Observations by Key Monroe~~Home of Right Opinions, Cynical Viewpoints, and TMI in Hefty Doses
|E-mail: keymonroe [at] alltel [dot] net

May 15, 2004

Manipulative Brats and the Parental Units Who Love Them Anyway

It's so incredibly humorous when it's somebody else's kid!

Yes, I did laugh out loud when I read this sentence:

So, I calmly paid for my cat food, apologized for the disturbance, and stepped over my child's head, looked down, and said, "Fit-pitching gets you nothing in our family." I then exited the convenience store by myself, and got in the car.

Yeah, I'd say that went well. Seriously, it did. I wouldn't have handled it any differently myself. Well, except for the fact that Kelley is nicer than I am. She was left with an after-feeling of remorse, while hours later, I'd still be shaking off an after-feeling of irritation.

They don't know that they're clueless little punks. They come into this world fully believing that they are king and you are servant. There are no lengths too extreme, no request too lavish, if it temporarily satiates the demands of the adorable little leech.

Now, while "fit-pitching" requires no particular talent, manipulation is a skill. You get that with the brainy ones. Kelley provides a beautiful example of said behavior. When Spidey's request for a toy is turned down, he has this to say:

"Oh, well. I guess you'll just have to buy me a Special Treat and take me through the car wash, then."

Oh, yes! I nearly fell out of my chair. Miss Priss tries that bullshit EVERY DAY. She never tires of it. And, even worse, she says it with this authoritative tone, as though it is my duty to follow through with either her primary objective, or the alternative, which she has been so gracious as to offer as well.

What?! Of all the unmitigated gall. WTF? Whose script are you reading?

Obviously, I can't say what I'm thinking, so I calmly explain - again - that I am boss and she is child, and I will make the decisions and she will live with them.

And that is quite effective. In fact, it lasts ten, maybe fifteen minutes.

It's trial and error. Those of us who care, do the best that we can. What separates a good parent from a bad parent?

Many would say that that question is impossible to answer. I disagree.

A good parent makes every effort to parent their child in the exact manner that they would have liked to have been parented. We may never make it, but we strive for the ideal.

A bad parent refuses to give their child anything more than they had as a child. They want their child no more loved, nourished or educated than they were. God forbid they should actually make more of themselves. (Yeah, they're out there. I've had their children in my home.)

Character building is a precious job. In the extended entry, I've included an archive which entails my very first encounter with a foster child. (Yeah, this would be your turn to laugh at me!)

Our first placement was a three year old little boy named Jacob. He showed up on my doorstep on Mother's Day, 2001. He was dirty, shoeless, and wore a soil-crusted outfit at least a size too small.

First stop--bathtub. Second stop--Wal-mart. I got the basics. That lasted two days. Three days later, we were back in Wal-mart, and the honeymoon was already over.

Don't you hate it when people can't control their kids in Wal-mart? I do.

So this night was particularly humbling. Two points:
1. He'd been tossed around enough that caretaker = Mama. Therefore, I was already "Mama."
2. You CAN NOT physically discipline foster children. (It's against the law.)

I loved this kid. What's not to love? He was affectionate, charming, and HELL-ON-WHEELS!

Bribery. First stop, toy section. I instructed the kids to each pick out a toy. If you're well-behaved, it goes home with us; if not, it goes back on the shelf. You'll get three warnings.

Jacob picked out a bubble gun blower.

Fifteen minutes later it was back on the shelf.

Yeah, he had a fit. I shopped for socks and pretended that I didn't know the wailing kid in the cart.

He got louder. Wal-mart staff began to hover. I had to address it. I told him sternly that I expected him to quiet down. He managed to communicate to me (just as sternly) that that wasn't going to happen unless I gave him back his toy, which in his mind was a shotgun.

Nope. He wasn't getting it back. I don't renegotiate my terms after the fact.

But he did his part to give me mine. There is no doubt that I came across as one of those fluff-mom's who over-rationalized and under-disciplined.

The last VERY ARTICULATE words that he managed to belt out before we had the chance to clear a dozen or so gawkers:


Heh, heh, uh, excuse us...

Amazingly enough, this is the same kid who once RAN up to an old lady in Waffle House (complete stranger, mind you) and yelled, "Granny! I'm going to give you a hug!" He then CLIMBED OVER another lady to do so.

Yeah, I know. Issues. They start young. I would have kept that one though, had it been an option.

posted by Key on 05:23 PM | Comments (10)

Special thanks as always is are due to Kelley and you for reminding me why I don't do it.

Posted by: Adam at May 15, 2004 06:44 PM

Ahhh, but you will...

Posted by: Key at May 15, 2004 06:52 PM

Don't you throw that hex on me!

Posted by: Adam at May 15, 2004 06:56 PM

I love the "car wash" line.

That boy gets an extra bowl of ice cream tonight.

Posted by: Sam at May 15, 2004 07:21 PM

LOL! It's always such a hoot when it happens to someone else!! ;)

Foster parents are truly gifts from God.

Posted by: pam at May 15, 2004 08:28 PM

Thanks for the mention, dahling. Yes, Sam, the car wash is one of my kid's favorite places in the world to go. Like it's DisneyWorld or something in there.

My kid *was* a little monster the other day; he is going through a really rough phase right now. But, like all things, this too shall pass...on to something (probably) worse! ;)

Adam, you are doomed, my brudda. You have genes that need passing on. You gotta have kids!

As for "Gawddamit Mama, give me my shotgun!" - haw! Snort!

Posted by: kelley at May 15, 2004 10:44 PM

We all come into the world as little psychopaths. The greatest disservice that our parents can do to us (and everyone that comes in contact with us) is fail to correct that.

Posted by: Juliette at May 16, 2004 06:08 AM

So true, Juliette!

...and much more concise than my version. ; )

Posted by: Key at May 17, 2004 05:43 PM


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