It Starts Young

My kids are involved in Little League, which is an interesting microcosm of society. You get all types of kids and parents, united by a love of baseball. It’s a pretty diverse group as far as childrearing practices, as well. I’m glad we’re doing it.

One of the things I find gratifying about it is that when observed among their peers, it turns out that I have unusually nice children. Nice manners, and they don’t have as many annoying personality quirks as the other kids I see out there. They also do not often say things that are unkind, or hurtful.

Not to say they are perfect but they try to be good, because they know it is expected. There is some occasional inappropriate behavior, because they are kids and that is what kids do, but for the most part, they know how to behave in public.

This is not the case with all the kids we see. One of our kids is on a team with some little boys who, for lack of a better term, are real hellions. People say boys will be boys, and I think that is true to some degree, but I also think that kids will be as big of a jerk as we allow them to be. They will take as much rope as you’ll give them.

They also model what we do. You can have all the rules around behavior that you want, but if what you model isn’t what is expected from them, they are going to do what they see you do. Which is why you always hear your most embarrassing phrases coming out of your kids mouth.

One of the things we are seeing with these kids is a general air of disrespect. They can’t handle any kind of correction without throwing a fit, and the parents just allow it. If it were me, I would pull my kid out of practice or a game in a heartbeat if they were doing some of this stuff.

They are also rude to other kids on the team, as well as adults. The thing that really got my goat, though, was when one boy teased another by saying, “you run like a girl!”

I was like, oh yeah? You wanna see someone run like a girl? I’ll show you how to run like a girl. A girl that can run you into the ground.

Like I said, it starts young. When I see kids acting like this, I try to use it as a teaching moment with my own kids. We talk about different kinds of behavior and they are learning what not to do by watching their peers.

It amazes me too, how early sexism starts. There is no fundamental difference in physical ability at this age, so where do boys get the idea that girls are inherently inferior at sports? And when stuff like this comes up, why are parents (especially moms!) letting kids get by with these statements?

It blows my mind, and makes me feel like I am lucky to have nice kids. Also makes me glad I am very clear about behavior expectations. I mean, my kids can be naughty too, but they aren’t mean and they take correction fairly well, perhaps because they are used to receiving it!

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