Kids will argue. Its part of working out who they are as individual. The mind is a great big black hole when they’re born and everything a kids learns, sees, and hears gets sucked up and catalogued. This is how kids gain knowledge and they spend most of their young life beating the shit out of it so that aid knowledge can heal from the bullying and grow into wisdom.
Part of my Parent Wisdom is finally realizing why my seven year seems incapable of showing me the same respect she does for other adults, especially her teachers.
Because I am the personification of that knowledge she is beating the hell out of. The teacher has an ace in the hole. For the teacher, love is not a forgone conclusion. The school year is a probationary period. If the kid screws up the teacher may decide not to like you. Get down to yellow on the behavioral spectrum too often, or heaven forfend, drop to the dreaded red, and you may never be liked again.
As a parent I have no such power. My kid knows that I will love her no matter what. She doesn’t remember all the shit on my hands from dirty diapers, she doesn’t know the late night stroller rides through Queens to calm her down, or the mouth numbing beat box marathons to soothe anxieties. Yet this care is are like logs feeding her disrespect. She tests her boundaries with me because once crossed, after the yelling, there will be hugs. With someone else its cold stares, disapproval, and smiles for the good kids. And thats the salvation. The other kids, or another kid.
The second kid in your house is a do-over. Everyone knows it. The second kid is like the American Test Kitchen of babies. You’ve tried the recipe every which way and have discovered the best way to make chocolate chip cookies. You deal with the lumpiness of the first batch out of nostalgia. The second batch is the one you give to your friends.
Its the do-over that gives you some leverage. “You better behave because we have another one. I will put you on yellow and share all my snuggling with the other one”
This all of course is in good fun. It came to me while talking with another parent after school today about how our kids are so well behaved in class. Yet my kid looks at me like I asked her to peel off her toes when I tell her its time to get dressed. If I give her a count down to It’s time for X, she treats me like an alarm clock that’s waking her up in the morning, she ignores me and hits snooze.
So if your kid isn’t listening to you and is monstrously disrespectful don’t buy a book. Just make another batch of cookies.