If you are a brat at age 8, where do you end up when you are 16? To adapt the lines from the hit musical Wicked, “Are people born BRATTY, or is BRATTINESS thrust upon them?” When you see a bratty kid, whose fault is it really? And what can the rest of us do about it?
I guess I have spent a little too much time around some 8-year olds recently. I am STILL shocked by some of the things they said, the tone they used, and their attitude in general. How in the world can these kids think this behavior is okay?? Is that the message they are getting from their parents? Truly, if this is the make-up of our future generation, our country is in for way more trouble than anyone could ever expect.
Are the parents as clueless as they come across? The moms of these boys I know say their sons are all “good.” Do these kids just know how to work it? Do they behave at home, but when they are out of their parents’ range, anything goes?
We say it takes a village to raise a child, a noble and endearing theory at best. But what is happening in our villages? Is this now the acceptable way for kids to be? Have our standards dropped changed and we’ve just been too busy to notice?
What ever happened to showing respect to grown-ups (teachers, other parents, neighbors, etc)? Perhaps a little hard to do when kids so casually call adults by their first name (one of my growing pet peeves) as if they were chums. I saw one parent joking around with another, and her kid who was standing there started to join in too. What did the both sets of parents do? They laughed. This only egged him on further, but no one did anything to stop him. The kid looked like he though he was pretty cool – and the message was sent loud and clear: this type of behavior is okay to do.
Where are the parents that are working hard to teach their children manners and how to conduct themselves appropriately not only at home, but at school and in life? That is the village that I want to join! I blame the media a great deal for the tones and mannerisms we see on the playgrounds – but what it really comes down to is parents letting their kids play video games and watch TV shows and movies that are not age appropriate. The kids take it in like sponges and then start flipping the tone and the words as if they are just as cool as the actors they saw portray it. What you can say when you are 18 or 25 can sound horrific coming out of an 8-year old’s mouth. But how can we expect the kids to know that?
It is not just the boys you witness this with. You can pretty much pick out the little girls in 1st grade (and Kindergarten!) who watch Hannah Montana and High School Musical, etc. Where else do they get that sassy tone and the disconcerting mannerisms? What might be cute to see a 12-year old do becomes sickening to watch with a 6-year old. "But you have to be into it," a mother confided in me. "All the girls are." Again, great village we are living in, eh?
Maybe it is too easy to blame it solely on the media. The media may be corrupting our young society as a whole, but in the end it comes down to the parents. You can teach your kids manners or you can subscribe to the “Well, everyone else does it this way” philosophy. Just like we tell our kids, we adults have a choice too.
Of course not every 8-year old is rude or bratty. Probably only a handful from each class, right? But being around just a few of them was enough to make my stomach ill. Don’t these parents get it? This Zen Mama Wannabe feels as a parent I am trying my best – to teach the golden rule, to have good manners ingrained in my kids so that it is second nature to them – and yet these other kids seem like bad apples in the barrel threatening to ruin the whole batch.
Without withdrawing from society completely, how does a parent like me manage in the world today? Where it is all about short cuts, sloppy work and trying to do the least amount possible. Where a child blatantly lies and then gives you a look like “I just dare you to tell my mom” and then makes sure he gets to his parent first with a spin that completely twists the story all around. Please tell me it can change. Because I am sure not feeling so good about it right now.