Friday, 12 January 2007

Nature vs. Nurture (aka terrifying child scenario)

I'll deviate a little from my regular path today to say that: One of the advantages of blogging anonymously is that I can say, my dear friend M, your kid scares me shitless.


...ooor maybe *NEVER*...

Hyperactive Children by HolyHolySnappers

He's about 5, and today when you came to my house for dinner, he
  1. Almost kneed our friend in the balls by jumping onto him
  2. Headbutted an 18 month old baby
  3. Broke (yet another piece of my favourite) crockery
  4. Threw a medium-sized rock at the head of the third child there, causing a bleed and a large bump


I realised today that our other friend A thinks I hate children. I don't. It's just that whenever he sees me around kids, it's around your son.

He's terrifying. He kicks, hits and bites, and even though he's rather little, it can be quite painful. He almost took J's friend's eye out about a month ago. I feel I get more mutual, constructive interaction with the above mentioned baby as well as with our other friend's three year old, than I do with your son.

He is not necessarily malign, but completely lacks impulse control and shows most of the signs of ADHD. He doesn't make eye contact and gets incredibly riled up when eating sugar or by commotion (such as a party). Get it sorted, before you know it he'll be 14 and too large to handle.

Phew. Good to get that off my chest. The point of this whole malarky is that my mum is really worried that I'll become that kind of parent that want their kids to be a certain way, and won't accept it if they're different.

Sometimes I fear that's actually the case. I desperately want kids who respect other human beings and are curious about life, kids who realise they have to work hard at whatever they choose to take an interest in life to achieve something. So you want to be a ski bum, that's fine, but you have to work hard to become good at skiing. You want to be a footballer, fine, but don't just sit around on your arse and talk about it. Dreaming is fine, but hard work is better.

I'm not saying it's not a little bit down to the parents, but I'm coming to believe that in the end, you get what you're given. You can't shape children in your own image.

My parents have three kids; we're more different than you can imagine. When I was my sister's age, I was emigrating abroad on my own. She's still living at home and has no desire to face the fact that food doesn't grow in the fridge. Last time I went to visit she screamed "whore" at me at the top of her voice because she thought I insulted her boyfriend. Noone else in my family ever raises their voice. I don't know where she takes it from.

What do you do when you have a kid like that? My parents have really done their best, and of course my mum claims to love us all equally, but I can see that it really hurts her when my sister screams "whore" at me and "I hate you you fucking bitch" at my mum. And, of course, I hate my sister for being so lazy and useless and causing my parents so much grief. But that's another story entirely.

What would I do if I had a kid like that? I would probably become incredibly strict and apply behavioural methods to attempt to never reinforce any negative behaviour.

But, of course, when it comes down to it, you have only so much to give and at some point you end up plonking them in front of the TV or buy them a bar of chocolate just to get some rest.

Would it be different if it was my own child? I hope so, because if not, I don't know if I should really go there.


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