My daughter does a really convincing impression of the Wicked Witch of the West. In an instant, she goes from being a solid person to a puddle of a girl. There are always tears involved and usually some poor decisions are made as she’s melting. This is the time when yelling and her urge to hit both increase. And the reasons for these episodes are often related to fatigue or hunger. I get that she’s a kid and that she doesn’t manage her emotions as well as I do (because I manage mine oh so well…), but I still have to wonder if the hungry and tired excuse really flies, even when she’s just being rude to me.
So, should we ever respond to our kids tearfully shouted demands with anything but a raised eyebrow and a correction? Even if we know they are tired? Is every meltdown a lesson waiting to be taught? Should I ever/always ignore a tone of voice that is rude?
I’ve been asking myself these questions over the past few weeks. My darling girl has had some wonderful days and some days where she was successfully channeling her inner twerp. I know that I have to be ready to help fix the problems of fatigue and hunger, but shouldn’t I also try to convey to her that just because she’s feeling a little bad in body doesn’t mean that it’s ok to lash out at the folks around her? I don’t expect her to internalize this lesson right this moment, but I hear myself too often talking calmly to someone who is truly being unkind to me. In what other scenario would I reply with temperance to someone who was yelling at me? I can hardly think of one.
Now that I’ve decided upon this, how do I hear and acknowledge her sadness or frustration without allowing her to be rude to me? I guess the answer is in the question. “I know that you’re feeling sad, but I don’t like when you talk to me like that.”
I’m not trying to make my kid into a people pleaser or someone who can never show her true feelings. But all too often I hear kids (my own and others) losing their shit and directing that anger at their parents. And all too often I hear parents (myself included) responding to their child as though they were calmly asking what the weather was going to be like today. While staying calm is awesome, sticking up for yourself is awesome too! I apologize to my daughter when I’m rude to her and I try not to make a habit of it. I’d appreciate some of the same considerations from her, little person that she is.
Is it ever ok for kids to be rude? Sorry guys, it seems that the answer is no.