Today I read a headline, no I did not read the entire article mostly because the headline infuriated me. Some woman in the UK is making a name for herself because she decided that instead of teaching her children how to schedule their time and transition from one activity to the next, she simply smashed their iPads. Now apart from the extreme financial waste, she could have given them to a needy school, the reality is that not only is she a lazy parent, but she is simply a bully. To put it more succinctly, she is simply an asshole.
This nonsense reminds me of the Trumpkins who are so outraged by a Nike ad featuring Colin Kaepernick that they are burning their Nike apparel and sneakers. In truth, these idiots could have also just donated their goods to a homeless shelter, but for some reason, even though they spent an exorbitant amount of money on the items already, these non Mensa member geniuses think they are making a statement by destroying paid for merchandise.
When you talk about privilege these idiotic actions are the things that should come to mind. The idea that your only response to not liking a situation, or not having the capacity to deal with the situation, is to destroy merchandise after you have spent a huge amount of your money on a product, is something only those in the first world, and only those in a financially secure situation in the first world would even think of doing. The abject idea that you would go out of your way to do something so incredulously stupid and think you are making a political, or sound parenting statement, only shows how public education truly has failed our societies.
The inability to think and reason through a situation is so profound in both of these instances that it belies rational thought and analysis. Beyond the fact that Nike ALREADY HAS YOUR MONEY, all you are doing is ginning up free publicity for the ad to which you object. Think about it. You go on social media to make a statement about Nike. How is that different than the networks giving Trump all that free air time during the election? It’s not. If you didn’t think that Nike knew that there are fools born every minute, then you deserve to be beaten (nonviolently) with a wet noodle, because you jackasses just got played.
Nike just got millions of dollars worth of free publicity.
Kaepernick just got paid millions to do the ad.
But you are out your expensive kicks, and have to buy new clothes and shoes.
Now for the parent who thinks bullying their child is going to win them points. Destroying their toys is no different than the parent who thinks spanking a small child is the essence of their manhood. These are the same sociopaths, and yes it is psychotic, to think its ok for a 6 foot tall 200 pound man, or even a 5 foot 150 pound woman, to spank a 2 year old child. It is not only ignorant, it is abuse. It is simply showing that if you are bigger and stronger you can do anything you want to another person or their belongings. Might makes right, laws be damned.
Let’s talk about lazy parenting for a minute. Of course, if you have never been at home 24/7 with a toddler or two, you have no idea how heaven sent the iPad is. You put your two-year-old in front of a Disney movie so you can do the laundry, maybe clean the toilet, and try to figure out what to make for dinner after you realize that you forgot to go to the supermarket. Listen, watching cartoons on the iPad is no different than watching cartoons, or after school shows, when the boomer generation was growing up. So as long as you take the child to the park, read them Dr. Seuss, and go to Gymboree or Mommy (daddy) and Me classes you are fine.
Parenting is also learning how to balance YOUR responsibilities and teaching your child independence. Listen, in all reality, and truth be told, by the time they are two, children know they are not an appendage of their parent, and that is exactly when they learn that wonderful word “no.” And do they know how to use it.
Then the next step for the adult in the room, and I am not necessarily referring to the grown human being in the discussion, in learning how to handle the modern world, is working with apps. What is so terrible if a computer program teaches your child how to read and write? Reader Rabbit was a god-send for Gen-X. In school today, everything is taught by computer. IPads are a much sought after school perk. You have to have computers to do homework, get schedules, even reading material is all on line. Classes in higher education are slowly all being taught on line, or through video conferencing. How is it terrible to teach your child to be able to function in the real world, as long as social skills, and life skills are taught along side modern reality.
And yes as they get older children graduate to social media, video games, and texting. So instead of simply having the mean girls gossip about you at school, it happens 24/7 (This too is something that they need to learn to handle, because bullying of all kinds, also does not stop after middle school. If you think that corporate politics and office-meenies stop at 5pm you need to leave your deserted island, and get back to civilization pronto); instead of playing cowboys and Indians (not exactly politically correct I know, but have you looked at some of the video games out there) you play on line with people all over the world with massive multi-player on-line games like World of Warcraft or Star Wars’ latest entry; and instead of spending hours on the phone chatting with your friends and tying up your parents one land line, you are texting at 2 in the morning about, or to, the boy sitting next to you in bio.
Listen, the question is what competent parent lets their child just sit in front of the computer all day and doesn’t try to get them to interact with other human beings in the first place? You mean they have meltdowns when you take their toys away? Really? You mean they get grumpy, disrespectful, and hard to handle when they are told “no”? Oh my word, you mean your children are acting like…gasp….children?
So your reaction as a parent is not to set parameters? It’s not to set boundaries? It’s not to teach a life lesson that they need to balance what they do in life? No, the lesson you teach your child, is that when something is hard to handle (such as your inability to parent appropriately) you choose violence. And this idiot parent in the UK is being applauded because why? She destroyed here child’s expensive computer instead of putting it away and teaching her child to simply read a book, play a board game, run on a soccer field, or play the piano?
When my children didn’t listen, you know what happened to them? I didn’t destroy their very expensive toys (which I spent my hard earned money to buy) , they WERE GIVEN A TIME OUT. And as they grew, when they didn’t do as they were told they had other consequences. And guess what, they learned boundaries. They learned what was expected of them. They learned how to balance their daily realities. They learned how to prioritize the modern world around them.
And they both are adults with advanced degrees, who interact with people (even though its hard since they are autistic), and are able to function in the world with proper life skills, hold down jobs, and love love love their iPads, iPhones and computers.
And to get them there I didn’t have to resort to violence at all.
What I did, was actually take my time and learn to parent.