Please note: This post has a considerably high level of profanity. It also contains taboo behaviours not often spoken of, some of which may make you feel uncomfortable. Hopefully they make you feel normal. There is MUCH more to be said about human behaviour and psychology in relation to what follows, but I have left it out. Please be mindful that it is not being ignored as you read.
I dug this out from a place I share my stuff I don’t like to say too publicly, because this society we live in doesn’t like to hear it.
However, after just having read an article that assures me saying “NOOOOOO!” to a baby/toddler/child is wrong, and physically picking them up to remove them from danger leaves the powerless, and using distraction techniques makes them incapable of improving their attention span, I felt it needed to be said.
I’m not necessarily disagreeing with any of the above – nor agreeing with it, either, for that matter. I know little about the research and experts involves, so don’t feel capable enough to comment.
What I will say is that, sometimes, we react in certain ways.
Which brings me to a couple of bad parenting moments I’d like to share with you (mostly in the hope that it’s not just me …). There are a few moments in my life like this.
A few months back, my twelve year old was being what I understand to be relatively “normal” behaviour for his age. Not, however, something I’ve read in any books, as they would not deign to tell it like it really is. I gleaned this “relative normalness” from a variety of sources; opinions, positions and research I trust, and much anecdotal reverie.
Anyhoo, he was just being plain nasty. I don’t like plain nasty. I also feel it my duty to educate, empower, explain and otherwise prevent any further Plain Nastiness from occurring. The flipside was, he was being nasty to another of my offspring, so that whole Maternal Mother Lion Protective thingy came to the fore.
He is a bright kid, ask questions and is more often than not open to accepting and understanding different points of view. We had many a calm, rational discussion about feelings, and behaviours, taking responsibility for actions yadda yadda (I’ll stop there before I get to wanky).
After many, many Plain Nasty moments and the seemingly unrelenting of it, I hit my virtual tolerance wall.
I hit it after some inane “Stop looking at me” or “I hate you ” or “Your breath smells” comment from the eldest to the middlest.
“STOP!” I yelled.
The look I got took me to the top of that wall and flung me from it’s edge.
“You are a nasty little fuck and I am sick of it. Get out of my fucking sight and go to fucking bed!”
I didn’t care that it was 5.17p.m.
I was beyond caring about my language and the tone of my voice.
After weeks of trying – and failing – to get my point across, I was beyond caring about calm, explanation and understanding.
I got a look, and a meek “I’m sorry.”
Sorry no longer cuts in when you’ve heard it three times a day after each and every rational talk, and the almost immediate, subsequent action disputes that apology in its entirety.
“I. Don’t. Give. A. Fuck!” I intoned. “Just get the fuck away from me.”
I was so angry, beaten and frustrated that I had no feelings for him when he slunk away, clearly remorseful.
On one level, it was the best damned parenting on earth; because he walked away, physically unharmed. And not dead.
I took a breath. I took a few beats. I sent a text to my friend …
It’s not the first time this has happened. I’m sure it won’t be the last.
There have been other moments.
My then three year old, who took being obstructive to a level I never thought possible. He used to add to the fun of this by screaming. Sometimes, he’d hit himself, when things were really not going well.
There is only so much screaming a person can take before wanting to lock someone in a soundproof breadbox.
I didn’t, in this instance. I put him in his pram, kicking and screaming, and walked his older siblings to school.
The screaming did. Not. Stop.
I almost, but didn’t quite, lose it when we walked out the gate and he grabbed the gatepost, causing the pram to turn sharply and my ankle to twist. It hurt.
I still held it when another, highly observant, school mums tells me “he’s not happy, is he”.
I didn’t even tell her to fuck off or call her a stupid cow.
I took a breath, to still my resolve and hang onto that calm, rational Mother, and lean into the pram to calm him.
And got a size 5 runner to one side of my head, and an ear piercing, brain shattering scream into my ear the other side.
I slapped his leg away in a reflex reaction and “You fucking little shit!” came out my mouth.
Yes, at the school gate.
I could name incident after incident over the last twelve years. Numerous walls have