…unless you are four and it means absolutely sod all.
Teaching kids manners, courtesy and societal norms is one of the biggest responsibilities of being a parent. But it doesn’t come without it’s challenges. Like any animal the natural urge is to snatch and grab and push and shove and thwack people over the back of the head with Buzz Lightyear.
Even as an adult, knowing right from wrong, it is hard sometimes not to wonder about kicking irritating people in the shins for, well being irritating. But we don’t because it’s not nice and it’s also a bit illegal, especially if you don’t make it look like a shopping trolley accident.
Instead we learn that the correct action is to smile sweetly and make small talk – ‘Oh no of course that’s fine, no I don’t mind AT ALL!’ – before going home for a good old fashioned bitch.
In our house we try and operate a no snatching, hitting, pushing or saying nasty things to each other policy which is REALLY successful every other Tuesday for 10 minutes if there is an adequate supply of biscuits and Spiderman is on the tellie.
And then I’ll be like ‘Well I don’t care, come and tell me, don’t just hit him! Say you’re sorry please!’ And he’ll be like…And I’ll be stood there thinking – hey is this kid really sorry? Just because, I don’t know, he doesn’t really look that sorry and he almost, kind of like, sang that apology. I mean he may as well have been doing the can-can whilst releasing party poppers, such was the atmosphere of general exuberance.
So it seems the problem here is two fold:-
1. How to teach kids to appear sorry
2. How to teach kids to actually BE sorry
I’ve talked a little before about my worries of raising a sociopath and we are still working on encouraging empathy for others…
Empathy = GOING NOWHERE FAST.
So I try the rational concept of comeuppance. Do unto others etc etc.
And as it works out karma is indeed a total bitch, often wielding a big plastic guitar.
And sometimes that’s the only way to learn…
**************P.S. I have TWO books out now! You can nab them on Amazon here or in all good bookshops and supermarkets :)