Sunday, August 3, 2008

Childhood Immersion-- BIG WHINE

I don't even know how many times I've tried to learn a language. Chinese, German, French, Japanese, Spanish, ASL, Italian-- I've got no aptitude for it. I learn how to say, "Where is father?" and "He's been in the bathroom for hours," in five languages, then lose what I learn because I don't use it.

Maybe, just like that TV show, Man Vs. Wild, I could parachute into, say, Shanghai, and HAVE to use it to get around! Like, total life-or-death cultural immersion! I'd definitely have to learn more than just Ni hao! 什么是这炒饭成份?

Then, I got to thinking...

Kids. They are totally life-or-death culturally immersed in Earth.

Then, I kept thinking...

Do kids get angry? Do they get frustrated? How do they express it? Are they even "ALLOWED" to express it? Are they allowed to even experience anger and frustration, even with their parent/guardian?

And, still I kept thinking... (Dangerous pasttime, I know. (Disney fans?))

What if a kid is told, when angry, "No hitting."
And, "No screaming."
And, "Don't take that tone."
And, "You are NOT to use that word."

Thinking, thinking...

Ok, what is a kid to do? Is the five-year-old to simply tell his/her daddy, "Excusez-moi, mon père. Your not-so subtle suggestion I consume the buttered brussel sprouts placed in front of me frustrates me beyond wits end. I've found brussel sprouts spur my gag reflex, making them very unappealing, and hard to swallow. I would rather be politely excused from eating this serving and retire to my chamber for the rest of the evening."

Really?

#$%@ that a-hole driver just @#$%ing cut me the h$#% off! What a #$^%ing &@#%er! And she's %#^%ing talking on her #%^@ing cell phone.

There are extremes, of course.

When could a child begin to control their emotions? To the point of bottling them up to calmly express in words his or her frustration with the current situation? Why not simply say, "Crap!" Then, perhaps ask for assistance if desired?

Or, should they bottle up the anger until the day, months or years from now, when they can lock themselves in their room and tear the books from their shelves, and rend their bed linens...

Hit? Or say, "Crap, moron, idiot, stupid, damn?" I'm not saying kids should have free reign of the available vocabulary. BUT, should a parent blame the environment, the culture for warping the child? And, then attempt to wall-in the child from the "outside" world? (Or, is it just a world the parents find hard to swallow?)

Does anyone out there know how Siddhartha Gautama spent his princely childhood walled in his father's palace? The kid's got to get out there some day, and will s/he be prepared? Or, stunned?

Would it not be kind and understanding for the adult to NOT jump on the child with, "DON'T SAY THAT!" and instead probe the child's current situation BEYOND the words, and help the kid understand the nature of frustration and anger?

How old does a parent have to be to do that? What if the parent doesn't understand the nature of frustration and anger!?!

My wife, while a driver nearly hit her in a left turn, said, "@#$@!"

My boy said, "Can I say that?"

I really don't like to think that much. It's tiring. Where the heck did I drop my sock knitting...

Any thoughts? Be honest, now. It's just thinking.

1 comment:

No, seriously, I AM friendly said...

Geesh, extra kids in your house, a crowd of women talking about certain issues of parenting, and now you get all philosphical on us.
But yes, I agree. We spend countless hours telling the children not to throw a tantrum to get what we want, but yet the biggest snit-fits I've witnessed were those from adults. I tell my kids, you can be mad, you just can't be destructive about it, and your yelling must be contained within your room with the door closed.