That Moment My Son Caught Me Off Guard And I Totally Wasn’t Ready

Have you ever found yourself betwixt the intense snares of a worthy competitor during a game of I Declare War, Who Sank My Battle Ship or Connect Four, who’s challenging your every move with statements that will make you second guess how good you really may be at playing the game? Their competitive nature gets the best of them as they begin making statements such as: I am the best, you can’t beat me, I won, I win, you lose! Which with time, turn into empty threats such as, I am going to beat you so bad that you won’t be able to tell your head from your foot.

If you are the proud parent to a First-Grader, you may understand the limit in examples I have given for lack of adult activities I get to partake in as well as understand that when a First-Grader calls you big head, they mean business and it’s a pretty harsh statement that may be the adult equivalent to something I can not get away with saying on a G-rated blog post. But hey, it’s not a curse word, right?

You’re laughing and having an enjoyable time as you let the little tyke win in some cases, and in other cases you go ahead and put the brakes on them so that they will know who’s the boss. My son and I love to play I declare War and it’s a terrific way to pass the time. In fact, it worked for me as I was teaching him that 9 was greater than 5 and that 6 was less than 7 and so on… He never knew that he was learning how to quickly identify the Highest Number/ Lowest Number, by becoming familiar with the numbers through doing something fun. At any rate, he became very good at the game, picking up his cards when he had the higher card and he’d boast when it appeared that he was driving down the cards that I had, on his way to a sweet victory.

So, here’s the scenario: My mother courageously accepted the I Declare War challenge with my little prince. Never did she know that she was stepping into the Lion’s Den. Brave Woman! He was up, then he was down. Then they were even. But if you know anything about I Declare War, you know that the game can switch up easy with a War card. You can be down to your last 4 cards and win another 6, in addition to keeping your four if your war card beats your opponent. And then from there, you could have collected all high cards which will change the direction of the game. Well, my son was up… He was feeling confident. He was on the edge of the sofa, as I sat nearby watching TV. I could hear him going on and on about how he was about to win this game against my mother.

Then out of nowhere, he says to my mom, “Yea! I am bout to whoop your ass!” Totally alarmed me. I looked at him and hit him with the parenting 101 question that you ask any kid when you know they will not be brave enough to say it again… “BINO! WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?” To which he nonchalantly replied, “I said I’m gonna whoop yo ass.” Loooong Pause. I did not know where to go from there because when I was a child, it stopped at the question of “What did you say” being asked. And there was no more commentary.  From there it was the parenting stare that spoke volumes about what would happen if you dare to say it again. You know the stare I am talking about… because we all have it. It’s the one that says, I didn’t think so! Or That’s what I thought!… Behind their silence from your intimidating glare. Suddenly I was left with …ok, just making sure that’s what you said… carry on. I am Joking…. But seriously, he wasn’t supposed to respond much less repeat exactly what he said.

Have you ever been in the ocean swimming away from the shore and you came upon the place where the ocean stopped? Of course not. And so, respectfully you don’t know what it looks like, as you have never been there and for the greater part of your life you have accepted that it doesn’t stop and if and wherever it does, you’d probably never see it. I was at a loss for words.

I looked to my mother and said, “do something!” I was not ready for this moment and nothing came to my mind under the natural realm of things to do, because this never happened before. I had never seen this occur in life.

I don’t want to laugh at the fact that he cursed, and I did not take it lightly at the time. The truth is, I was rather appalled and wondered where/who he picked this up from. It was an example of how we may come to face things in life where our children are concerned which may be unexpected, in which we are not prepared for. We will have to address it when and if it happens. If you are extremely lucky, you will get through this parenting thing without any fails with your perfect child.

Here’s the thing… You may have a monitoring tool on all the TV’s in the home, a security key on electronics limiting them to the G-Rated material they can access and you just might refrain from using said language while in the presence of your child. However, if you’re a single parent, you have no control over what your child may be exposed to when he’s not in your presence and you also have to consider that your child attends school with hundreds of other children that they interact with daily. You have no idea the upbringing or the language that those children are exposed to and so there is no way for you to monitor what your child may subsequently become exposed to while he/she is away from you at school, day camp, day care, etc. As you send your children back to school in the new Year, here’s what you can do. Continue to reinforce the rules and stand your ground. Hope for the best but be prepared for the worse. Be a constant reminder to them in making it very clear about what is acceptable and what is not. Don’t just draw the switch/belt and punishment until you have talked to them about their behavior and have let them know of the consequences. Their first offense may just be their last.

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For Those Mean Kids, Here’s A Powerful Message From My Six-Year Old As He Heads Back To School

As repulsive as it is to think about bullies, bad kids and mean kids, which to me are all the same; as a mother, I do know that they exist, from what I have seen take place on playgrounds, in back yards, on school grounds and at events. As much as I love ALL children, no matter whom they belong, and from whence they come, I cringe when I hear some of the nasty and hurtful things they say. I grovel at some of the things that I see them do.

It’s beyond kids just being kids, expressions of personalities and clashes, behavioral differences and learning how to get along. It’s the line that they cross, when their words and actions resemble behavior that seems to be taught, engrained and instilled into them, by perhaps elders. Just an assumption about where it may come from….

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Where else, would kids these days come up with their sometime, pre-historic assessments, that someone can/cannot do, or can/cannot afford something, or be something; due to their skin color? And why would they feel this, at the tender age of 6 or 7…8…9 and 10, that being a certain color, means you’re ugly or not worthy of playing with? And why would they ‘feel’ that it’s ok, to pick on another child just because the other child has a different color skin?

Who is responsible for bestowing credence, in these children’s behavior; whereas they would think it’s anywhere near on the side of right, to discriminate against another child or person, for that matter? The nature of the comments and actions just don’t seem to be conceived in the mind of a child. IJS.

We don’t want to think of any child as being bad, or even mean, but that’s the translation sometimes. So, perhaps they are just misguided? Kids are adorable-that’s how they are born. They only become nasty through experiences and exposure. Their behavior is either replicated behavior or sublimated and emulated by imitation.

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My child was outdoors today, and in his normal fashion of being highly energized, friendly and eager to play. He saw 4 kids, close to his age, one being a bit older, maybe 10- years old; and he asked if he could play with them. I said, yes of course. They were riding bikes, all except one. My son ran alongside of them. Shortly after, they said and did somethings that weren’t very nice. Later, I was told that my son endured it and continued to play. That’s just his nature. He loves everyone. When my parents took notice of what was going on, and how my son was being treated, I too became aware. I went outside to get him.

They hurt his feelings. His understanding was just that he wanted to play, and they were in return, being mean to him. That’s an innocent interpretation, until you hear about the entire ordeal. I summarize to say, I had a long talk with him. After-which, a long bubble bath fixed it for him. They may have hurt his feelings, but they didn’t break his spirit. This is what he had to sing to them, when it was all over. (Video Below- captions inside)

Let’s start at home, by doing the following:

Teach your own children first: Teach your children right from wrong. There’s so many ways to do this and so many books to read with good moral lessons, as well as PBS and other educational television shows, which teach children how to practice good manners, by introducing situations, where a child may learn what the right thing in those cases, are to do.

There are many value-lesson games which you can play together, as well as simply being an example yourself. Set the tone for your child. We must instill, into our children, that which we want to come out of them.

Sometimes, children can overhear us talking about other people or expressing language that is not fit for their ears, and when they leave the house, they repeat it. So, be mindful when the kids are watching. It’s just good manners.

Preparing your child: In a perfect world, your child won’t face any challenges at school with mean kids or bullies or racism. They will go off to school unhurt and they will return unhurt- especially when we feel that we’ve taught them how to act, so they will be ok.

But it’s just like being on the road. The lesson is, to watch out for the “other driver” because you can be as safe as possible, and still find yourself in an accident that was unavoidable. So, while our children are outdoors doing the right thing, we cannot always count on other children doing the right thing. We should however, foster a community where every child is looked after, as it was way back when…

Preparation is key in just teaching them that it’s not always something that they do or have done, which will cause someone to do something to them.

Having age appropriate conversations: Deciding on the best time to have any discussions about what may or may not occurs is up to the parent and the situations that their children are facing. But we do have to take into account age and timing. When is the time right? You’ll know. I didn’t think it was appropriate to discuss bullying or racism, for instance, until he came face to face with it. When he encountered a situation, where he would need answers or understanding, that’s when it would be necessary. Or if someone begins to pick at him, for no reason, taunting him and harassing him, then he needs to know what this is. And he needs to know that it’s not right, so that he will know the steps he needs to take, regarding reporting the behavior.

Letting them know it’s not their fault: I think that when your child comes home, after being taunted about their skin color, or their shoes, or their hair, their reading glasses, their clothes, facial or body features; it’s important for us as parents, being the closest people to them, to constantly be building their morale. This is where their self-esteem rest. These are the years that those mean comments can shape and mold a child, causing them to retreat to the inside, finding something wrong with themselves and then begin to dislike how they were made. It may even manifest into adulthood, where they too become bullies. We have to combat this as much as we can as parents, by building them back up, if someone tries to break them down. But to keep it in the road as well, (balance) so that they do not become full of themselves.

Let’s do our due diligence, when setting expectations of teachers to uphold a standard in what will not be tolerated in school, as it relates to bullying someone, beit due to their race or gender.

After we’ve done this, we hope that in the school that we selected for our children to attend, that there will be teachers who will also reinforce good behavior. We hope that teachers practice good behavior also, and do not discriminate against any child or use intimidation tactics to demolish our children’s esteem. We hope that teachers exercise their ability to teach manners and how good manners are what make people feel good. Doing good, being good and having that returned, is the ideal situation.

Originally posted here. On CAFEMOM