sincerety in her voice.  I know she is right, I live with the little dude.  He is nice.

That same kid of mine has some friends that were (are) picking on another boy. That boy's mom brought it up to me. I asked my son to defend the kid, when he noticed it. I also asked him to try and say one kind thing to the kid who everyone was picking on, each day. Even if it was something silly like, "hey, cool shoelace," or something. Anything positive, to a kid who hears negative shit all day long. He agreed to do it. I will ask him today how that is going.

I don't care if my kids get great grades, as long as they have compassion and are nice and respectful. Grades take a back seat to how they treat other humans. Being kind to one another is the number one lesson to be learned in school. Plain and simple. But it is one that isn't taught. So it's important that I as a parent, make sure they are doing their part. Pay attention. Check their Facebook and Twitter. And listen.

I'm not dumb enough to think that my kids are nice all of the time.  And I know they've been known to start some shit. And some of my kids are probably nicer than others, depending on the day, who we are talking about and who they are talking to. I'm not going to name names. But I try to do my best to pay attention. And when I hear that someone has been on the wrong side of kind, I do whatever I can do to make it right.

I don't want them to be pushed around either. Like if they are being picked on, I have taught them to defend themselves. It's a tricky line to know what to let go of, and what to stand up to. How to have compassion for people who aren't nice. I struggle with this more than they do, it seems.

As far as bullying goes, my kids know that if they are bullying anyone, that kid is getting invited over, and we will get to know them. Or if we already know them, we will address it. And as a parent, I would like a phone call to know what my kids are doing, if they are hurting people. I know my kids. I know they are capable of being jerks. I will do whatever I need to do to take care of it. If that means we all sit down together and talk with the other kid and their parents, then that's what we will do. I won't bury my head in the sand and let them "work it out." Because that is ignoring the problem. And it doesn't go away by ignoring it. And people keep getting hurt.

When people don't care enough to understand what their own kids are putting other kids through, well that is just bad parenting. I may have done a lot of things and still do a lot of things wrong, but this part of parenting I am certain of.

If I know about it, and do nothing, than I'm just as guilty as the kid who is doing it.

I have never received a call to talk about how my kids treat other kids. But I welcome it if it needs to happen. And I promise, I will take care of my end. I would only hope we all do the same. From my own experience, I know it doesn't happen like that. People want to believe their own kids. We should believe our kids. But there are two sides to every story. And the perception somewhere isn't the same. So it stops there. I want to believe my kids too. But I'm realistic and can admit fault, if need be. When we don't do this with our own kids, we fail.

There you have it. My preachy, somewhat braggy, rant of the day. Have a good one.


  1. Betsy,

    You are really coming around when it comes to so many aspects of your life. You should count on the fact that you are doing a good job!

  2. You are such a good Mum. I hope I can be a Mum that has as much insight into my children as you do.!

  3. Dear Betsey,

    This is fantastic. I am the mother of two boys, 11.5 and 15, and my parent manifesto is and always has been to raise two good citizens. Because you are so real and funny and warm, you should have little worry that your kids will turn out to be dicks :-)

    1. Thank you Michelle. Nice to hear from you!! I hope they aren't dicks either. It is my greatest fear. Glad to know there are like-minded parents out there!!