Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Today I read something that made me angry. It was a blog entry, written by a blogger I've followed for about a year, in the form of a long, long letter to his daughter to commemorate her fifth birthday--her fifth birthday and the fact that she's SATANIC DEMON.

The little she-devil is apparently a terror, a REALLY BAD CHILD who's always screaming NOOOOOOOO, throwing tantrums, demanding the toys her brother's playing with, in general being a total pain in the ass, OR sobbing hysterically. Once in a while the Layers of Evil peel away to reveal a "sweet, charming, cuddly little princess," but not for long.

It sounds like she's a real handful. Having experienced a few periods of major tantrums with Lula, I know how hard it can be to deal with a kid who's out of control--how scary it can be, how easily you can feel like a total loser for not knowing what to do...for just wanting to stuff a dish towel in that screaming face. I know having a pain in the ass kid is NO FUN, and I can relate, like most parents probably, to this guy's problem.

But. When he says he first tried to "comfort her "(during her fits) and, later, he says "that didn't work, so I learned to just stay away from you," something doesn't sound right. Comfort her? When she's making a big fuss about putting her shoes on? Why comfort her?

To me it sounds like the talk of a confused parent--someone who's been fed too much "the child is the center of the family," "everyone needs to express their feelings," and "use your words" crap--someone who, for whatever reason, doesn't feel he can put his foot down with his kid, someone whose kid is quickly turning into a little monster.

The letter goes on, mixing in some "nice" stuff about the daughter's gymnastics class to soften the blow: you get the feeling the dad cares, but not quite enough...or maybe he's clueless. Either way, it makes me mad: if you have a kid, you don't "write her a letter" on her birthday talking about how awful she is, especially if you're posting the letter on the internet. It's not fair to your daughter, and it makes you look like a pretty lame parent.

Frankly, I'm sick of overly solicitous parents who overprotect their spoiled kids, treating them like neurotic royalty. The current child-centric trend, which encourages parents to treat their kids like delicate flowers ("Timmy, is it ok with you if we go wash our hands now?"), is annoying and stupid. What's wrong with telling your kid to stop being a brat? What's wrong with being the parent?

If my dear letter-writer doesn't solve the problem of his misbehaving daughter, his daughter might throw tantrums the rest of her life. And if she keeps throwing tantrums, I guess she'll keep sobbing hysterically afterwards, too.

Who could blame her?

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