If Your Son Wasn’t A Jerk

Highland Bull and Calf

I may be an animal but at least I am kind.

Perhaps the worst part of parenting is watching your children learn that some people are not nice, kind, compassionate or worth giving a damn about.

But the problem is that your nice, kind and compassionate child may not have the thick skin they need to deal with the rude awakening that someone they thought could be a friend is a Certified Professional Schmuck who is working on obtaining an advanced degree in becoming an asshole.

Sometimes I think about confronting these children and telling them in no uncertain terms who they are, where they are going and how poorly they are going to do in life but that presents numerous problems.

It doesn’t help my children learn how to deal with the fools, jerks and schmucks of the world and it is a good way to get yourself in trouble. Though I have always been an expert at dealing with the chaos and confusion that life sometimes presents I see no upside in tackling this particular challenge.

Which is my way of saying that the middle school monstrosity that is created by hormones, confusion and kids who fit the C.P.S. bill hasn’t gone away yet. Can’t say for certain if it is teasing or bullying but the lines are blurry enough to cause some concern.

It presents a different sort of guilt than mentioned here.

If Your Son Wasn’t A Jerk

Sometimes I picture talking to parents and explaining why their son got their ass kicked and their ego savaged because when you mess with my kid that is where my head goes.

I am a Taurus and though there is much Ferdinand in me there is a lot of nasty too. I ignore a lot but I haven’t always been like this. I got messed with too except in those days they expected you to fight or take it.

I didn’t take it…for very long.

When Steiner the minor talks about these things I listen carefully and try to figure out what is real and what is taken too seriously. I am not the father that believes my kid is perfect but then again I am someone who believes perfection is found in imperfection.

It is possible that some of what is going on has to do with his own growing pains. Sometimes he tells me he doesn’t have any good skills and I just want to scream because he can’t see yet how many he has nor does he recognize that some of the ones he thinks are key are going to be useless.

Chances are the great athletes in school won’t be able to use those skills for much and the cool kids won’t always be the ones that people flock to nor will many care.

But the difference between what we have experienced in our lives is vast, it is a chasm that can’t be crossed just by desire.

I wonder about how much to tell him about my own experiences as a kid and as an adult because trying to identify what will really help and what won’t is hard.

There is no real purpose in telling him about punching Tommy in the mouth or wrestling with Jimmy because I was done listening. It is not how he handles things and these days they frown upon that.

So I do my best to walk a line where I share nuggets that I think will help. I do my best to give honest feedback that will help prepare and not crush him.

This Is Harder Than When He Was Little

I don’t want to sound like one of the know-it-alls who used to tell me to enjoy parenting an infant because they said it was so much easier to be sleep deprived than to deal with teens, but it is true.

Bigger kids come with bigger problems.

We are starting to hear/see about the kids who are sniffing, smoking and drinking stuff they shouldn’t be into. Starting to hear about the kids who have figured out that touching each other can be lots of fun and dealing with all that comes with it.

These moments are harder.

I remember telling my little guy not to stick a button in his mouth or to drink from a bottle because I knew there was something wrong with it. Now I am fighting against other children who say other things and insist that adults don’t know as much as they claim. Some of that is true, but not about this stuff.

For the moment sex, drugs and alcohol seem to be less of a problem because he swears he is not interested in girls and he yells at me if he sees me drink more than one beer.

But that is not going to last. He may stay away from the drugs (I sure hope he does) but sooner or later he’ll find girls far more interesting than he does now and who knows what kind of chaos that will lead to.

For now I’ll focus on trying to help him deal with the other crud that has come to visit but between you and me I confess that I still want to go yell at these other kids.

I won’t do it, but I want to.

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  1. southmainmuse November 12, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    “Bigger kids come with bigger problems.” Amen. My oldest was having a very hard time his first semester away at college. Here he was 18 years old, really struggling — 3 hours away. When I was freaking out in college I couldn’t send my parents a text at 1 a.m. that made them crazy with worry all night. Thankfully, he is a very well-adjusted junior now getting the top grades in his accounting and statics classes. But that freshman year about killed me. When they are 2 years you worry that they are going to drop in a neighbor’s pool. You think — if only they were 18. good grief.

  2. Larry November 10, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    Middle school was messy for me. The class was challenging and I was not ready to deal with some of the changes. My oldest is a bit younger than yours but it’s not hard for me to imagine some of the issues you bringing up. I don’t know what to say about it.

  3. Gina November 10, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    And Karma is one big, bitch. It comes back to that kind of kid!

  4. Gina November 10, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Oh boy!!!!! There’s so much big stuff ahead, but you are right to take it step-by-step. My husband was always like, “You’re better off to let it roll off your back, Matt.” I was like, “I want to punch that kid’s freaking brains out.” That bullying stuff drove me nuts. Your assessment about the high achievers in sports is spot on. Our guy was little in high school (under the end, sort of), and he was sports minded. He decided to wrestle. As tough as that sport is one parents, I believe it taught him a lot of life lessons. Now that he is 6’3″ and 180, things are a little different, but I trust that he can take care of himself and neutralize sticky situations (so that mom doesn’t go all ballistic). They learn at different times with different things. You are an involved parent with good communication with your children. They will talk to you and you will know how to help! Parenting is so hard. And some kids just suck. I blame THEIR parents for not raising them properly.

    • The JackB November 11, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      My guy probably won’t hit 6’3 but unless genetics throws a big loop he’ll be as strong as most boys he encounters and capable of handling himself. Sometimes I want to push him to get into wrestling or back into Krav-Maga because I think it might help with some of this.

      My dad used to tell me to let it roll off my back too, took years before I got to be good at it which I guess is part of why this drives me crazy because I remember.

      It is not easy to watch our children deal with all this crap.

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