Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Happy Hump Day!
So...I'm on the train this morning, like always, and this woman and her teenage daughter get on. The daughter looks to be between 12-14 years old - kinda tall I think for her age, but young in the face. They sit directly across from me.
Girl: Mom, can I go to Julie's this weekend?
Mom: I'll think about it.
Girl: What is there to think about?
Mom: I'm not discussing this with you now.
Girl: WHY NOT!?
(mom looks annoyed, but keeps answering)
Mom: Because I said so. You shouldn't be going anywhere with your grades.
Girl: What's the big deal?
Mom: I said I'm not talking about it now.
Girl: You get on my fuckin nerves.
(girl puts on earphones and turns her back to her mother...mother just sits there)
Meanwhile, I'm waiting for this girl's head to fly. Since when was it okay to curse at your parents? Man listen...I would have been slapped into next week had I even thought about cussin' at my mother, let alone all the back talk that led up to it.
The mother looked at me embarrassed, but still didn't flinch when her daughter cursed at her. All I could sum up from that is that she's used to it. Clearly that wasn't the first time she cursed her mother, and I'm sure it won't be the last.
My sister and I never got spanked growing up. But we also knew better than to talk back or curse at or in front of my parents, or any adult for that matter. At 36 years old, I STILL don't curse in front of my mother, and I never plan to. But nowadays, it seems like kids are getting away with that and other rude behavior younger and younger.
Now, since I don't have kids, I won't say that what she SHOULD HAVE DONE is slap the taste out of her mouth...cuz...that would be wrong. She would think twice about doing it again, but these days, it's all about "time out." She would have at least gotten plucked in the lips...but that's just me.
It seems that when kids get away with this behavior early on, it only escalates as they get older. My nephew Kyce is starting to talk back, but you can tell he's not doing it to be rude or mean - he's just testing his boundaries to see what he can get away with. He sees these smart-ass cartoon characters saying these sassy things and wants to see if it'll work in real life. While some kids may seem smart, clever or witty when they say stuff like "duh auntie..." it's really not cute. Even if I want to laugh inside, I quickly let him know that sassy talk won't be tolerated and that he needs to learn to speak to adults in a polite and respectful way. I don't yell, and my first instinct isn't to knock him silly. It's to teach him what type of language is appropriate when talking to other people. He doesn't need a lecture, he just needs to be corrected. And he gets it.
I think most times kids WANT an adult to correct them, to enforce the rules and to basically "get-in-dat-ass" when they do something wrong. Pre-teens get to an age where they realize that their parents may NOT be right about everything, and sometimes they'll challenge you. But if you teach them from a young age how to speak to you, how to get their point across without back-talk or cursing, then they'll be able to question you and discuss things with you in a respectful way. If your child is 12 years old poppin' off at the mouth - IN PUBLIC - then chances are he/she was allowed to get away with that when they were 6. I don't care where we are - the mall, a restaurant, the movies, a game - if Kyce or Ibrahim talk back, they get the business right then and there. No "wait til we get home" - they're getting spoken to on the spot.
How you talk to children can also determine how they talk to you. Sometimes I hear kids out in the street cursing and carrying on, only to see their parents doing the same thing a few steps away. If you curse at your kids, they may curse back at you one day. You can't teach them that it's wrong if YOU do it all the time. And if you are constantly speaking down to your kids, are rude to them or disrespect them, it's hard to encourage them not to be the same way when that's all they know. Just because you are the parent doesn't mean it's okay to for you NOT set a good example. Most times, kids only do or say what they see or hear.
Okay, that's my rant for today. As I they got off a few stops later, I stretched my neck out to see if the mother was gonna give her a backhand for cursing at her on the train. But no such luck, the daughter just walked in front of her mother like she wasn't there. That girl got off easy, cuz if that was me, I would be sleeping with one eye open that night...jus sayin'.