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Poetry and snark blogger who also has a creative side (who knew?)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Did I Ask You If You Wanted To Sit Down?!!

I never used to have the barely controllable urge to curse at children. Now, I find myself wanting to shriek like a banshee, hurling expletives at 7 year-olds. What has happened? Have I changed or have children become more irritating?

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Let me illustrate with a true example: the other day while volunteering at the Nature Center, I escorted a group of first graders into our exhibit room for a brief introductory lesson. I gathered them together and nicely instructed them to have a seat where they could view the pictures I had put up on the board. One little demon continued standing. I again instructed him to please take a seat, at which point this Devil's spawn stated, "I don't want to sit down," and remained standing. My immediate urge, which I had to suppress, was to grab this mini schmuck in sneakers by his collar, get up in his grill, and yell, "Sit your ass down, you little shithead!" Let me reiterate, I did not do this. I did, however, firmly and non-too-nicely say, "I said, 'sit down,'" at which point, he finally did.

This incident left me wondering whether kids' behavior has become more oppositional and defiant or whether I have just lost my patience in dealing with it. Or both. And I'm not talking about kids who have emotional issues that affect their behavior, are truly ADHD, are autistic, etc. These kids I can still deal with just fine. I'm talking about your run of the mill brats. They seem to be getting brattier. And to have more of a sense of entitlement. These are the kids that seem to think that rules don't apply to them, that they are somehow special.

Perhaps we should look at the parents for a clue to why these children are so out of control. I have the opportunity to interact with parent chaperones during field trips to the Nature Center, and often, the parents behave worse than the children! Talking on cell phones during instruction, interrupting teaching with their private conversations, disappearing for smoke breaks, blatantly ignoring instructions not to disturb wildlife, eating on the trails-these are just some of the behaviors in  which I commonly see parents engage when they are supposed to be assisting the children with their assigned tasks. That's in addition to showing up for a day of hiking at a Nature Center dressed in designer leather boots, mini skirts, high heels, expensive sweaters, and all other manner of inappropriate clothing.

Then there are the parents (typically the dads) who fancy themselves "nature boys." They seem to think that the field trip is for them and forget that they have kids to chaperone. I often find these dads wandering around the exhibit room, chatting with the Nature Center staff, or asking me dozens of questions unrelated to the field-trip. While I appreciate the interest these guys take in the natural environment, I find that I frequently have to redirect them to the task at hand. "It looks like your group may be wandering into that patch of poison ivy over there instead of looking for woodpecker holes in trees. You may want to try to bring them back to the group." (Translation: Wake up, jackwagon!)

I find that I am often tempted to take two of these parents' heads and bash them together. My theory is that the hollow sound it might make may be akin to the sound of the redbellied woodpecker pecking holes in the rotting trees to search for insects. I could have the children listen as I smashed their oblivious parents' empty heads together and compared the sound to a woodpecker. Violent impulses relieved and teachable moment. Now, that's a good field trip!


  1. I have no doubt that it is the parents fault for the most part. They don't teach them the respect for adults that my parents taught me. You and I have about the same amount of patience.

  2. that is one of the finest examples i have ever heard of a "teachable moment."

  3. I hear ya, lady. I don't know what the solution is.

  4. It's the Parents!
    Teachers have become glorified babysitters in my eyes. :0( Sad,Sad commentation.

  5. All birds and trees look pretty much the same to me. I am hopeless at identifying poison ivy/oak/ and it's a wonder I don't have it more often. That being said I totally get where you are coming from with children and their listening skills. I asked 5 times today before the youngest I nanny for put on her shoes, another 8 for the 3 older boys to place their shoes where they belong after taking them off--I swearthey make me crazy!

  6. Don't know what drew me back here tonight.
    Senior moment maybe.;0)
    Fed your fish ...all is good.

  7. OH Sweetheart! I can Sooooo relate to your rants! I have a theory about this and your question conserning both "Kids & Parents". I think they do act and truly feel entitlement. It's all part of the "Looking out for #1" generation. The ..I..ME..MY..Attitude that became epidemic about the time Mothers were taken from the home to work and the raising of our little treasures was left up to people who became either burnt-out quickly, or never gave a S--t to begin with and were just in it for the pay.(Small as that might have been) What do you think?___=^..^=___Kittie

  8. From the beginning of this post the words that came to mind was oppositional defiant, as you stated. I worked in a school (K-8) for 5 years, and I know it well. I taught art there. I asked an eight year old to stop playing with her pencil crayons and look up while I gave directions. I was insistent because I was tired of this class asking me what to do, right after the lesson. She looked at me, and kept touching the crayons. Then I sauntered up to her, right into her face said, you can play with your crayons outside the room, or you can choose to paint with all of us after the lesson, it's your choice. She trembled, not out of fear, but because she wanted to win, but she also wanted to paint. After a one minute stare down, she finally left the crayons alone, and looked up to watch the directions. I wanted to smash her head against the wall that day. (to answer your question, yes I believe it is the parents, her Mother is a piece of work too.)

  9. It's the parents!! My ex husband's daughter is like that. She did not like me because I gave her rules and discipline. Something she was definitely not use to. I was not about to have a little girl think she was an adult and do whatever she chose and talk to me however she wanted. I think she was happy when I left.


Rant with me. Come on, you know you want to!