Overheard at the park, a father and his 4(ish) year old son
Dad: Let's go! We're going to go see mama. Are you ready?
Son: No! I don't wanna go home!
Dad: I didn't say we were going home! I said we were going to see mama. Don't you want to go see mama?
Son: Whine, bitch, cry, squirm, protest.
Dad: Do you want me to call so&so's parents and say she cannot come over today? Do you? Do you? Because you're showing me you do.
Son: *Shakes head.*
Dad: Fine then, let's go. *grabs hand* You need to be a better boy. You're not a good boy.
Okay, so maybe there is nothing glaring or overt about what I have issue with. A father was frustrated that his child did not want to leave the playground (I mean, seriously, are we so surprised?!). Instead of asking the child if he was ready, the father could have made a statement that they were leaving. Then, when the child protested, the father had many options but threatening? Probably not a good motivator, at least not a healthy one.
My biggest problem, however, is when he told his son that HE is a BAD BOY. Yikes. What's the take home message for this child? Not that his behavior was naughty, disrespectful or negative but that HE as a PERSON is BAD. While his father certainly did not mean that this child was inherently a bad individual, I'm not so sure a child could make that type of distinction. In the child's mind, I'm willing to bet he heard, "I am bad."
This conversation is a valuable reminder to me - be thoughtful with your words, even in frustrating times. With the best of intentions, I recognize that I will not always be able to speak respectfully to J. However, I will try my darndest to "label" a "behavior" and not my child based on his actions. In turn, I hope that his self-esteem and self-confidence are never questioned nor negated.
ANNNNNNNND here J is having a blast.
What do you think about this situation?
Do you think I am being too nit-picky and not giving this father enough slack when it came to a frustrating situation?
Have you seen any parent-child interactions that rubbed you the wrong way?