Monday, August 11, 2008

Labels and Judgement

Today, I've been thinking about some unfair criticism that I have doled out in the past. They are from the time before Aaron was born or maybe when he was still only a few months old. Basically from a time when I didn't know any better.

I met a super energetic 4 year old at my brother's wedding in January last year. He was labeled "Monster Child" almost instantly. He was so full of energy, screaming and bouncing everywhere. He annoyed the heck out of everybody. I wasn't there to witness it but he supposedly also slapped my brother's mother-in-law's in the face.

Now, whenever we go for an event that involves having large crowds of people, I think of that boy and worry that Aaron is going to be the "Monster Child". I also realize that the original Monster Child was probably overtired, bored and high on all the junk food that was circulating. I'm a little wiser now and am definitely not going to judge his parents. They were probably trying their best to be with the family as well as keep their son manageable.

Another thing I've done in the past is look disgustedly at parents in malls that let their children throw tantrums. Aaron has had a couple of meltdowns in public that I have ignored and either walked on with him grabbing my ankles or continued browsing the shelves of the supermarket as he thrashed around in the shopping cart. I couldn't give in to him just to keep him quiet. And since all my other reasoning didn't work in those particular situations, the only option I had left was to show him that kicking up a big stink wasn't going to get him anything.

So its easy before you have children, or before your children reach those stages, to judge and label. I know I did. And sometimes, even now, I catch myself thinking that "I'd never let Aaron be like that". But I k now better than to let my thoughts go any further because it would probably come back at me in a few months. This whole parenting thing is so unpredictable. And, unless you have gone through that particular stage, there is no way to genuinely understand enough of whats going on to make any judgment. Of course, once you're there, you'll no not to judge at all. These days, I feel guilty even just commenting.


Kellan said...

Oh - this is so true! We all think we know it all - UNTIL we have those little "monsters" of our own - tee hee!

Great post, Amanda - have a good day - Kellan

Mike said...

This is what's called "payback time". It's going to continue for many more years.

Nap Warden said...

I was so clueless before I had kiddos...I know what you're saying:)

elizabeth embracing life said...

I am so not for tantrums. My kids ALWAYS understood that if they threw a tantrum in a public place it would result in a long time out at home. Worked on all five of my kids. Choosing to be happy and in control is not something that comes naturally to our children, so we must teach them. You are doing a terrific job, and I bet your child will be full of energy in a public setting, but I am more sensative to the labels our kids might hear other's putting on them.