Our son’s been acting up some lately. Nothing horrendous, just picked up on on some bad habits. Habits we’d like to break.
We’ve discussed it with him, and he nods along. He knows, and even tells me, "Daddy, we don’t say bad."
But saying and doing are very different things. And I'm not trying to paint myself as some parenting expert when I say that I’m not even sure where he’s seen some of these nasty new habits.
Like spitting. Or hitting with a fist. I mean, I don’t go around the house, shaking my fist at him and Mom, Honeymooners style. You can blame a lot of bad habits he's picked up from dear old dad, but I can honestly say that punching is not one of them.
And face it, I know that we can’t shield him from everything. I've tried. And failed. All the violence in the world, it' s impossible to keep him from seeing it. I just wasn’t so prepared for how quickly he’s picked up on it.
Like the other day, when he put a WWF combo on me. First, he scrunched up his nose, then came some vicious teeth gnashing. Next thing I knew I'd received a right hook, spin move, donkey kick trifecta.
He's also got a backwards head butt in the arsenal.
Seriously. Now what do I do? Spank him to show him that hitting is wrong? Sounds repetitive to me. Instead we talk. I explain that we don’t hit, we use words. The kid knows lots and lots of words, more than me I think, so it isn’t like he’s ill-suited to talk his way out of a problem. Then we hug it out.
And back to that WWF thing. Again, not my doing, I haven’t watched wrestling since I was ten and Mean Gene Okerlund was interviewing Mr. T and Hulk Hogan.
Our television is limited to three or four options:
Curious George-Only the nicest, sweetest monkey you’ve ever seen in your life. Nope, not here.
Cars - Considering that they don’t have fists or feet kind of limits their options,
Bob the Builder - Despite having all the tools at his disposal, is just too nice a guy to go around clubbing people.
Shrek – May be on to something here. As fun as that big burly green fella is, he does do his share of punching and kicking. But seriously, Shrek?
Has to be school. School, Shrek, and everywhere else. Like I said, I can’t keep him in a bubble. My wife won't let me.
But I think the talks are working. Over the weekend I took him to the park. Another boy was there, up on the tower where there were two little telescopes. Simon climbed up and the boy said he was playing there, made a whole big fuss out of the deal. Simon simply watched him for a moment, then went about his business.
So maybe he’s just saving all the lashing out for Mom and me. Which is fine, we can take it, we can coach him on better ways to handle not getting a cookie after dinner.