At the risk of seeming like I have a split personality, we’ve got some pretty decent kids.  I’ve written more than a few posts ranting about one thing or another so this might sound like a flip flop to you, but the reality is that we’ve invested a great amount of time, effort, and energy into making sure our kids don’t act like a**holes.  I’d say we’re basically winning on that one. 

It’s not like it’s been a cakewalk, though.  As a matter of fact, sometimes it feels like we’re swimming upstream in the quest to produce nonasshole upstanding citizens for society.  Someone cue the world’s tiniest violin: would someone remind me why on earth I have to fight people on this?

when arctic winds blow across the Siberian tundra (aka: parenting without the village)

1.  Adults who enable my kids’ slacker behavior.  Not in a “watch my kids kick over their kids’ sandcastles because mine are too lazy to walk around” sort of way, because nothing rouses a mama bear like watching fat tears roll down their sweet precious’ face.  More like the adult who swoops in to grab my kids’ plates right after I tell them to clear their things.  Or the parent at the next table who smiles at them sympathetically while I’m tearing into them for (insert random punk behavior here).  People.  We are in this together.  Help a girl out…or at least stay out of her way.

2.   People who inadvertently reinforce the idea that yes, things really do get handed to you on a silver platter.  Don’t ask me why but this happens frequently with Bear.  She and BrightSide went to the bakery one Saturday morning, and a lady in line insisted on buying Bear a doughnut.  (Think this was a freak occurrence?  It’s happened twice.)  I took the kids shopping for their lunch supplies.  T-man came up twenty cents over his budget, but when I told him he’d have to put the cookies back the checkout lady waved him on through.  Over my repeated objections.  I’m doing my best here, but strangers seem intent on petting my kids.

3.  Other adults flat out ignoring their kids’ obnoxious behavior.  This isn’t so much a why-are-there-so-many-crappy-parents complaint as a I-see-in-your-eyes-you-know-your-kid’s-being-an-ass-so-why-are-you-looking-the-other-way complaint.  Yes, we all get tired sometimes, but let’s say you’ve entered public space.  Not child friendly restaurant public space.  We’re talking a confined area that’s more necessity than choice – doctors’ waiting rooms, airports, small shops.  Places where your child’s crazy ass yelling/running/grabbing random items is causing a problem.  Don’t fool yourself, it’s not possible for the rest of us to ignore him, and believe me when I say my kids are watching you get played.

4.  Kisses, coddling, and a sympathetic ear.  My kids have plenty of other kids around to tell them how right they are, how much their parents suck, how unfair life is, blah blah blah.  I’m also fully aware of how awesome T-man and Bear look when we’re out and about – they’re terrific (generally speaking) about behaving in public.  But.  There’s always a backstory.  Think about how much of your family’s life happens behind closed doors.  The good, the bad, the ongoing issues you’re addressing – the stuff that’s not plastered all over our public face doesn’t disappear just because we’ve gone to lunch.  So if you see us reaming one of our kids, trust that we know what we’re doing.  Don’t come along afterward with a pat pat, there there, let me give you a hug to make it all better.  Or, put another way…try to bury my parental authority at your own risk.