I spent a lot of time just watching Cam last night. I realize that my Nananess makes me prejudiced, but she is genuinely a lovely child. She has wonderful manners, even says "excuse me" when she accidentally steps on a dog, which in our household is almost impossible not to do. She is bright and curious and funny...really funny.
While clearing dishes last night I overheard a story her Daddy was telling about an incident on a playground where she was basically bullied by an older little boy who would not let Cam play on the equipment. Every time she went for a swing or slide the boy ran to get there first telling Cam she could not play there. In this case she had a Daddy who made sure that she got to play, which was great since the other kid's Dad was busy smoking and didn't seem to care much one way or the other. It shocks me a little bit how early the reflection of a parents dark side shows up in kids.
These days is seems that parents exhibit little effort in shielding their children from inappropriateness, or even guiding them in correct behavior. A teacher friend was just commenting about how tardiness, absenteeism and incomplete homework were becoming more and more prevalent in her classroom. If the parents don't care, who can expect the kids to? How many times have we all been in stores to witness completely out of control children. One mother just smiled at me and said,"I just can't control him." Well of course you can. You're his mother. It's your job. At the very least you can control the situation by removing them from the store. When you allow children to chronically misbehave you are giving them control when they are much to young to handle it. They need boundaries and positive reinforcement for good behavior as well as consequences for bad. I could go on about this for years. If kids don't learn to respect their parents they won't respect teachers or employers or even their pets and friends.
I worry about this. While I certainly want Cam to be assertive enough to stand up for herself, I never want her to lose her innate kindness and joy. Having some kid mess with her on a playground makes me want to have some pointed words with his parents, not that it would make any difference. Parental apathy is a dangerous thing. No one said parenting would be easy, in fact it is incredibly challenging, but nothing, and I do mean NOTHING, you do in your life is as important as being a parent. Being a parent is a sacred privilege not an inconvenience.
And being a Nana is as good as it gets. ♥