RANT – The #1 Stupidest Parenting Fail… Are YOU Guilty of This?

Sometimes…I confess.

MamaBear just utterly despises namby-pamby, wimpy pathetic parents who lack the brass-plated balls to inspire their kids….in the *right* way.

Let me explain.  I now decree the following.

Children can scientifically be divided into 3 easy-to-generalize categories.

Leaders, Followers and Independents.

  • Leaders are those kids around whom their peers gather.  They say "jump", the other kids say, "How high?  And while I'm in the air, might I massage your feet at the same time, pretty please?"

Yep, I'm sayin'.

  • Followers are those sad pathetic excuses for carbon-based life-forms who waste oxygen and who blindly follow others without thinking.  They live to be told what to do, when to do it, and how to then worship the leaders at the completion of it.

    Blech.

  • Independents are kids who think for themselves and both refuse to be led by the leaders or craven lemmingize with the followers.  Their attitude is to live life as they see fit; whomever likes them is welcome to be friends, and whomever doesn't….hell, it's their loss indeed.

In my family, HD1 and HD2 and HS1 and HS2 are all independents.

True, there was a time when HD2 showed a tendency to be a follower; luckily I recognized that when she was in 2nd grade and crushed that tendency dramatically (it was easily done, actually; I merely spent a huge amount of time figuratively beating into her her own personal greatness and magnificence, and how if someone doesn't like her, that someone is a damned fool idjut.  It worked beautifully; HD2, as you already know from reading my blog, is my bonafide space alien who lives life to the fullest and makes no apologies for herself).

But I digress.  🙂

With the above as an introduction, let me now regale you with the #1 stupidest parenting fail.

And it's this.

Parents who dismally *fail* to lead by example.

  • It's truly nauseating. 

Contrary to what some parenting gurus would like you to believe, kids are *not* born with an innate sense of right and wrong.

Kids are *not* born knowing how to think about others if that means they themselves might get hurt in the process.

Kids are *not* born understanding empathy!

Kids need to be taught.

They need to be led by example.

And who's the biggest example in their lives?

You are.

The all-powerful parent.

Tell me now, and tell me seriously.

How are you leading your child by example?

If you see an injustice happening while walking with your child outside, do you….act?

  • Or do you ignore it, tell your kid, that's not *my* problem, and walk away?

If you see a friend treating another like moose feces, do you get up in that friends' face and say, "HEY!  That's just *not* right!"

  • Or do you shrug your shoulders and say, well, they're adults, what can I do?

Well?

The very worst thing you as a parent can do is fail to guide your child, lead by example, and walk the walk you talk.

After all, they're the ones who make up our next generation…and they're also the ones who will take care of *you* when you become 'way elderly in the future!

You see….

You *always* want to ensure your kids not only know right from wrong, but also have the backbone to take a stand and make a difference.

It only takes one small example to inspire others.

Our society recently saw this in action!  To wit:

Jennifer McKendrick, Pennsylvania Photographer, Refuses To Photograph Teen Bullies

…A Pennsylvania photographer has chosen not to photograph a group of high school girls for their senior portraits after she found evidence of the teens bullying other students on Facebook.

Jennifer McKendrick, from Indiana County, Pa., wrote on her own Facebook page earlier this week that she came across another Facebook page with nasty comments from four high school girls whose names matched her scheduled clients.

She emailed the girls and their parents to cancel their senior photo shoots, while including screenshots of their comments to explain why she was calling off the session.

McKendrick wrote more about her decision on her personal blog in a post titled "I Won't Photograph Ugly People." …MORE…

Think about this for a moment, okay?

This photographer saw a group of high school seniors bullying another on Facebook…and refused to have them as a client.

She blogged about it over at "I won't photograph ugly people".

Now *that*…..is admirable….beyond mortal comprehension.

There's been lots of talk about her already:

I especially like the comment at

to wit:

…Especially on the topic of bullying. We all love to wring our hands about mean behavior in kids, but few of us really do anything about it. And the fact is that grownups too often are setting the standard for dissing other people. That includes, for example, parents gossiping about neighbors in front of their kids. It also includes politicians. Our state legislators were extremely quick to pass the nation's sternest anti-bullying law for schools. But just listen to the language they use when talking to and about each other. It's easier to prescribe for others than to take responsibility for our own actions….MORE…

See that quote?

We all love to wring our hands about mean behavior in kids, but few of us really do anything about it.

So now…

You.  Tell.  Me.

Are *you* leading your child by example?

And if not….why the *hell* are you a parent in the first place?

It's something to think about…indeed.

Parent powerfully,

— MamaBear

ps – speaking about bullying, have you seen:

Tell Your Child Today – Lead by Example

Sometimes our kids find themselves part of a mob.

Or possibly standing next to a group of other rabid vultures who are picking on someone.

Facing down a crowd…

It's scary, it *certainly* is that!

But….it's also the *right* thing to do.

Today, tell your child to lead by example.

If they see someone is being bullied, if at all possible, walk up to them, take them by the hand, comfort them and lead them away.

If not, report them to school authorities but also….

Go up to the kid afterwards and apologize for not standing up in the first place.

It is true that sometimes, we *are* too scared to make a stand.  And honestly, while that is *wrong* with a capital W, it's a plain fact of life. 

In other words, encourage your child to lead by example and either be there for the person in question, or man up, cupcake, enough to admit when they dropped the ball.

It's extremely empowering, indeed.

Parent powerfully,

— MamaBear

ps – speaking about leading by example, have you seen:

 

“My kids secretly pinch one another, how can I stop this?

From the mailbag:

"Dear Mama Bear,

I have two young children who generally get along well, but sometimes get really mad at each other and pinch each other when I'm not looking.  How can I get them to stop this habit?

Thin-skinned in Washington"

Dear TSiW,

Sigh. 

MamaBear assumes this has been going on for some time, aye?

Gentle parent, might I inquire….

Why the hell didn't you stomp on this action the first time it happened?

Hmmm?

That's the challenge of parenting kids; if you let them get away with something once or twice or 849 times, they'll simply up the ante until something (generally, *you*) give way in a screaming howling fit of anger and angst.

Not good at all!

The very first time one kid pinched another, you should have:

  • Quietly read the instigator the riot act

and then

  • Told the pinchee that he could pinch the pincher as punishment.  Then comfort/cuddle the pinchee and turn your attention to the pincher.

and then

  • Explained to the pincher that you will now show him just how it feels times 3… and pinch him.

The next step would be:

  • After the crying is over, sit the pincher down.  Try to get at what drove him to the actions of hurting his sibling.  Ask, what other actions might have been better?  How else could he have dealt with whatever issues were bothering him?
    (really spend time here as well; getting at the root cause will be quite helpful for the next step).

then:

  • Ask the pincher if he enjoyed being on the receiving end of the pain.  Ideally, the answer will be "no."  Emphasize how this is what he deliberately did to his brother, and didn't he love his brother?  Ideally, the answer will be "yes."  Have him apologize to his brother.

then:

  • Have him write a story about what he did wrong, why he did it, and how he could have behaved differently in the future.

Whew!

It's draining, sure, but consequences like the above really get to the heart of the matter.

The plain fact is, telling one sibling, "we do not pinch our brothers" or "we do not push our sisters" etc. is just plain B.S.

Unless you proactively *make* the child *feel* what it feels like, the point just will *not* be made.

And it's critical to make sure you deliver the consequences asap so that not only is the importance of the situation not lost…but the pinchee will see he's just as important as the pincher to you.

Additionally, don't forget – it's critical to tell the pincher that you believe in him 110% that he will learn the best way to deal with things and not hurt his brother, and that you tell the pinchee how proud you are that he's handling the situation so well.

Find reasons to praise both and keep their spirits up!

In MamaBear's case, there's been hardly any physical altercations between her cubs because they learned that whatever they do unto each other will be done 3 fold unto them.

Kids aren't dumb, TSiW…they'll learn.  But they need to have boundaries proactively shown to them…and they need to experience the consequences of their actions bigtime.

So take back your parenting power and start alpha-parenting your cubs.  Trust me, you'll see improvements in no time fast.

Thus speaks MamaBear

“My kid is being bullied but I do NOT approve of her fighting.”

From the mailbag:

"Dear Mama Bear,

My 11 year old is continuously coming home crying because she's being teased and hit by other kids at her school.  I really worry about her self-esteem!  However, I do not think fighting solves any problems, so how can I help her stop the bullying?

Sincerely,

Baffled in Texas"

Dear BiT,

You don't think fighting solves anything?

You….really….don't think …. fighting solves anything?

My gosh, another bleeding heart liberal parent.  Sigh…..

Allow me to give you a brief wee bit of an alert; you have roused up MamaBear and riled her up more than a Soccer Mom whose darlin' little angel just got sidelined for kicking the coach.

You've been warned….

Well now, isn't that just peachy! 

You see the pain and agony your child is going through, but because of your own personal values, you choose to forbid her of the one action that might actually do some good.

Why not simply give the kids who are tormenting your child a couple of iron bars to complete the beating, aye?

Right now, it seems like you're laboring under the delusion that 11 year olds can be reasoned with and be expected to behave like normal sane human beans.

Lady, from what planet of milk-toasted-ness do you hail??

The plain fact is – bullies look for victims. 

Victims are kids who cannot or will not defend themselves.

With me so far?  Yes?

Well then, allow me to deliver the following startling fact into your pollyanna life, okay?

Bullies will take things to the nth degree, even up to causing the victims to commit suicide, unless they are stopped.

You don't want a dead kid, right?

Didn't think so.

I'm assuming you've already gone to the principal and board of education to demand action. 

But even that….that's kinda sorta useless because bullies can accost your child in the bathroom, after school, before school, on Facebook….anyplace where your kid is unprotected for more than a few seconds.

Some bullies can *only* understand physical retaliation.  Let me tell you a brief story; I was bullied like you mention when I was 12 years old.  I was told by my idiot school counselors that "Fighting wasn't allowed" and that "I'd get suspended" if I punched back.

My parents, bless their souls, told me:

Listen.  You fight back, you get suspended, we'll reward you.  Case closed.

The next day, I crazily beat the hell out of the ring-leader…and they stopped picking on me from that day forward.

Coincidence?

I think not.

BiT, kids who bully are vultures.  Plain and simple.  They're scum of the earth.

You owe it to your child to give her permission to fight back and permission to stand up and say to herself, "I will *not* accept  this treatment."

You cannot save her nor can you stop the bullying.   It has to come from within *her*

Here are some resources for dealing with bullies:

And here are some videos to watch.



Bullying is a serious, serious *serious* problem…and you simply have to give your child to answer the bullies in ways they *understand*.

And none of this sparkly rainbow "fighting solves no problems!" junk; that will be a real comfort to you if your kid decides to escape it all by suicide.

You are your child's main source of strength and inspiration.  Give her the tools she needs to *stop* being a victim and *start* discovering her own inner greatness.

It will stay with her for a lifetime.

Thus speaks….Mama Bear