I had some friends a few years ago that were absolutely lovely. I really enjoyed talking with this lady and we had a ton in common and our kids were the same ages and everything seemed perfect……then we met them in person. Her kids were absolute terrors! The children talked back to their mom, degraded their dad, had no sense of other people’s privacy, no respect for other people’s property and they routinely interrupted their parents and other adults for no good reason. They buried meat in our garden, they went into a closed room and proceeded to play in there, they helped themselves to juice, Pepsi and milk out of my refrigerator…… It was just horrible! I never spoke to that mom again. I was appalled!
That was my first expat friend experience. I hoped that it was just a fluke, but now that I have been here for almost 2 years, I am learning that it is not. My poor children only have a small number of friends (about 1 or 2 each) because I can not stand to have them hanging around with children who act like spoiled brat undisciplined jerks. Really, that is not too high a standard, I don’t think.
Last year, we were at an 8 – 10 year old soccer tournament and after the games were over there was a “treat dinner”. As I was walking up to try and find my boys, there is one boy at the head table who is standing on his chair commanding the attention of all around him so that he can BELCH the words “you suck” to the other team. All the while, his mother was standing to the side with a champagne glass in her hand and her back to her son pretending as if she didn’t notice this. What is wrong with these people??????
Even MY really good friends have children who act in such a way that I get the chills thinking about having them over sometimes. What do you do? Are my husband and I the only parents who discipline their children? Are we the only parents who still expect our children to respect authority (no matter if it is we, their parents, or another adult)? Are we the only parents who expect more out of our children than games of spitball and uncontrolled noise?
My children approach someone else’s home quietly and with respect. They say please and thank you and they do not initiate a game of football in the hall way. My children do sometimes interrupt, but we are working on that. Now, unfortunately, my children also commonly follow the lead of their more rambunctious friends and shortly after their beautiful display of good manners, they are running through the house yelling for their friend to “shoot him now!” and ducking behind a couch or something. This is always countered by a stern warning form me and an apology to my friend. I don’t ignore it or laugh it off – ever.
I totally understand that kids need to be kids and they need to run, yell, scream, fight, throw, kick, and pretend. I support this kind of behavior – if it is done in the proper place (that would be NOT in my living room where I keep my collection of silk scrolls and fragile Buddha heads). I am still finding little dried up spit balls on my walls (and 20 foot ceilings) from an incident that happened 6 months ago under the direction of a friend the boys had over! This drives me insane!
Why can people not gain control of their children? Why is it common to think that you are suppressing them if you discipline them? Why do people think that it is impossible to have control over your children and still allow them to be independent and free? Is it laziness? Are people just too tired to be arsed with setting and maintaining ground rules for their children? Do people just not care? Or even worse, do they not see that this behavior is rude, disruptive and just plain gross?
These children who act like holy terrors are really asking for something from their parents. They are asking for attention. Most children require structure and order. Not to the point where there is no leeway for creativity, but kids should know that by 9 AM they are expected to have their beds made and so on. What I find, very commonly among parents, is that they threaten, but never follow through, or they give unrealistic threats….. “if you do that again, I will rip your arm off” is not very realistic. The child hears the threat and in their mind says “right, you can’t rip my arm off, so I can do it again and nothing will happen except that you will yell some other ridiculous thing at me”, and they proceed with the offending behavior. On the other hand if you tell the kid to stop doing something and give them a realistic ultimatum, you have to follow through with it. If you don’t it is pointless. For instance when I tell my boys to stop arguing or I will take the offending toy and throw it in the trash, they know from past experience that I will do it, and they stop arguing. I don’t have to follow through with action any more because I have already proven that when I say something, I mean it. You can’t be sentimental, regretful or lazy while disciplining your children.
Maybe that’s the problem. You can’t be lazy. In this society of maids, drivers and cooks, (of which I have none) we have all become complacent and are in a daze maybe. Inaction makes me feel like I am drunk, so I can imagine how it must feel if you don’t do anything for yourself all day long then are expected to take care of your children. I am not trying to say anything bad here. Really, I am not. I just don’t understand. This is a problem all over the world, not just here. I observe these crappy kids in every country we have visited – except Japan……
No manners, no pride, rudeness and self preservation is what I see. I don’t want my kids around that, but the way things are going if I censor all their rude friends, they would have none………(and neither would I).