Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's not a magic trick, it's parenting.

So, I came across an article in my local newspaper (The State) about baby-proofing your home that made me so cross, I thought: "Ah, hah! Blog fodder!"

I happily continued my paper, setting aside the offending section.

Then I got to Rosemond. I read Rosemond religiously (LOL!) and am v. often outraged or angered by some of the stuff he writes about. Not at HIM, mind you, but at some of the bloody idiots who are parenting out there.

See, here's the thing. I don't give a flying fark at the moon how you parent your child. Srsly. They are YOUR kids and you should be allowed to raise them as you see fit. You can bottle feed, stuff 'em with carbs, co-sleep, give 'em a paci, let them drink Mt Dew straight out of the 20 oz bottle at age one, or wear your 4-year-old on your hip in an organically grown designer hand-woven hemp sling that costs $250.


I might comment to myself, my friends, on Twitter, and snarkily in my blog - I welcome you to do the same about my parenting foibles - but I would never say you shouldn't do these things, only that *I* wouldn't do them.

BUT. And this but is almost as big as my own:

You are NOT allowed to parent in ways that affects me and my children adversly without criticism from me!

Did you get that?

This includes endless moaning on Twitter, Facebook, IRL and blogs about the results of your particular parenting. If that 4-year-old in the sling is hurting your back and you whine about it every day, well, this bitch is gonna finally tell you to put the damned spoilt kid down cuz even my 2 year old can walk on his own!

If you go on and on about weaning from a paci or being kicked in your co-sleep by a toddler, I reserve the right to sigh and roll my eyes and suggest you might just trash the paci (finally), kick the kid into her own bed (finally), be tough, ignore the crying, and go on about your lives. Jeez!

Look. I'm NOT a better mom than you, and my kids are NOT superior to yours, but when you make parenting choices then complain overly much about the results and do nothing to change it, well, it's not cute and is gonna elicit comment.

"Right, Blue," you're saying now, "So we get it, but what's this post about? What got yer knickers in a wad in the paper? Are we getting to some point?"

Yes. Yes, we are.

It's also not OK when your parenting methods affect me and mine. That's bad. that's v. bad.

The Rosemond article is about classroom sizes and how the idiots trying to 'reform' schools are basically pissing into the wind and using huge wodges of cash to prop the outhouse door open.

One of the 'reform' methods is to reduce class sizes and teacher/student ratios, yet, back in the day, classes were as much as twice as large and they were taught successfully by a single teacher. Rosemond nails the reason why this worked:

"The reason 1950s kids could be successfully taught in overcrowded classrooms is because they had been and were being properly disciplined in the home"

Let me pause here and say, emphatically, that I don't condone overcrowded classrooms. I also would never want my kid's teachers to have any more students. But the reason is exactly the one Rosemond pointed out.

I will share with you the last day of 4-year-old Kindergarten for my Bitty Girl (all the children in the class are 5 by now, of course). They had a wee little celebration with singing and such and it was loads of fun. Most of the 4K moms/grandmoms were there and several dads. Afterwards we retired to the cafeteria for sugary carbo-bomb snacks.

During the hour and a half that I was there I saw one child deliberately, and with forethought, stomp on another child's foot (during the singing!) This little creep never once attempted to join in the performance, but scowled around and messed with the other kids. Until he decided to stomp on Taylor.

Yes, I know. He is 5 and 5 year olds stomp on others every now and then. but this was viciously well-thought out. srsly.  Yes, yes, I know, this is 4K, designed especially for kids with various needs. The only reason Bitty got in was because of our pathetic income and her Autism. I have no idea if this child has behavioral problems. Well ... yes, I do. He obviously does. I have no idea if they are developmental or the result of parenting.

But here's my thing. His mother was sitting right there. Right there! Two feet away. This kid stomped on Taylor's foot, deliberately and as hard as he could, pausing in between each to study Taylor's face for a reaction, and he did it SIX times as his mother just stared. I was this close to barking at him to knock it the fark off myself before one of the teachers spotted and 'redirected' him.

My child in this class is Autistic, and I would never, never allow her to harm another child. I parent her just like I parent her NT siblings - making adjustments for her needs, of course - but I still parent her!  She still must abide by all the rules of polite society or I remove her from the situation.

One child during the entire thing would not stop talking and running around the room. His mother just smiled at him and encouraged him. One child threw a snit-fit in the middle of the room, lying on the floor and screaming (no he's not Autistic). His mother just gave us all a 'what're ya gonna do?' shrug and grin.


Later on, in the cafeteria, while my own daughter sat quietly eating (as did her 4 year old brother and her 2 year old brother) at the table, a perfect storm of kids whirled around us, running, screaming, climbing on the tables. Not one child took his plate and threw it away except for mine (the 4 and the 2 year-olds as well, without being asked). Kids were shouting, kids were interrupting their parents' convos, kids were whining and dragging on their mother's sleeves, kids were throwing food.

It was a nightmare and all the while the parents stood around talking and ignoring the bad behaviour.

I understand that kids will be kids. Mine will be happy to run and scream, and can whine at the pro level, but I spend my time actually, oh, parenting. All the time. Every day.  If mine step out of line, I am there in a heartbeat to nudge them back.

My kids must say and do at home as they say and do in public. Subsequently they require v. little overt parenting when we are out. I'm not some super mom. I'm just bloody consistant and insistant. I expect them to be quite and respectful. They have never been allowed to leave the table without permission in their lives. They are expected to tidy up after themselves, say "Yes, sir" and "No, Ma'am", and wash their hands after going to the bathroom. It's not some magic trick. It's parenting.

So, back to the classroom sizes: I understand completely why teachers need reduced class sizes these days and it's all because of parenting FAIL. And that's a damned shame.

It's a shame and it makes me angry the OTHER people are not parenting their own children and then are sending said children to school where they interfere - through their out-of-control behaviour - with MY kids' education.

This is wrong. You can coddle, you can cuddle, you can not spank, you can not discipline, you can buy your kid anything and everything, you can do his homework for him, not expect him to behave or be respectful, but this little monster YOU have created is interfereing with MY well behaved kids who want to learn.

Are any of your kids' classrooms filled with poorly behaved children? Does your child's teacher spend so much time dealing with out-of-control kids that she doesn't have time to teach?  What should be done about this problem, do you think?  Leave me your comments and let me know!

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posted by MrsEvilGenius @ 12:09 pm   3 comments


At 8:47 pm, Blogger Ladye K. said...

My DD's class has 26 kids. There were only supposed to be 19 at the beginning of the year (but you know how that goes). Most of them are really sweet kids who try, but don't always make the mark (I include my own chatterbox in this group. She's never mean, she just doesn't seem to have the self control to shut the hell up in class, no matter what anybody does/says to her about it).

Some, a good 20% actually, have behavior-related disorders (on the autistic spectrum, ADHD, etc) and are either medicated or are on special diet and behavioral routines that require A LOT of the teacher's attention.

And then there's a couple that are little hellions. One of these hellions used to live across the street and a couple houses down from me, back when I lived in The Bunker.

This family let their kids run rampant... their dig used to come sh*t on our doorstep, even, because we were fostering a dog that HE didn't like. Because our house was vacant so long, he thought it was HIS territory. And so did those kids. Now their youngest is in my DD's class. I have been a volunteer in that class all year. I know the kids, their allergies, their strengths, what triggers them to get nutty... and OMG this little booger sets off all the other kids in his wake.

How are these kids supposed to learn self discipline if they're not taught at home, right from the start? How are they supposed to learn to read, count, and memorize things if all the teachers have time for is to teach Noah not to hit Suzie and spit on Danny? It turns class into a circus. And it REALLY ticks me off, because although my kid can read, memorize, count, and cut and paste with the best of them, her teacher has a hard time setting her up for more challenging stuff because she's up to her ears with an instigator and a couple of kids who see the mess he's making and decide they want attention, too. Which doesn't help my kid, because the room starts getting chaotic, and instead of doing what she's supposed to, she's telling her little friends that said instigating monster is yucky and mean and she won't play with him at recess because he kicks her... and then she winds up in trouble for yapping away and saying mean things instead of doin her work.

I have no idea what to do about this stuff. I really don't. I don't want to let my daughter think she's better than other kids because she doesn't throw food at lunch and doesn't knock people down. That's not superior behavior. That's what's expected of her, and she shouldn't get any extra rewards for that. It just seems more and more that the bar for expected behavior is dropping, and people aren't seeing the progressive crapball rolling down the hill. They say the world is going to hell, but few are doing anything about it IN THEIR OWN HOMES.

At 6:40 am, Blogger MrsEvilGenius said...

BRILLIANT freakin' comment!

I think this sort of thing is commonplace nowadays, too. I don't think it's just us.

I have a huge amount of admiration for my kids' teachers (and not just because my husband is also a teacher). I see what they have to put up with.

I hate to sound like an old fart, but i don't remember EVER having anyone in my class when I was a kid jump up and run around or throw things or hit people.

At 1:17 pm, Blogger Kathy Harrison Fuller said...

Here here to your post! and fabulous comment! I personaly would like to add my two cents that the child welfare system (I'm in NYS so understand where I am!) makes people (FALSELY!) believe that disciplining your child is tantamount to child abuse. SOOOOOO not true!! Discipline is about TEACHING and yeah it takes WORK!! There is a child in my middles' school that IS ADHD (Urrrgh AMEN to you Blue for not using her autism as an excuse as soooo many parents do around here!) that literally runs around like a blooming idiot and forces the rest of us to hear, "Oh he has ADHD!" Well excuse me but ADHD is NOT an excuse for bad behavior! He ran around at last yeat's Mother Son bowling night like a tyrant - across bowling lanes and knocking food all over and randomly hitting kids. I've know him since my Rock Star and he were in Nursery School and he ruined EVERY performance and special activiy there. After he almost got hit by - ummm bowling balls for the 5th time while his mother kept saying and expecting everyone to feel sorry for her, "Oh I just can't control him with his ADHD!" I lowly and firmly called his name, gave him a stern look, piked him up off of the bowling lane and carried him over to his mother saying firmly to her, "He has to leave! He is a danger to himself and others!"
When I walked back to my son who was sitting getting ready to bowl the other mothers were like "Wow, I can't believe you were so calm about that!" Well DUH! I haven't taught middle and high school kids on and off for over 20 years and am raising 5 of my own and not learned a few things!! I also think others are too afraid to say anything for fear of being called "insensitive" - bad behavior needs to be taken care of. We all need to speak up and say it not right when it isn't. To be silent is to be okay with it! You are not arrogant or think you are better than - you just want a more civil peaceful world. Nothig wrong with that!


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