We are a video game family. My husband makes them so it’s sort of a requirement. This is aided by the fact we all enjoy them.
I like RPGs. (Role Playing Games) I’ve lost many a personal growth opportunity to playing WoW. (World of Warcraft) I no longer play, but had played since the beta and well into my son’s life. I did not neglect him to play, but let’s just say dirty dishes may have aged and laundry may have walked as a result of my hobby. This game was my first RPG and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wasn’t very good at it, and did not achieve anywhere near maximum level, but I felt it was a respectable character.
I like ranged characters. This means I get to be away from the fray, but still hurl damaging hits from afar. Because I get to hang back, my character only needs light armor. I’m vulnerable to attacks, but I rely on “tanks” to deal with the bad guys up close and personal.
My husband likes to play FPS games. (First Person Shooters) He loves big hulking characters maxed out in armor and giant weapons. He loves running into a mess and tackling things head-on.
My son likes FPS games, but tends to hang back and want to direct. He likes the weapons and the action, but not necessarily up close and personal. His armor is protected. Fighting is sometimes secondary.
My daughter is only 6 so her game library is pretty sparse. She loves playing Minecraft with her brother, but they never play with the monsters on. She has begun to master Mario Kart also – but only if she’s Princess Peach 🙂
What is with the gaming lesson? I have realized we play much like we live. Not with big guns and moon boots and space ship getaways, but with our armor and our plans of attack. I am very passive aggressive. I will do anything to avoid a confrontation. Please do not put me on the spot for a quick decision because it will simply not happen. Need support? I’m your gal. Need advice? Anytime! But direct conflict? No thanks.
My husband is all about confrontation. Clean it up, clear it out, what’s the matter, deal with it. No mess. He is a big personality with big opinions and ideas to back it up.
Together we’ve created this little man. This kid that likes to be in charge, but doesn’t necessarily like conflict. He’s all about safety and rules. Things are black and white and everyone else should absolutely follow the rules.(If he chooses not to, it’s for a very good reason! Duh!)
So here I am sitting at my computer trying to work out a problem. My son has a villain. A nemesis. An enemy. This kid has been a problem since 4th grade. I don’t like using the term “bully” as that should be reserved for actual physical threats, abuse, intimidation, etc. The jerk in my son’s class is just that. A jerk. A now 5th grade jock brat. This kid is bigger than most kids in the class and has the psychological back up of a teacher mom. A teacher at the same school, no less. He has a nearly impenetrable invisible armor. … nearly.
Last year the harassment began. Slight things. Big brother annoying things. This kid is not my son’s big brother, however, and that crap will simply not fly. I brought this all to the teacher’s attention.
Things escalated and nothing was being done. I found out my kid was not the only one being harassed. By the Spring there was a playground incident where my kid was shoved by Jerk Boy and I took it to the principal and called out the fact that just because Jerk Boy had a Teacher Mom, I did not appreciate the staff turning a blind eye to the treatment of my kid.
Surprise! Things were corrected. The Teacher Mom literally refused to make eye contact with me after that (and still wont look at me at pick up) but who cares? I just wanted my son safe at school. He had enough to deal with from being behind by an entire grade level and was working through finding a good medication for his ADHD. Also we were new to the school, and a lot of the kids knew each other so my son had to jump in and make friends from scratch.
After making a huge deal about everything, the antagonizing and overall jerkdom ceased. This year we found out they would be in the same class again and worried a bit, but the year began with no issues. … until recently. My son told me last night that Jerk Boy had been resurrected and he was starting again.
Kids have a way of making you grow. Unless you are just unable to pay attention and parent, you kind of have to grow and change as they do. I was a very naive parent in thinking if I could just keep them alive until Elementary School, things would be cake!
Dumbass. It just gets more complicated. At school you have a big giant pool of all kinds of small humans from all kinds of big human lives/situations/circumstances and the big humans in charge also come in a wide array of Human.
Spoiler alert: Some asshole grown ups make asshole kids. I strive not to associate with either.
So I’ve become more aggressive in my tactics with dealing with these situations. I cannot send in my tank husband to bash through the administration office. I am the face they are used to seeing. They know me from the IEP meetings and they know i’m not an asshole ( i hope!) But now they know I can be one if someone is choosing to overlook my son’s treatment simply because they are friends with his Villain’s mother.
Kids suck. School is hard. Armor is required! I had big brothers so my combat training was extensive before elementary school. Teasing and name calling was not something that concerned me. I am thankful my family has always been brutally honest about everything. Don’t feel good? Take medicine. In pain? Lose weight, fat ass! Hungry at lunch time? Pack your own damn lunch! Failing a subject? Do the damn homework!
This made adulting slightly more doable. Cynical and intolerant? That’s just back up armor.
I am a firm believer that kids should not be sheltered from life’s harshness. I DO believe it makes for better adults. Having said that, there are levels of tolerance. My kid is a sensitive boy not because he is coddled or enabled. He is sensitive because he is dealing with a lot of factors. He does not go to school, sit at a desk, listen to the teacher, follow the directions, play at recess and come home. My daughter is able to do all of that, and is mastering it in Kindergarten. My son, however, literally cannot. He goes to school after getting up from a restless night of intermittent sleep. He deals with ten channels going on in his brain as he tries to focus on getting the toothpaste on the brush …. if he decides to actually brush instead of just trying to convince me that it happened. He manages whatever clothes he likes despite being able to identify colors, fights through the lack of impulse control to jump scare his little sister every chance he gets. When he makes it to breakfast, he takes medicine that will eventually kick in – hopefully by the time he sits at his classroom desk – eats what he can before his body is no longer interested in food. He then wades through the noise of a morning house, his brain noise, and whatever duties he needs to complete before configuring all the items needed to leave the house.
It would be nice if school was the beginning of his brain activity for the day, but it’s not. When you add to that the stress of a Jerkwad who is seemingly protected by an invisibility cloak in the form of a mother who is a well-liked teacher at the same school it adds complication to your day. It’s a distraction! My kid has managed to jump an entire grade level in Math and Writing. That’s epic! That is huge and I would hate for that achievement to get diminished and jeopardized because he’s trying to figure out avoidance and exit strategies.
Let’s just make kind reasonable people, ok? And if you are afraid you are one of the asshole parents mentioned, you probably are. That’s ok! There’s help! Just stop being an asshole. Attempt to open your mind to another perspective. Start small. That checker who never smiles at the grocery store? Maybe it’s not you, maybe he/she has something really hard to deal with like a sick family member. Be nice anyway. There’s hope! I used to be an asshole, and my kids have convinced me to change… and they are worth it because they’re pretty awesome.
At the end of the day we all want to be able to take off our armor, sit at a table and chow down on a turkey leg.
Just be kind.