So here’s today’s 500 words, smashed out before the sun.
Yesterday I read this article in Mother Magazine (I know, I know, what the fuck was I thinking?). It’s called ‘My Son Stabs Other Kids in the Face and Then Sets Fire to Their Prostrate Corpses’. Comments follow the usual hyper-vigilant relativism of mothering posts on social media (at least on those platforms that wish to survive longer than the froth on a skinny-cap),
– Thank you so much for sharing! For your honesty! You are so brave! Blah blah. Any advice was couched in a fluffy bubble; ‘I’m sure this kid is wonderful, I see (extreme, unfettered) violent behaviour as communicating’
As an aside, why do people make these inane statements? Of course violence is communication. It’s a way of saying, ‘I fucking hate you really really much’. Everyone has violent thoughts, but most people rely on their self control to keep them in check. This is, of course, what children are expecting to be taught. In this regard, some are luckier than others.
The author describes her son’s thuggish behaviour towards other children, while at the same time reflecting on her own childhood, where her mother always ‘backed her up’ – including lying for her when she did not conform to social expectations. She is especially surprised at her kid’s behaviour, as he doesn’t come from a home where children are smacked. Smacking children, you see, encourages violence. I know, I’m sounding like one of those fifty year old men with thick glasses who’re heavily involved in the local church, and whose kids have moved cities the moment they turned 18. But I’m not, I’m actively raising a small child (who can’t leave home yet).
The above are heavily political statements – culturally I think the ‘cult of the child’, where we treat young children as morally developed adults who’re just ‘exploring’ their world (through biting), is interesting. I’m also intrigued by the sheer number of parents who complain about rampant, excessive and at times, sophisticated bullying at Steiner schools. It seems that what children really want to explore is their ability to dominate others through physical force.
And what is particularly interesting is the way that social media has opened up a place for mothers to talk about their parenting in a way that glorifies it, through ‘support’, when I’m pretty sure everyone reading this thinks – ‘thank Christ he’s not at my preschool’.
I know several parents who have children like the boy described in this article. The one thing they all have in common is that their parents were either overtly, violently authoritarian and they’ve therefore made a conscious effort to avoid this parenting style, or, their own parents were absent in some way – usually mentally. The result is that their own parenting style is laissez faire, letting the kids do whatever they want, radically embracing the idea of no boundaries. There is no NO.
The kids seem confused and struggle to ‘play with others’ – mainly because they expect their urges to be instantly fulfilled. In a school setting, this causes frustration, and so they express (sorry – communicate) that in the most kid-way possible – belting someone. Simply, there is no guidance or expectation that kids should learn to develop a sense of self control.