Where do we, as parents, draw that proverbial line in the sand? On this side, we have cute precociousness. On the other side, you’ve got rude smartasses. When is enough, well, enough? And where’s that magical thin line? What separates a funny kid from an asshole-in-training?
It’s not so easy. Sure, when the husband tells me that Kaiser called his teacher, “stinky”…. I kinda laughed. Granted, I turned my back to both of them to giggle covertly. But I did. The Kaiser certainly gets points for brevity. And Buddha knows, I don’t want a doormat for a child. Now, I don’t know what this teacher told him to do. I’m guessing it was perfectly legitimate. Something along the lines of cleaning himself or his environment. But I never want him to be afraid of saying no. To an adult. To a teacher. To me. But seriously, it’s a difficult line to walk. A little rebellious spirit is a-ok with this anti-mommy. Being a douchebag is not.
Now, onto what I didn’t laugh about: Come to find out, Kaiser didn’t just call one teacher a stinkpot, he also yelled at his regular teacher. Several times. Throughout the day, when things didn’t go just the way he wanted them to go. Screamed at her. That, friends, is where I draw the line. Free speech has its limits, Kaiser. When you’re so mad (and, um, young) you can’t think to say, “I hate your face. Go away, you silly hamster,” it’s probably time to learn a little self-censoring control. And here is where I must reasonably object to his interpretation of free speech. Here’s where we, as parents, have got to get perfectly straight the difference between cute and really-not-so-cute.
A cute kid says things that might be mildly out of order. First, because he doesn’t know any better. Later, because he knows you’ll laugh. Things like, “Ey, I tooted in mah pants,” “Mommy, next time you wanna yell, go yell outside,” “My daddy wears gray underpants.” You get the idea.
An asshole-in-training says things that s/he knows will hurt or damage. It’s all about the control. And if words get a rise out of us — KAZAAM — little pirate just pwned you. Like, cool to say, “Daddy have big belly.” Fucking out of order to say, “Mommy have a big belly.” Riiiight? Right.
In the end and in general, I lean more toward freedom of expression than docile, “Yes, Mommy’s.” It grosses me out when kids are too agreeable. Seriously. It’s creepy. By all means, have an opinion. Say no and rant. That’s cool. That’s his right, as a quasi-rational human being. It’s likewise my right, as his mother, to tell him to shut it. So yeah. Get pissed. Be punch-something angry. Scream. Cry. Kick. Wail. Bring down the house.
Just do it in your own room.