I have bad news.
Your kid is an a-hole.
Okay, okay not YOUR kid. I can't be talking about your kid. ...I'm probably not talking about your kid. Because you know a few a-hole kids yourself - and your kid is nothing like those kids. So crazy Mama Jess isn't talking about your kid.
But let's just say for one second I am talking about your kid.
Let's say I sit you down, face to face and have first hand examples of your son acting like a raging jackass to other kids. Or your daughter being the world-class mean girl. I'm talking about the kind of kid they make books and movies about.
Let's say you find out that your kid IS this kid.
What happens next?
For some of you, you just answered with a resounding, "hell yes something happens! Just wait til I get my hands on this tiny turd head."
For others, you maybe shrugged. Or you're still in disbelief that we're talking about your kid.
"My kid?? The one who tucked his little brother into bed two nights ago when I wasn't feeling well and didn't want to make him sick? My kid?"
Mmmm hmmmm. That's the one.
See, we have an influx of assholism in our youth. And if everyone is looking right and left and going, "not my kid," then that means no one is fixing it. No one is grounding kids anymore for breaking rules. No one is taking away privileges and electronics anymore for having a sassy mouth and "using that tone of voice with me Buster." In fact, the way some kids act, I'd go so far as to say some people aren't even bothering with setting any rules much less punishment for breaking them.
Some people aren't taking away things for their kid having a sassy mouth but they're laughing and grabbing their cell phones to record "how funny he is."
Yeeeeaaaah. About that.
We're not laughing.
So let's do a quick check, shall we? It'll be quick, I promise.
How to tell if your child is an a-hole in four easy steps:
1) Does your household have any rules? Chore lists? Expectations? Do your kids know what these are?
If you answered yes, please continue.
If you answered no - congratulations. You're the proud parent of an a-hole.
2) The last time your child broke one of these rules, failed to do their chore list or meet a fairly easy expectation did you: A) punish them by taking away something they enjoy, B) warn them, C) you didn't really worry about it because it wasn't that big of a deal or D) N/A because this hasn't happened to you, your child wouldn't do that.
If you answered A, please continue. If you answered B, C or D there's no need to move on. You've failed at recognizing the signs already. You probably have an a-hole living right under your roof. Maybe more than one...
3) For Christmas you bought your child: A) everything on their wish list, B) almost everything on their wish list but you're letting Grandma get them that one thing they wanted, C) everything in aisles 5&6 of the Target toy section plus four things from the electronics section or D) a few good things, a fun surprise and new socks because they can damn well appreciate how expensive those Under Armour socks are.
All A's, B's and C's - bad news, friends. This isn't doing those kids any favors. They're going back after Christmas break and bragging to everyone within ear shot about "all the things they got." You're raising the very kid that teachers dread having back in school after break. Also known as the bragging a-hole.
All D's - please move on to question four. (One more! One more question and you might have an exception to the a-hole plague!)
The final question:
4) The school calls. Yeah, um, your kid got into a fight and pushed another kid. They broke it up before it got any worse but you need to come down to the school and have a visit.
Do you A) ask who the other kid is, B) ask what the other kid did to your kid, C) ask the person on the phone if they're sure it's YOUR kid or D) take the quickest route to the school during which you come up with at least four things you can take away from your child and then think of one more as you're walking in?
If you answered anything BUT the letter D here - you, Friend, are creating problems for yourself. For your kid. For your kid's teachers (all of them.) For your kid's future roommate and for your kid's future employers. You are not doing anyone, not your kid, not society and not yourself, any favors by forging the trail ahead of your child and removing every obstacle they may come across long before they reach it.
Some of you out there are not only removing the obstacles on your child's path - you're blazing ahead carpeting that sucker and adding treats at intermittent points along the way "just in case."
Let them encounter their obstacles! Let them stumble or even fall. It sucks, it's not easy, but you ask them if they're okay, you take the leaves out of their hair and then you give them a pat on the behind and tell them to keep on keepin' on.
Readers, (if there are any of you left,) removing every difficulty that you can anticipate your child having it just a nice way of saying "raising an a-hole." It's the same thing. It translates to the exact same type of kid no matter which way you say it.
If your kid doesn't have to deal with things, if they are constantly getting every eensy little thing they ask for, if they get praised for every slightest doing and sometimes get a prize just for trying - your kid is the very kid in the beginning of this post.
I hate to be the one to tell you but the future depends on you knowing. Not just your child's future but your future as their parent. A parent who - doesn't have their kid living in their basement. Don't you want that for them? And yourself? And that bedroom that you can now turn into the reading/craft area you've always wanted.
I think yes, you do.
So the question is - what are you going to do about it?
Best of luck, parents. Both parents of a-holes and parents of regular ol' kids who have chore lists and bitch and moan about doing them. Neither job is easy but at least with the last one you don't have to shovel your own front steps.