In my previous post I pasted my part in a discussion I was having with people on facebook about children who are disruptive in public and their parents.

I guess I'm tired of hearing about the child in public that does something a bystander doesn't like. And, I'm really tired of the only reason any bystander can think of for the child being disruptive is that their parents are lacking the tools necessary to deal with the child- or to be more mean about it, the parent is "bad."
I find the overall discussion to be very much negative towards parents and really unproductive. I say unproductive because, ultimately, someone always goes to the "if the kid can't behave they (the family) shouldn't be in public" scenario- and they go there quickly. I don't think children (or their parents) should be treated like criminals unless they are actually charged by law enforcement.

So writing about how I had a problem with this "don't come out in public if you can't manage your kids" thing made me realize I also have some problems with the "remove a misbehaving child from the situation" thing. In my head, before this argument, E would reach a point where he and I could communicate about my expectations for his behaviour, he would understand my expectations, he would choose to comply with them or not, and if he choose not to he would be removed from the situation.
But now. I don't know if my intentions behind these thoughts are pure or vindictive, but now I have a different scenario playing out in my head. Sure, removing E from the situation is definitely still on the table. But, I think I would only do that if I was the one gaining the most from it. I definitely wouldn't do it for the people around me... and I know how selfish that sounds but I really don't mean it in a selfish way. It would happen that way because I think it's the best choice for helping my son in the long term- to let him stay in the situation and work with me to figure out how to behave acceptably.

Marc is the one that first came up with the explanation of why I care enough to fight about the "remove the kid to end the disruption" thing. He's the one that said to me that a kid in a restaurant is a disruptive situation, not a disrespectful one. So it's like, if I didn't remove E from the area he was disrupting BECAUSE I wanted to bother the people around me, that's disrespectful. But if I didn't remove him because the way I want to parent him is to make him want to comply with expectations of his behaviour, and in the process he continued to disturb people, I don't think that's disrespectful. Yes, I'm putting my child's needs and the needs of my relationship with that child ahead of a peaceful atmosphere for others, but that's what I signed up for when I became a parent- to do what is best for that child.  I'm realizing how that's a totally different role from being a teacher. A kid who is disrupting the class because he intends too be disruptive is treated the same as a kid that causes a disruption unintentionally- and it has to be that way because a teacher is looking out for the best interests of 30 kids at a time.

We don't do permissive parenting but we could be considered that depending on what part of our parenting was looked at. Like "Do you let your kid put pretty much anything in his mouth?" yes.
But I know we aren't actually permissive. We focus on communicating that's the most important thing for us with E. An example: E is not gentle. When he is around other kids, and adults too, the first thing is does is try to stick a finger in one of their eyes. Then he might try to grab hair or swat their face and finally he'll pull on their arms and hands. He's also starting to bite. But we don't exclude him from being around other kids because he does those things- we know he is just trying to understand the world around him. Instead of excluding him, we talk to him about it. We demonstrate a soft touch to him. And, we stop him before he causes any real injuries. Now, as his parents we do see these techniques improving his behaviour over time. But, maybe someone watching him attack Rebecca two or three times during the church service would think we're permissive.
The people that know us, though, they celebrate with us. Like today, E didn't touch Rebecca during church for the first time ever. They were playing with the same toys and everything. And I shared that with Jytte afterwards and she was as excited for E as I was. He's learning and growing...just like every other child in the world. So maybe it will take him a few times before he'll sit still for an entire meal at a restaurant, but I'm not going to remove him when he doesn't because he can only learn if we work on it together.

I think my root issues are two-fold. 1) in general there are expectations that children should act more mature then they are developmentally- and those expectations fall all kids at a younger and younger age. And I'm not just talking behaviour. I'm talking about fashion and romance and toys even.
and then 2) people want compliance for compliance sake. Sit down at a desk and do work all day long except when we tell you that you can get up. Not because it's healthier or because at six years old you're developmentally inclined for it, but because it's easier to control you this way.
And if I take issue with that then I'm a hippie, or permissive, or I'm not preparing my kid properly... or maybe I just SEEM that way to someone who doesn't really know us.

So I guess it comes down to a question of do I want to raise the best child I know how to raise? or do I want people to think I am raising the best child, even if that means not doing my best for him? I think in the long term the results will be the same- at least in basic definition. But while E's a child, me and society are just going to have to differ in our opinions. Short term losses, long term gains.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...