*The following contains spoilers from Alias. It’s an old show but just in case!!*
Last night, whilst watching Alias, The Boy and I were laughing our heads off. Not because of the story, although Jack Bristow squabbling with his estranged wife Irena Derevko was amusing for it’s own sake, but it was because of the correlation to our own children.
Miss Rose is a wind up merchant. She knows what will piss Z off and she does it for sport. She likes to see if she can get a reaction and, primarily, she loves getting him into trouble. The thing is if he just ignored her it wouldn’t work and she’d be the one getting the telling off, but because he reacts so strongly, he’s the one who has to be dealt with first and most seriously, and she gets what she wants. Watching Sydney Bristow, their daughter, say to her parents in utter annoyance, “You stop baiting him, and you stop being such an easy target!” had us in stitches. Miss Rose is a definite baiter and Z is the easiest target ever.
I’ll give you a for instance. This morning Miss Rose was doing some colouring at the table and Z was playing with the cars and the toy garage. For a significant period of time they were both happily occupied on their own and I felt like I was the God Of All Parents. Then Miss Rose decided she wants to play with the toy cars too.
We have some simple rules when it comes to toys. They each have “special toys”; a small number of toys that if they want back, the other has to give it. For Rose it’s her Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny and Lily Bobtail. For Z it’s his Storm Trooper, Thor and Captain America. The other can pick it up, but must respect that it is their toy and they get to control it. Shared toys, such as blocks, cars, colouring, must be shared if they other wants to share. The one who won’t share is prevented from playing with it until they are willing to share. Then there are individual toys, such as the rocking horse or large fire engine which, if a child is playing with it is there’s to play with until they are finished as it can’t be shared. Simple.
This morning Z objected to Miss Rose wanting to play with the cars. In all honesty she probably only wanted to play with them because he was and she knew it would piss him off, but, in her defence, she loves playing with cars and might well just have wanted to join in. Z told her “No! Go away!” but I said she could join in because there was plenty of cars to go around and it’s a shared toy. With a look of triumph on her face Miss Rose picked up a toy car from in front of Z and went to play with it on the garage, to which he screeched in utter outrage, jumped on her, and bit her on the arm.
- Miss Rose was certainly picking up a car from near him instead of the box to wind him up. However, he wasn’t playing with that specific car and there were several in front of him.
- All violent behaviour has to be punished first because that’s the biggest crime. Winding up, however direct or in direct it is, is less deserving of the punishment as nobody physcially gets injured.
It’s complicated. Miss Rose being a total wind up merchant is annoying and it will not earn her any friends in the long run so we definitely need to try and stop her doing it. It’s also really unpleasant to wish another person be in trouble. She adores Z, misses him when he’s not around, and wants him to play with her, so actively wishing negative things on him is both cruel and counter productive to her long term goals. I want to raise her to be a nice person and someone who others will want around. Deliberately doing things that upset people so they behave badly is not nice at all. It needs stopping as best we can and as soon as we can.
However, kids winds each other up. Kids take each others toys and do things that each other doesn’t like. At some point they have to learn how to handle it without lashing out, be it by biting or pushing or shouting. At some point you have to learn to argue with your words to point out injustice or, if it’s simply not worth it, walk away. He too will not earn himself any friends by lashing out and he too needs to be a nice person to be around.
I’m casting them both in such a bad light here. In honesty they’re both awesome little kids. They’re funny and playful and cheeky and smart. They love each other and they love playing. These occasions, though regular enough to be a topic of conversation and worrying in their own ways, are rare enough that for the most part we all have a good time together.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t need addressing. And not just for our sake, for theirs. We are raising children for such a short time, for the majorty of their lives they are adults who need to function in society and maintain happy and healthy human relationships in order to feel good and like they belong. To not address it, to say “kids will be kids”, or to think it’s easier just not to bother, is doing them a huge disservice. They’re good kids at heart and they need guidance about why certain aspects of their personalities need reigning in and to be managed.
We all have parts of ourselves that are annoying or unpleasant, and if we are smart we recognise them and learn to deal with them in a way that doesn’t unleash them on the people around us. Because nobody is perfect and we all carry our own damage and our own scars and our own negative energies. I know how neurotic I am. I know I have jealous tendencies and huge insecurities. They’re a part of me I manage every day to ensure they don’t take over and they don’t negatively impact on others. It’s part of being an adult and it’s a tough lesson to learn, but the sooner you do it the happier you.
All I want is for these kids to be happy and that means parenting them in a way that upsets them to ensure their adult lives are full of happiness.
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Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!