Let’s be honest here – sometimes children are simply just little sh*ts.
“F.U.C.K” he mouthed at me.
His mouth twisted into a snarl. His eyes nasty, blazing with fury.
Had he been ten years older. I would have been horrified at the venom. But his toothless grin after he spat out his fury chipped away at the malice in his words.
He was six years old.
A child in a park — a little boy who, just moments before, had been swinging as high as he could kicking out his legs in joy.
A child. Not a pleasant child. Possibly a struggling child, but a child nonetheless. A child who had just been reprimanded for hurting my daughter and a child, right now I basically thought was pretty darn awful.
As he slunk away and threw slithers of wood chips at the other kids I wondered about him.
We’ve all heard the reasons: He’s just bored. She’s overtired. He needs grommets for his ears. We had a big weekend. He is frustrated because he feels nobody listens to him. He is actually bored at school; he isn’t challenged.
Reasons? Or excuses?
It makes me wonder. Could it ever be simply that your child is a bit of a sh*t?
I’ve thought it, even at times about my own tantruming children. A deliberately drawn-on wall, a meltdown in the supermarket over a box of smarties, a tussle over a toy that ends in tears.
It seems these days we pussyfoot around this idea, trying to find reasons, trying to explain and account for our children’s behaviour.
Perhaps, in many cases, there are valid reasons. But what about the times there aren’t?
The idea of a child just being inherently bad was explored in depth after the much-publicised death of James Bulger in 1993. The two-year old was abducted, tortured and murdered by two ten-year-old boys, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables.
The judge in sentencing said it was “an act of unparalleled evil and barbarity”.
At the time they were branded “evil”; though many, at the conclusion of the case, placed much of the blame upon their mothers (not fathers.)
A study a few years later by psychologists at University College London found that one per cent of children could be actually be inherently psychopathic due to genetic traits. However, the researchers found that these children could in some cases respond to ‘warm parenting.’
It made many wonder: could, in another wold, James Bulger’s death have been avoided had these boys been parented differently?
That’s one extreme, but what about the kid who is just always naughty? The child who shows no remorse, no empathy, no humanity, no ability to reason?
You’ve seen them. I’ve seen them, even at the age of three or four.
These kids. What do you think? Just plain naughty? (Post continues after video:)