I was talking to a father once about disciplining children and how things are so very different from when we were growing up. He told me a story about how his three year old rolled her eyes at him. He responded by telling her: “I will smash you and make another one!” His wife was horrified that he’d spoken to their child that way. He didn’t see the problem with what he’d said.
Why can’t all parents be like this? I pondered this while thinking back on an experience I had in a grocery store. A little boy about 8 years old asked his mother for candy. She said, “No.” He replied, “Mom, you’re being such a b!+ch!!” I immediately stepped back because I didn’t want to accidentally become collateral damage as Timmy’s mom laid hands on Timmy. But she did no such thing. She calmly responded “Timmy, I’ve told you before not to speak to me like that.” Oh, so Timmy’s cursed at his mother before? And since he still had all of his teeth and felt comfortable enough to do it again, he clearly understood that there were no consequences for blatant acts of disrespect.
Timmy should have been smashed and Timmy’s mom should have begun working on Timmy 2.0. But he wasn’t smashed and Timmy 2.0 is probably Timmy 1.1 with even more defects than the original. Had I lost my mind and said something like that to my mother, I would have almost certainly been smashed. Even today, I’m likely to get smashed for such disrespect.
Over the years, I’ve seen similar incidents again and again. When did parents start allowing their kids to speak to them any kind of way? It seems as though they’re taking this whole “I want to be my kids’ friend” thing just a bit too far. My mother isn’t a violent mother and never abused us, however, we had more respect for her than to curse at her or call her out of her name. That sort of thing simply didn’t happen in our house. When I see kids on TV shooting their classmates, committing (other) crimes and adopting a variety of vices, I think of little Timmy. But even moreso, I think of little Timmy’s mother (and father who I didn’t see) and wonder if she realizes that she’s “got next?” Does she know that she’s likely rasising the next idiot to be featured on the 11 o’clock news? Probably not. She’s probably of the school of thought that “freedom of expression” and lack of rules will lead to a more creative and successful child. I’m not buying it. I’m #TeamSmash!