Friday, September 16, 2011

A ranting Spin

This weeks Spin Cycle is Rules.  And after thinking about "rules" for a bit, I might need to rant.

->If you believe that your child is a "special little snowflake" for any reason, please click away now.  I mean any reason, ADD, spectrum disorder, food allergy, incredibly intelligent, or artistic or athletic.  You especially need to click away if your child is "normal" but you think there are just too many rules for kids these days.  Really, before the next paragraph starts.  Cause I'm about to tell it like it should be.->

These days I'm a more than a little disgusted by how many parents think there are too many rules for children today.  They have some issue or other, and the world needs to change its rotation to ensure that little Susie survives to adulthood and JackJack is nurtured by the entire village to his full blossoming potential.  I'm seeing it more and more.  Parents don't want rules in the classroom, or in public places.  They want their children to be able to express themselves wherever they are, and they want people to recognize that each child is "different" and "special" in their own way.  Everyone should love their child, and all its idiosyncrasies.  Come on, admit it.  If you're a parent, you've heard this 1,000 times in the last week alone.

Truth be told, that's a load of krappe.  We are all more alike than not.  And kids need to learn, at a nice early age, that the rules apply to ALL of us.  Rules help us all function TOGETHER.  In the classroom, being quiet and listening to the teacher is important.  Standing nicely in line is important.  You can't throw things, or bite people, screaming at non-screaming sanction times is frowned upon. I think it's great that your kid really expresses themselves well with clay, but they need to learn their ABCs and numbers, too. And so does my kid, in their class, who doesn't like clay. I'm tired of parents excusing their kids because they "just can't work within structure."  They're little flower is "more creative than conformist".

What frustrates me is that I know a lot of parents (oh, and wait, I'm one of them) who are working their hardest to teach their kid how to function within the rules.  Our kids aren't special, they're just kids.  So when I hear that LG misbehaved and crawled under the stalls at bathroom time?  LG and I talk about it, and why we don't do that.  And why it's important to listen when the teacher tell us to stop.  When the teacher tells me, "He's only 3, they all do stuff like that." it's not an excuse for me.  I still need to teach my kid it's not right to use the bathroom as his own personal jungle gym.  Coloring the walls with crayon instead of the paper isn't creative, it's testing boundaries.   I tell him once it's against the rules.  The next time?  He gets a time out.  That's how they learn to obey the rules.  How did you feel the first time you got a big speeding ticket? Thought twice about going 55 in the school zone, right?

Throwing a fit because you want to go to the bathroom NOW and not when the teacher asked you 4 times when it was your turn 10 minutes ago?  Yup, that's you trying to impose some control over your situation, I get it.  But when you're 3 and at pre-school with 14 other kids?  Not going to fly, especially if it happens every day.  Yes, there is a kid in LGs class who does this.  Every day.  With the arms flinging and the kicking of the teacher. His Mom doesn't think it's a problem.  Why can't the teacher just let him go when he wants to?  The teacher's a control freak.  She has never once considered what would happen if all the kids did this.  Or what it's like to be a 3 year old waiting to go out on the playground while a classmate throws a fit, everyone watches the teacher get slapped and kicked, waits for the director to come deal with it and then finally gets to go out.  She just thinks he has an independent spirit.  He'll be a leader some day...

What happens to these kids when they get to the real world?  There are no IEP's in college, or business.  The judge isn't going to care if your Mom didn't think time outs were an effective way to discipline (side note- jail is really just a judge's version of time out, huh?)  There are only so many jobs for artists and bmx bikers in the world, so I suspect your little special snowflake will need to learn to show up on time in a clean shirt and do what his boss tells him to do.  How is making excuses and special provisions now going to help him later?

I'll admit that the first time LG uttered the words, "Because that's the rules, right Mama?"  I was floored.  He was 2, and I felt like it was a scene from 1984.  And then I realized something.  The kids who learn the rules early, and well, are the ones who can truly break them all when they get older.  It's the people who see the boundaries, understand them and still boldly step over them that make a difference.  Those are the great artists, and world leaders.  Not obeying the rules when you don't understand them is criminal.  Not obeying when you do is visionary.


Annabelle said...


I am old school. We do rules, routines, expectations and consequences in our home. Damn straight.

And you know works. My kids are still creative, still free spirits. They make choices for themselves when possible.

I shudder to think of the generational issues that will come out of all this non parenting.

The Price Family! said...

I hate the excuse aww, she/he is really tired and needs a nap. To me that is no excuse!

Sprite's Keeper said...

I love you.
Okay, now onto the non-stalkerish stuff. You're completely right and I am sick and tired of parents trying to change the structure because it's "constricting" to their own kid. Our preschool just brought back Musical Chairs (gasp! only one winner? How will everyone get to be special??) and Sprite was upset when she was out. I gently told her to SUCK IT UP.
You're linked!

VandyJ said...

We teach rules too. Like I said, you have to know the rules to know how to successfully bend them.

The Crazy Coxes said...

Amen sista! Parents need a good ole fashion spanking! Whatever happened to consequences. I'm sick of giving trophies and certificates to EVERYONE just for showing up. Showing up is an expectation. I'll give out a trophy when someone does something truly exceptional....and NOT EVERYONE is exceptional.

Mrsbear said...

I can't argue. I live in a city where the adults are the product of too much indulgence in my opinion. The people who park in handicap spots though they're fit and able, the ones who leave their cars in the fire lanes because they see themselves as the exception. They don't budge for emergency vehicles, they don't stand in lines, and they don't show an iota of courtesy to their fellow humans because, well, why should they? They are damn important. I had a seven year old flip me the bird as I drove home through my neighborhood on Sunday, he smiled at me the whole time. I'm sure his parents thought it was adorable, they were standing right there. Sigh. You go through all this trouble teaching your kids rules, rights, wrongs, and they end up in a world where they are the exception. It just frustrates me.

Jan said...

I must echo Jen - I love you.

When we moved to Ohio, it was a hard adjustment for both me or The Young One. HE was did not do well in school (we won't go into my problems here). I cannot even begin to tell you how many meetings I had with his teachers, the principal and even the school psychologist (the bitch) to address his reluctance to pay attention - something we'd dealt with before and KNEW how to handle. My solution: more discipline. Let him KNOW he can't get away with it. Let him KNOW there are consequences for his actions. If you don't have the balls for that, let ME know and I will. Give me a daily report - how long will it take for you to write me a brief note at the end of the day that he stared off into space during math? This strategy had worked extremely well in the past.

Their solution? Have him tested for ADD. When I told them I had no intention of putting him on Ritalin, his teacher AND principal sat there and told me Oh, no - no need for that. Just have him diagnosed. If he were diagnosed, he'd have special dispensation all through school and college for special considerations in his schoolwork and tests. I just stared at them for a minute and said, "There are NO special dispensations in the real world."

Turns out, having him diagnosed with ADD would mean his standardized test scores wouldn't count against THE SCHOOL when it came to government funding. And people wonder why I'm in favor of the privatization of education. (Well, there's another story behind that, but I'll leave it for another time.) Should I also mention he aced his damn standardized test that year - just like he always does?

Oh, and for the record - they finally did as I suggested (the last few weeks of school) and it worked like a charm. Sending home a note every day when he was goofing off and not doing his work so I could DISCIPLINE him was all it took. He finished the year on the honor roll. As a junior in high school, he has a 3.8 average. AND he's a slacker.

You follow rules in my house, or you don't live in my house. Just ask Darling Daughter.

Casey said...

But what if I'm the special snowflake who can't follow the rules? Ha!

My kids have been through the gamut with allergies (linked to behavior) but I've never let them off the hook from following rules. They're capable, they do it. Amen, sister.