If I Knew Then What I Know Now

As a parent I want to have all the answers. I don’t. But I’ve learned a few things along the way. If I had to do it all again, I think I’d homeschool my children. I know, have I lost my mind? Probably. Having kids does that kind of thing to you.

Having kids makes one very protective too. And even though kids need to experience some adversity so they can handle themselves in the real world, I don’t believe they need all the adversity lining the halls of public school. Is it really necessary to be picked on just so you can grow a thicker skin? Maybe when I was a kid, but in today’s day and age they can’t even defend themselves without worry they’ll get in trouble too. So, if a kid can’t tell Little Petey to stick where the sun don’t shine then what’s the point of having to deal with Little Petey in the first place? In my day if I was picked on by Little, let’s say, Sally, I would’ve shown Sally where the sun didn’t shine and then she would’ve left me alone.

Daughter recently celebrated a birthday. It’s very common in her school for friends to decorate the locker of the birthday person. She was very lucky to have her locker and the empty locker next to her decorated by some friends. This is a very big deal to a 12 year-old. Today she came home and told me someone tore down her decorations and threw them out. There was a witness, but no real proof. Really? I want to say to this kid who is probably the offspring of Little Petey and Sally. Was it necessary to be so mean? Why do you even care? Oh, I know why, but that’s a post for another time.

No one decorated my locker in the sixth grade!
How cool to have your locker decorated! I want to be in the sixth grade. Uh, no.

Kids can be down right mean. She doesn’t need to be subjected to that behavior. And yes, the best thing to do is throw positive energy into the Universe. Feel sorry for this child that has nothing better to do. Don’t hang onto anger, because it doesn’t serve you. But sometimes it feels good to show Little Petey where the sun don’t shine. Just saying.

Son has Invisalign to straighten out his teeth so that when he’s an adult he can’t sit on the therapist’s couch and complain we didn’t give him a million dollar smile. He has to pop them out to eat so at lunch each day at school he sticks them in their case. Two of his “friends” have decided it would be a rip roaring good time to let him think for 45 minutes that those very expensive pieces of plastic were lost. While he was worried that he’d get into trouble at home for being irresponsible they were having themselves a chuckle at his expense. Again – Really?? And spare me the boys will be boys stuff. I know how boys behave. Mean is mean regardless of gender. I’m sure Little Petey doesn’t discriminate.

There’s more to this if I knew then what I know now stuff. The education they get at school, though in many ways very positive, still lacks a few key elements. And as long as there are humans standing in the front of the classroom, there will always be the chance something gets missed.

I’m not saying I would be the perfect answer to providing their knowledge. I’m human too and make plenty of mistakes every day. But, I would be able to control how the lessons are taught. And I could find the way to reach them when others can’t. And I’ll keep at it because I’m stubborn and I’m their mother and I love them way more than any other adult does. Except maybe my husband.

As for the social stuff? We’d find a way around that so they wouldn’t be socially inept. There would be other ways to make friends. Nice friends.

But I didn’t know then what I know now so persevere we must. All will be right in the end. Even for Little Petey.


8 thoughts on “If I Knew Then What I Know Now

  1. A friend of my son’s thought it would be funny to take his phone home with him. So I texted my son’s phone and said he better return it or I will be speaking to his parents. (My version of showing him where the sun don’t shine.) Got a frantic call on my phone that he didn’t do it on purpose. And he was sorry. Kid never touched my kid’s phone again.

  2. As you well know, I am a huge advocate for K-12 character education and social/emotional development programs in schools. Anti-bullying just isn’t enough. There are some schools out there that do value and teach this stuff. It is written into their mission statement and part of the curriculum. But these districts have tremendous community support.

    I think it is up to parents like us and the collective community to make this a priority for our children. The tricky part it seems is getting some parents to recognize the value and then getting them actively on board.

    And, even though it still sucks, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it was just the cleaning staff who took down the decorations.

    1. Wishful thinking, but it was a student and there were witnesses. I agree, anti-bullying isn’t enough because all it stops are the kids who would never have bullied in the first place. We need to teach self-esteem and kindness. And it does need to start in the home. At the dinner table. Before bed. While doing homework.

      1. Amen, Stacey. Wish more people got that, but how many parents can’t show that to each other as a couple to start? Assuming there is a couple or a single parent who isn’t so stressed in today’s world they’re not thinking clearly anyway?

        Guess I could go on too.

        Yep, there will always be a mean kid or two. Truth is, it’s good prep for dealing with mean adults.

        Not sure I could have home-schooled mine, but I know what you’re saying. And home-schooled kids I know don’t seem to lack for social skills.

  3. Joanna, Usually you and I are on the same page, but this time I’m going to politely disagree. Dealing with a mean kid or two doesn’t prepare them for dealing with mean adults once they become an adult. Why? Because kids don’t know how to deal with each other and unfortunately, they don’t always learn how to deal with each other once they become adults. I think what happens is as an adult you get tired of being in certain situations with others and then you decide to change your reaction. Nothing has changed for the other person.

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