The Higher Standard Debate
I have seen a post on Facebook recently about kids not being allowed to have a bad mood. The post says that adults have a bad day, and we punish our kids for the same. The post is referencing this quote:
“So often, children are punished for being human. Children are not allowed to have grumpy moods, bad days, disrespectful tones, or bad attitudes, yet we adults have them all the time! We think if we don’t nip it in the bud, it will escalate and we will lose control. Let go of that unfounded fear and give your child permission to be human. We all have days like that. None of us are perfect, and we must stop holding our children to a higher standard of perfection than we can attain ourselves. All of the punishments you could throw at them will not stamp out their humanity, for to err is human, and we all do it sometimes.”
― Rebecca Eanes,
Do We Expect More From Our Kids Than We Do Ourselves?
Hypothetically, a mom works at a restaurant. Let’s say that her morning started out rough. She couldn’t sleep last night. The kids didn’t want to get up for school and took too long eating. The baby cries when being dropped off at daycare. While taking the kids to school, one of them says they forgot their permission slip, making her have to rush home to get it, drop it off, and almost is late for work. In her rush to work, she spills her coffee. Now she is ready to start her shift, already having rushed around all day taking care of everyone else. Does she get to snap at her boss? Or be short with her customer? What happens if she does? She will be reprimanded, and if it is an ongoing problem she will loose her job. Insubordination and poor service are not acceptable in the workplace.
Now another scenario. A young mother has a colicky baby. Her toddler dumped out a box of cereal, and she has not had a minute to herself all day. If she started yelling at the baby, would that be ok? If she snapped at her husband? No. We have understanding and empathy for her, but the expectation is that she needs to maintain self-control.
It’s About Teaching
Yes, to err is human, but teaching respect and self-control to our children is not about holding them to a higher standard. It is about teaching. When your child has a bad day, help them learn healthy methods to tackle their frustrations. Yes, help your child, but that bad mood should never excuse disrespect or defiance.