Your Kid Is A Jerk, And You’re A Liar

Before you get all bent out of shape as you crack your knuckles in preparation to disagree with me, this is not about race, or creed, or politics or religion. This has nothing to do with private, public or home schools, or if certain practices set certain kids on unmistakable paths to the penitentiary (an issue I’m not negating for those of you that have already stopped reading and are preparing to respond to just that sentence.) This is about you and that tiny human in your house.

When I was a classroom educator, I had a great opportunity to come across my fair share of tiny humans (and big ones too). When my kids were finally born, I promised myself I wouldn’t make the same mistake that I saw many parents make about their children: idolization.

It never failed, there was always that one parent that would come into my room and rave about how amazing their kid was, how awesome all his or her ideas were, and how they were the perfect tiny person to ever be born to the existence of tiny people. Because I was a theatre teacher, parents would often tell me “Oh, Jane is going to be perfect for your class because she is drama;” which, by the way, was always the first red flag. Sure enough, after mom or dad would leave the school, Jane certainly was “drama.” In fact, she rivaled any episode of any reality TV show involving husbandless housewives. And of course when she wouldn’t get her way in my class (because I’m not the one) I’d get the expected visit from mom or dad.

Parent:
I don’t think you’re recognizing Jane’s talents. Jane says you’re mean to her.
Me:
Jane is upset because she didn’t get the lead role.

Parent:
Jane deserves the lead role.

Me:
She doesn’t follow directions, she’s mean to everyone in class, she doesn’t work well with others, and she had a terrible audition.

Parent:
Well, she’s used to doing her own productions and not having to audition.

Me:
This isn’t her theatre; it’s mine. Plus with her behavior issues, I’m not leaving her backstage.

Parent:
SHE’S NOT LIKE THIS AT HOME!

That line would always echo in my brain. “She’s not like this at home. He’s not like this at home.” If I had a dollar for every time I heard a parent say that to an authority figure, I’d….well, I’d have a good bit of money.

Proclaiming that your kid is “not like this at home,” is the greatest lie any parent could ever tell about their kid. Face it, your kid is a jerk and you know it. The fact that you insist on blaming the teacher, or the school system, is your way of copping out. There, I said it.

Be honest. When you sent your kid to school, you sent them with the expectation that they would be able to wade through all of the things you couldn’t deal with at home. Every single thing your kid does at your house, directly translates to what they won’t or will do at school. Here’s a chart…because people like charts:

THEM AT HOME THEM AT SCHOOL
Not staying seated during dinner Not staying seated during Math
Interrupting you during important phone conversations Disrupting the teacher during lessons
Tormenting their siblings and or pets without correction Tormenting/Bullying their classmates
Spazzing out after being told to do something they don’t want to do. Acting out after being disciplined by the teacher.
Not finishing their chores Not finishing their work
Lying about small things Lying to you about what the teacher is doing to them
Argue back and forth with you about what they should do. Argue with the teacher about what they should do

And under the guise of “wanting your child to be free” or “wanting your child to feel like they matter,” you let them get away with all of the left column; essentially creating a plain old fashioned, entitled jerk.

Are you mad yet? Are you accusing me of “parent shaming?” *shrug*

Somewhere, my generation started giving our kids too many trophies, too many choices, too few boundaries, and not enough criticism. We convinced ourselves that our parents did such a horrible job on us, that we must right their wrongs by sending our jerk tiny humans to school. And when the school genuinely (and I mean genuinely) tells you “Hey, your kid is really out of line almost every moment they’re here.” You scoff at their assessment, bristle at their recommendations, and accuse them of not understanding your precious angel. You storm the school board when the school tries to tell you that there’s nothing they can do. And you call news stations when the school files paperwork against your child because he’s abusive toward his other classmates and teachers. How dare they not figure out a way to teach this gorgeous, gifted cherub that leaves your house every day.

And it’s the bus driver’s fault
And the teacher’s fault
And the teacher’s aide’s fault
And the principal’s fault

And because they don’t cater to the very specific needs of your child, that outrageously outweigh all the other needs of the other 24 children in their class, you declare on social media that the education system is failing “our kids.”

And of course others agree with you…because their kids are jerks too.

It’s not the system, it’s you. It’s been you. Every morning when you put your tiny human on the bus, or drop them off in car-line, you secretly pray that they have a better day at school than they did at home…and they won’t.

Your kid’s teacher isn’t a magician. The school principal isn’t Dumbledore. And sooner or later you’re going to need to come to terms with the fact that the tiny human in your house, though a miracle, is a tiny terrorist.

So, at the next parent/teacher conference, when the teacher tells you about your kid, refrain from using that phrase,“They aren’t like this at home.”

Yes. They. Are. Free yourself from that lie.

Then be a parent, and do something about it.

How’s that for coming off of hiatus?

You know I’m right.

-Danita LaShelle 

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