I was watching a Judge Judy episode the other evening where one of the litigants was a mother who was being sued by a homeowner for damages to their home. One of the charges against her was for repainting as her children (boys) had written and drawn on the walls (and apparently one of the drawings was of a swastika). At the end of the case when conducting the wrap-up interviews that mother made one of those statements that never fails to have me shake my head in wonderment, “My kids were just being kids…”. Translated in this instance to that other foolish statement, “Boys will be boys…”
Not sure your feelings on this, but let’s address mine. What?!?!? What the hell does that mean?! What the fuck is a boy being a boy?! Oh… does that mean that because they were born with a thing dangling between their legs they are incapable of being well-mannered, respectful of others’ property and possessions or gentle? Do children get a pass on being well-behaved because well, they’re children?! Call me stupid this beautiful Sunday morning, but isn’t that just another way of saying, “Irresponsible, indulgent, lacking in respect, lazy parents will be parents?” Because where I come from, only the behaviors that are left unattended to are the ones that are continued. Shiiiittttt!
Okay, I will try to calm down a bit here. Let’s address this. Are there behaviors that are truly inherent? Or, are most, if not all a product of our environment? Of nurture? When babies enter this world, do their cute little selves know anything? Or, do they develop, because of our positive and negative responses, their personalities and actions? If you believe as I do that this is the case, then there can be no validity in statements such as, “Boys will be boys…” the correct phrase will have to be amended to, “Boys will be influences…” Truly. Test it for yourselves – look at two toddlers, one of each as they fall – the little girl falls and the parent rushes over, picks them up, rubs, kisses, and holds them until the tears stop. A little boy falls, the parent will still rush over to ensure nothing is broken, but once that is ascertained, this may then happen: the parent will put them (literally) back on their feet and say, “You’re okay” or, “shake it off,” or, “who’s my big boy”… something of that nature. Same fall. Same parent. Same possibility of harm or not. But, different gender; hence, different responses.
We’ve had the nature vs. nurture conversation before; we probably will again. I find it incredibly fascinating. Naturally therefore we have had the parenting conversations as well; it is impossible to have one without the inclusion of the other. I continue to be rendered speechless at the excuses some conjure up in their attempt to shirk responsibility for their offspring’s behavior. I am completely flabbergasted that so many parents indulge their children at other people’s expense – literally and figuratively. That mother being sued because her children defaced someone else’s property truly believed that in the realm of childhood was their freedom to express themselves… that way. I wonder if writing and drawing in a more appropriate way, say, on a piece of fucking paper would have in some way stunted their development and hindered their expressiveness! Ridiculous!
“Kids will be kids…” yes, the will. That means in part they will be clumsy and drop/break things. They will, because their brains are not yet fully developed (and for some, Lord knows that never happens!) make stupid or wrong decisions. But this is where good parenting is supposed to step in – to address and correct behaviors. To implement right from wrong. To guide. To set boundaries. Absofuckinglutely not to make excuses! Taught behavior. Nurture. Sigh.
Listen, all yall with cute little bad-ass monsters take this beautiful Sunday to start implementing changes in your behavior. Seriously. Understand that when you buy into that, “Boys will be boys…” crap, allowing and teaching them to barrel their way through walls or furniture, when you allow for the disrespect and disregard of possessions in a misguided attempt to toughen them up, you are invariably stamping on their too-young-to-discern-and-process-the-difference brains the penchant to adopt this behavior not only outside your home, but with people.
I’m done. Enjoy your Sunday. I’m about to go behave how women behave…