Monday, May 18, 2015

Why I Don't Like the Word Brat {Part Two}.... Outsourcing: Your Thoughts on the Matter

This post is written as a sequel of sorts to the first post, Why I Don't Like the Word Brat pt 1...  

The reason I am writing this, is that I received several really well-meaning and insightful comments on a private Facebook page that I am a part of in my local parish community.  I wanted to give you a recap of what we discussed, while preserving the anonymity of the respondents. I’m doing this in order to highlight what was discussed, as I think it added meaningful thoughts to the discussion.

~First, we discussed the issue of inappropriate behavior that is condoned by parents. One Mom of grown children- who I respect wholeheartedly, and who used to be the manager of of Toy Store, no less!-  brought up the point that, as she said:  
"I surely saw lots of behavior that could be labeled bratty. Tantrums, disrespectful language, and insubordination to authority, whether mommy or nanny or sales person. But even before becoming a mom, I knew that it was parents enabling this behavior. There are ways of dealing with this that either justify the anger/discomfort of those who have to witness it or reveal that loving parents are coping with the signs of original sin in their children--not denying or ignoring."

I think what this wise Mom, with her parenting stripes in place, is saying is that parents either enable/condone this sort of behavior, or they don't.  There is not a middle way.  Having boundaries in raising our children is deeply important, and without these boundaries set in place, we are lost at sea, literally.

~Secondly, we discussed the very important distinction between “bratty behavior,” and the idea that it is ok to call other people’s children “brats,” whether or not it is to their face.

One very insightful Mom said: "I think it's important for children to know what is considered "bratty behaviour." We can make up our own terms and descriptions all we want, but choosing a word that's in circulation is more likely to hit home. If it happens, you can mention the term and they will know what you're talking about and hopefully fix their attitude.  Bratty is a different kind of rude, in my opinion, and can be more descriptive in a shorter amount of time (when disciplining one's own children)."
I completely agree with this philosophy.

And I respect this commenter thoroughly, by the way! She is a cantor at my parish with two little ones. 

~Third, someone called attention to the very true fact that disciplining, or reprimanding, or even making a judgment about other people’s children is downright rude.  Often, this snap judgment or type of comment, comments like “How could you condone that for your child?!” is spoken from a place of jealousy. It is never ok to sit in judgment like that, especially when you don’t know the whole story. Know that the parents are doing their best, and maybe God still has work to do on them. Parenting is hard! Parents- you know this!

I also brought up some of my family issues in that conversation, and suffice it to say, my younger, adopted brother was often misjudged (as were my parents) for behavior that - if you knew him- would have been completely excusable understandable, under the circumstances. I don't want to disclose all of the details here on my blog, but I did talk about it in the closed Facebook page with these friends, since it is so crucial to this discussion, for me.

I was thankful for this conversation, and I wanted to bring it to this space, {picture a skyline,} because I thought it shed a lot of light on the issues addressed in my first post. It also may clear up some confusion you - my readers- may (or may not!) have had in reading the initial post.

As always, thank you for your comments and thoughts!!! This was a humbling conversation, to be sure. I’m thankful for my parish community, and the insights that they have and did contribute. There is a wonderful hymn, “And Can It Be,” that says “he emptied himself of all but love,” and I think many parents, including my own parents- though not perfect- do that everyday!!!  They are bending over backwards for their kids, and they're working hard to be nice in the process. Finding the humble, loving words to say isn’t always easy, but it is right. And good. And important.

{to hear the song, click here}


Mary @ Better Than Eden said...

Very interesting! I think maybe it's related to the idea that BEHAVIOR may be bad but a child never is. So, too, maybe we could say behavior is bratty but the child is not? I have used the word (though I never thought I would) but I try to say that they're acting LIKE a brat or using bratty behavior…still, though, I sometimes wonder if it's a good idea. I do try to never use that word with other children for the same reasons. Thank you for the discussion. Much to think and pray on!

Tacy said...

Thank you, Mary! I appreciate your corroboration concerning behavior vs. a child who is a brat. Such an important distinction!

I'm still thinking and praying about all of this. There is a lot to think about here.

Rabia Lieber said...

I prefer to label behaviors rather than kids as often as possible. And I don't regularly label other people's children {out loud}.

Tacy said...

Oh good... Well we agree on pretty much everything then!;)