Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Too Desperate, Why Are Kids So Mean, and Bringing Out the Worst in Me

Just a quick thought about Old Home Day. We were in parade which excluded us from getting candy thrown at us when you're on the sidelines. N wanted some candy so we went and stood on the sidelines, where we saw a boy who was on his t-ball team. I encouraged him to stand with the group of boys because one was supposedly his friend and also they tend to throw candy at groups of kids rather than just one standing solo. So he went over and tried to say hi to this boy and this boy couldn't have been more cold and mean. He just gave him a dirty look and ignored N. It was heartbreaking, and I couldn't understand where that kind of behavior comes from. To top it off, when they did throw candy, these boys, being bigger and more aggressive, grabbed it all up. N managed to get one piece, but he looked at me in frustration and I personally wanted to go over and say something, but what are you going to do? This kid's parents were standing right next to him, too, and didn't have the wherewithal to encourage their son to share in light of the fact that he had more than enough candy and should share the wealth.

Either way, that image of N looking up at me in angst will haunt me for awhile. Parenthood can be hell sometimes.

I've also decided that I'm like a desperate person looking for a mate when it comes to my kid's friends. I've been bending over backwards trying to get playdates for them, and I can't seem to get anyone to throw me a bone. It can be frustrating because sometimes I don't even get a response, and I realized I'm just trying to hard. Things will happen as they may, I can't force the issue.

With this in mind, I'm going to take a step back (yeah, right) and simply let go. This won't be easy because I feel that for our kids to have a social life will requires legwork on my part, but I do feel that I'm just trying too hard. In fact, there are times I get the impression that I'm asking this huge favor in just getting a playdate. I don't like that and acknowledge that a lot of is my doing, but even still, there is only so much you can take. Again, I feel like a desperate lover waiting and pining for just a moment of the other person's time, only at their convenience.

Clearly this is only a one-way road, and we don't want to go through life feeling like a substitute or an alternate. I'm sure the other side has no concept of what I'm talking about because a lot of this in only in my head.

So on the preceding downer notes, I feel it's time to shift gears and take a different approach. Stop being so darn desperate, it really turns people off, and give things a rest. Besides, I'm tired of scrambling to just to get an appointment, talk to me when you have the time.

All of this is sort of "karma-ish" because last summer I was so cocky because we had so much going on and felt on top of the world, and now things have changed so much. Then again, once you've hit the bottom, there's nowhere to go but up. And furthermore, sometimes you have to shake things up and get out of your comfort zone to grow.

I think I'm ready to grow, but we'll see. Things start out with the best of intentions but then end up back in my face. Such is the life of a neurotic dad.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

I am in the exact same boat! My little 4 year old daughter met the neighbor girls outside today for the first time. We've lived here 4 months now and I've tried several approaches to try and get them all to get together since they are so close in age (one girl is 4 and the other is 5). Tonight, while my husband, daughter and I were out in our back yard, I finally saw these girls outside and invited them over for a dessert. My daughter was so excited to meet them that she was jumping up and down, which led their mother to comment how "hyper" my daughter was. These girls proceeded to grab my daughter's ball out of her hand and basically play an impromptu game of monkey-in-the-middle while cackling about how my daughter couldn't catch the ball, leaving my daughter looking bewildered. The Mom went back into her house, basically leaving her kids to be my responsibility and when I came outside with their popsicles the little one says that her older sister hates my house. Nice manners right? Then they proceed to tell me all the things they have from electronics to toys etc... I don't understand the motivation to give me a rundown of their possessions, but nevertheless we spend about 45 minutes saying, "wow, that's great" and "boy you sure are lucky". Just when I begin to second guess my decision to home school my daughter, I meet yet another insanely competitive kid with no manners, no compassion, no kindness, with an extreme over attachment to material possessions. A kid like yours or mine just gets run over by these kids. Honestly, I don't want to teach my daughter how to deal with kids like that- all I want to do is teach her how to avoid them. I haven't met kids in a long time that I would feel comfortable letting my sweet, kind little daughter spend any amount of time with. I don't want her to view these behaviors as acceptable ways to act. She didn't seem as bothered by the whole experience tonight as her father and I were, which I take as a credit for helping her develop the ability to let things go waaaay better than I do. It's tough being the parent of a nice kid in a world of little jerks!

phredude said...

Dear Anonymous, It's hard being a parent, isn't it? Then again, nobody said it would be easy, and it's a constant challenge teaching your kids to be good citizens in lieu of the challenging world we live in. Yes, I can relate to the whole mannerless kid thing, especially when it affects our kids. I can't believe how some kids behave, and makes me wonder what exactly is going on in the parents head. And the whole materialistic and competitive thing really rubs me wrong, such a suburban quality that I grew up with in LA, promulgated by none other than their mom and dad. In the end, as a parent, you have to instill in your kids the values you cherish and the strength to deal with a challenging world, because even though it's hard, it's wonderfully satisfying when you are reminded that your kids did the right thing, or at least why you believe to be the right thing.

Do you read the New Yorker? In the recent issue there were a bunch of drama kids who were homeschooled and one of them talked about how he attended one year of public school and then wanted out because he felt he was becoming too mean. A consequence, no doubt, of having to survive the meanness of the other kids, but it's interesting how he had the wherewithal to notice it.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, and best of luck with everything. Remember to be strong and stand your ground for your kids, they need you to be.

Robin said...

I'm with you both. We homeschooled our 7 year old last year, but he wanted to try school again this year. Two weeks into it and I'm once again horrified by how kids treat each other. I guess a quick read of the newspaper tells us it's not just kids, but that sure doesn't help you feel better. I'm thinking about homeschooling again for that very reason. It is kind of agonizing, watching other kids (and occasionally your own) be so cruel.