There’s something that has been bugging me over the past couple of years. First it was the participation trophies for having your name on the roster. You didn’t even have to actually play. The snot nosed kid that sat on the bench crying every game because the grass was too wet or his cleats got mud in them (we all know that kid), well, even he gets a trophy. His total playing time was maybe 30 minutes during the entire season. Johnny Twoshoes that scored 85% of the goals and carried the team because his mother secretly banged Drew Brees (we all know this kid too!), well guess what; he gets the same participation trophy as Snotty McSnoterson over there. I don’t think that’s completely fair, and neither does a good majority of parents. Since most of us moms weren’t lucky enough to have a super secret affair with a professional athlete, we take pride in our child’s moderately deserved participation trophy. Heck, that’s the only way I can keep up with what sports my kids have already tried and how many years they have been in a particular sport. Don’t judge me.
Taking it a step further, there seems to be this “don’t embarrass the child/no one should ever have their feelings hurt/completely child centered bull-poopy movement”. Is this supposed to prepare our children for the real world? Let me explain where my frustration comes from. I taught pre-k and I absolutely loved my job and my kids in my classroom. What I did not love is all of the touchy feely, don’t hurt their feelings crap! We once received a memo about not using time out or separating them from the group as discipline for misbehaving. Now, this was preschool. Misbehaving is something that occurred on a daily…no, hourly basis. Some things are little like running in the classroom. Some things are big, such as slapping your friend with a book because she took the one with the ladybug on the front. Obviously one is more serious than the other. The first scenario needs a quick reminder of “we use walking feet in the classroom”. The second scenario should do what?! I don’t know, since “time out” was our only leverage.
The reasoning behind this was their feelings. Some where once upon a few months ago, some idiot did a study or not, I really don’t know. Anyway, this guy decided that, putting children in time out would hurt their baby tiny feelings and would embarrass them. Well guess what?! It hurt little Lizzie’s feelings when Jerkface Jr. smacked her in the face with a book. It hurt her feelings that he was only told to remember the rules. It hurt her feelings that 17 other children saw her get knocked upside the head with the dinosaur book. It hurt my feelings that one of my babies was hurt and upset and I couldn’t fix it. Jerkface Jr. will go to kindergarten thinking its OK to smack kids with books, blocks, trucks or whatever her decided to use as a means to get what he wants.
On to the next memo in how to create brats. We were told not to reward the children for good behavior. “Children should behave because it’s the right thing to do”. I call BULL CRAP! Yes, you have some children that will behave no matter what and we all love those children. Then you have children like Jerkface Jr. that need a sticker chart or some other behavior modification tool, to get him to behave. Eventually, he will learn to do the right thing because it IS the right thing. Right now, bribery is the right thing. It gets Jerkface Jr. to behave occaisonally, so he can have a special treat from the treasure box and sweet angel Lizzie gets treats regularly just for being Lizzie DoGood.
Let’s not leave out the parents that don’t want to hurt their child’s feelings. This was a class of 4-5 year olds. None of them could put on shoes that weren’t flip flops, and only a few could zip their own jackets. A good portion of my day was spent zipping and buttoning pants, tying shoes and honestly, telling kids to figure it out. These children nowadays are so behind with everyday things because their parents don’t want to hurt their feelings. I had a child in my class that did not learn how to put his own coat on until well after his 5th birthday. Are you freaking kidding me?!? We parents get so caught up in the rush of everyday that we don’t teach our children the simple things and then when we try to teach them…they struggle. After watching them struggle for approximately 30 seconds, we do it for them. We don’t want them to lack any confidence by hurting their feelings a little. Even if we aren’t the ones hurting their feelings. His dang coat is hurting his feelings. I’m not going to be putting on my 16 year old’s coat because I didn’t want his feelings hurt when he was 2 and couldn’t figure it out in under 30 seconds.
I just want to know when we as a society became so caught up on feelings. In the real world, if I slap a kid with a book, I’m going to get time out. I’ll lose my job and do some time in jail. Time out at its finest for us adults. If I do an extra special how ya doin’ kind of job, I’ll get a bonus or raise or even just a small praise from my boss or colleagues. If I suck at something, I’ll know because my mom isn’t going to jump out of the bushes and fix it for me so I can have this false sense of confidence. Yes, my feelings will be hurt. Yes, I will get over it. Then I’ll take the knowledge that I suck at this one particular thing and find something that I’m super awesome at eventually or I’ll keep trying this thing I suck at until I rock it out. I don’t get a participation trophy for being a mom. I don’t even get a thank you for washing their stinky clothes. I know, motherhood is a thankless job, but dang it, where’s my trophy?!? My kids are polite, sweet, respectful little creatures. They didn’t come out like that! I just worry we are raising a society of overconfident, self-centered, egotistical Jerkface Jr.’s. Everyone’s going to walk around thinking that they’re the best until someone says they think their hair is stupid, then they’ll run screaming and crying with flailing arms to their moms basements and refuse to come out without their cubbie and a glass of chocolate milk with the special straw.