By Melissa Mensavage
I am sure if I had the time to open up any parenting book I would see the ‘monkey see, monkey do’ phase in the two-almost-three-year-old section. That is all Max does these days, sees something someone else is doing and then does it himself.
I know at home when I am sitting with Theo on the floor encouraging him to roll-over or to get up on his hands and knees as if ready to crawl, Max does the same to get my attention. However, when he comes from home from school, screaming ‘No Way Mama!’ in response to me asking him to pick up his toys or to put his cup in the sink, I want to gauge my eyes out.
When did this response ever get into his head? Who thinks this response is acceptable? Why is my sweet boy acting like a spoiled brat?
I know the kid who acts like this, who has this response in their repertoire and I also know the parents too.
So if I do the math, Max and said kid play together quite a bit at school + the monkey see-monkey-do phase + a parent who has a different discipline and respect policy than I do = ugly child of mine.
There is a part of me that just wants to scream at said kid. There is another part of me that wants to scream at said kid’s parent and then there is a part of me that is exhausted from having to correct the behavior and seriously just wants to give up and be like said parent.
How can a parent be so different on the acceptable behavior spectrum? They should be teaching respect to their children, right? Or maybe they are of a generation that respect is optional? I am not sure because as I get older I cannot relate to those who are significantly younger than I (as in 5+ years) and what they think is acceptable.
I am also hearing a lot of, ‘you are my best friend’, or ‘you are not my best friend’. Again, same kid says this. And this time I know for sure it’s the kid’s parent because of my experience with them personally. They are the ones who have 900 Facebook friends, not one close friend consistently, and are always saying to all the other kids’ parents, ‘kid and your kid are besties’. Really? I am told at each teacher-parent conference at this age it’s still parallel play.
So what am I to do?
I wish I could keep Max from being exposed to kids like that nor do I want him to have his feelings hurt because of someone else’s insecurities passed down to their child. But I won’t say anything because I am not sure I am ready to hear what they have to say about my parenting and my sweet boy. (Don’t get me wrong, I know my sweet boy has ‘Satan Days’, as I like to call them. You know the days where Satan has taken over the kid’s body and the only thing you can do is make sure there is liquor in the house for after they go to bed???!!)
I also don’t want to cause any discomfort between me and said parent. Our once close relationship is already strained (long petty immature story that I just don’t have time for) and I am at terms with it being the way it is, cordial, so if I start accusing them of crazy parenting I am sure that’ll just make the times we do see each other at school uncomfortable and that is the last thing I want for either of my boys.
I know I am not the perfect parent, but I do know I am right when I discipline for being rude, inconsiderate, and mean. I know I am right when I teach my child to be fair and a friend to everyone, not to have a select group of friends only. I want my children to have the best childhood possible and if that means dealing with monkey see-monkey do, I just pray this phase passes quickly and painlessly as possible for everyone involved.