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.