According to many of today’s “mommy bloggers”, there’s currently a worldwide epidemic of asshole children. Visit the kidsareassholes blog, or the Mothers Against Asshole Kids and Kids Are Just Adorable Mini Assholes Facebook and Pinterest pages and you’ll see what I mean.
While most parents can think back to an incident when their three-year-old destroyed the entire house with a single granola bar or screamed so loudly for candy that wasn’t purchased that everyone in the supermarket parking lot believed they were being beaten, and think, “yeah, that was an asshole move,” there are others who think referring to toddlers and prepubescent children as stupid, incompetent, and detestable (Webster’s definition of asshole) crosses the threshold from edgy joke into inappropriate parenting. In fact, Healthyday.com calls such references “verbal child abuse," along with any name-calling, swearing, indirect criticism, and sarcasm.
While I can agree that regularly referring to innocent toddlers engaging in toddler behaviors with putdowns makes me uncomfortable, I feel no such discomfort when the moniker is used to describe teenagers behaving badly. After puberty has begun, all bets are off.
[Photo Credit: Me, I made this and it's freaking hilarious!]
I get it: teenagers are CRAZY—like literally have stuff going on in their brains that turns them into insane people, but the resulting asshole behavior HAS GOT TO STOP! As the mother of four assho—er, teenagers—I am at my wits end!
[photo credit: columbian.com]
I recently heard a TED Talk scientist refer to adolescence as “the period of life that starts with the biological, hormonal, and physical changes of puberty and ends at the age at which an individual obtains a stable, independent role in society.” Dear Lord! I can’t wait that long for my kids to cut the shit!
This summer, the Summer of Freedom as my kids must have been referring to it in their addled minds, I witnessed behaviors from my children that I used to sit back and wrongly judge “slacker parents” over.
The oldest of my brood got five tattoos in a span of four short months—all but one of them in a foreign country where I have no idea of the industry’s regulations and safety procedures, and one of them containing an error. This has been one of my biggest fears since seeing all the examples of regrettable tattoos on Facebook and TV shows like Bad Ink. The horror! #1 assures me that the erroneous ink is an easy fix, but I have yet to receive a picture of the corrective work. I have begged him to stop the madness!
It wasn’t long before #1’s misdeeds were eclipsed by his younger sister—my kids seem to be in some sort of twisted competition to see who can kill me with stress and worry first and most gruesomely. My oldest daughter, my National Honor Society student and Homecoming Princess, was cuffed and stuffed into the back of a police car until I could get to her for changing t-shirts inside her car in apparent view of a skatehop waiter with 20/20 vision in pitch darkness. (If only she’d changed before ordering a side of cheese sticks, she may have avoided the witness who was able to somehow differentiate a solid blue bra from a bikini top in July from 50 feet away at 10:00 p.m., but I digress.) Pissed as I was, I thought the handcuffs were a little much, but the cop let her go with the warning, “There are a lot of things you can’t do in public. Taking off your clothes is one of ‘em.” Wouldn’t she know this if not for her hormone-befuddled and junk food driven brain?
Not to be outdone, my middle child has also recently thrown his hat into the ring of Mom’s Death Match, by skipping school three times the month of August and then having the audacity to forge excuse notes from me with grammatical errors! I got a call from the school secretary when one of the closings was followed by a colon instead of a comma.
Aw, hell no! All I can say is that he deserved the paddling he got, for that damned misused colon if nothing else, along with the punishment we levied at home.
There have been other instances. A couple of them teamed up and snuck out of the house after 12 a.m., supposedly for McDonald’s McDoubles. I didn’t know those were tempting enough food items to risk losing driving privileges over, but apparently to the insane teenage brain, much like Sonic cheese sticks, they too are irresistible. The car the Princess and my own junior aspiring writer share to get back and forth to athletic practices and an after-school job is currently parked at a relative’s house some five miles away until the two can come to their collective senses. We all hope it doesn’t take until they’ve obtained their “stable, independent roles in society.” It’s been a real pain having to cart them around everywhere again.
This summer has made me long for the days when the worst my kids were doing was causing me umpteen trips to the ER for skittles and shit they were shoving into their nostrils and ear canals. I no longer begrudge the money they cost me by flushing my car keys, favorite earrings, and any other object at hand down the toilet every time my back was turned. I’d settle for my youngest son pooping in the bathroom air-conditioning vent as a toddler again over the shenanigans of asshole teenagers any day.
On the bright side, today is Labor Day, the official END OF SUMMER, and #1 turns twenty tomorrow! That’s one of the brood into adulthood, one of the five stable and having claimed his independent role in society. Surely with a little swearing, indirect criticism, and sarcasm I can survive the adolescences of the others, no matter what those HealthyDay writers think.