Is it your fault your child is naughty?
Posted Monday 18th March 2013 By Ericka Waller
Before I had children, whenever I met a ‘naughty’ child, I automatically blamed the parents. If I’m honest, I still thought this way after I had Thing-one, who has always been no problem. She tries it on a bit now and again, but has never really challenged me (yet I await her teenage years with anxious, bated-breath).
But then I had Thing-two.
If you met my middle-daughter, you might think she lives in a squat where no rules apply, and that she is actively encouraged to be an anarchist and pee in plant-pots.
This is simply not the case. We do have rules, and toilets, and cutlery, and bedtimes. We do not encourage public protest demonstrations, acts of violence, screaming-contests or wrestling. Honest.We try and teach her to treat others how she would like to be treated. Either she is not listening, or she is going to get into some seriously messed-up relationships when she is older.
Seat-belts and highway codes to not apply to her. Sharing does not exist to her. Naughty-steps do not teach her. Most foods to do not appeal to her. Not wanting something one of her sisters has is impossible for her. She is the mistress of mayhem, the queen of quarrels, empress of the eye-poke.
She times her tantrums with the school pick-up. Every afternoon heads turn as we walk up the lane, and watch my screaming, purple, thrashing daughter doing her stuff. No matter which approach I take to her tantrum (my approach depends on which phase the moon is in, which phase of the month I am in, and whether I’ve had my morning cup of Clipper tea – MILK IN FIRST!) there is always a mum who looks at me like I am doing it wrong.
If I ignore her I get the ‘Can you not hear your child is screaming?’ raised-eyebrow.
If I shout at her I get the ‘No wonder she screams with such an abusive mother’ tut.
If I cajole and distract her I get the ‘you need to toughen up’ pitying stare.
If I get out the biscuits people just avoid us altogether. They don’t want to be associated with such poor rewarding-bad-behaviour parenting.
Maybe I should have t-shirts made for us. Mine could say ‘You’re welcome to try and tame her’ and hers could say ‘I’m with stupid’.
Does anyone else have a ‘challenging’ child? Am I even allowed to call her that, or is it wrong? How do you cope with the looks and comments you receive when out in public with him or her?
In her defence, when she is not screaming like the exorcist, she is the sweetest, funniest, and most-loving of my three children.
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