You’re So Mean!

8 Sep

It sucks to be a kid in this world. A few days ago, when I was visiting some relatives, I overheard a conversation between one of these relatives and her daughter. Not the whole thing. I started paying attention when the girl -a “tween”- started crying about not being able to get something she wanted for school. The mother, agitated, responded to the crying by blaming the girl for being too into her looks and clothing, and lecturing her on how she always gets like this, and this is why she can’t get stuff, etc. The girl still crying, finally just yells, “You’re so mean!” and storms off.

I couldn’t help thinking, “Yes! You are so fucking mean!” As an outsider to the conversation, it’s almost incredible how adults don’t empathize with their own kids. The kid is so broken up by not having the ‘right’ clothes to go to school with that she’s crying out loud. If another adult was so upset, who wouldn’t go over and try to comfort them? “I know how important this is to you. I wish I could, but we just don’t have the money to buy all that.” Or, “I remember how bad it feels. Why don’t we have some ice cream now instead, ok?”

But I understand the mother’s side too. She just spent an hour shopping with a child who keeps asking for everything, and she doesn’t have a handle on it anymore. “Why are you doing this to me? I’m trying to help you! I could buy you a towel and you’d have to wear it. Instead, I’m spending all my free time getting you stuff so that you’ll appreciate me- because God knows my husband doesn’t have two kind words to rub together after 15 years of marriage- and all you do is tell me how I’m not good enough!”

The problem is that she’s the adult and she doesn’t have to explain herself to her child- who won’t understand anyhow. She can use whatever tricks she has to get the kid to shut up, with no consequences- for chrissakes,  I’m listening to all this and can’t find the balls to tell her to stop. Well, no consequences until the girl is grown up and living 1000 miles away with some rich guy somewhere and never calling home.

Dr. Lloyd Demause reports that he cannot find a single case of a parent from before the 18th century who would not have been thrown in jail for child abuse today. I doubt future generations will have kinder things to say about us.

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5 Responses to “You’re So Mean!”

  1. Gutman Braun September 8, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    Having children is a lose/lose proposition, yet we do it anyway – survival of the species or something.

    On the subject:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/06/the-case-against-happiness/58719/

  2. Gutman Braun September 8, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Also this one: http://nymag.com/news/features/67024/

  3. itchemeyer September 9, 2011 at 12:05 am #

    Excellent articles! thanks. the atlantic article is good mussar. 🙂

  4. Princess Lea September 9, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Well, the fact that the kid was able to whine like that and then say something like “You’re so mean!” shows how the mother already screwed up. Incidents like these, I am betting, happens daily with these two.

    Being a professional aunt, I know these things.

    • itchemeyer September 9, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

      The girl was crying like her pet died. I wouldnt call it whining. It was difficult to listen to even.

      But you’re probably right about it happening all the time knowing them. I have to agree w your professional opinion.

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