26.5.10

Dear father of the very troubled 5 yo,

You come to the playground with a Bible in your hand and read it while your son plays. You told me once that you like to say hi to people and tell them Jesus loves them as a witness to them. I have a better idea.

How about you parent your child with a little bit of attention and compassion?

Because he's making you look bad.  And you, by associating yourself with me through the word Christian are therefore making me and others who wear that label look bad. Not to mention what the people watching you must think of Jesus by now.

No one wants their kids to play with yours. It has something to do with the way he daily yells at other children phrases such as, "You son of a b*tch." "You are a stupid f*cking b*tch." "Go to hell." "I hate you." "You don't matter, you aren't worth anything."

We're on to you. Kids only repeat what they hear. He had to learn it from someone now, didn't he?

And there's the part where he starts wrestling matches with other boys, gets upset as soon as he starts to lose, and then gets mean and starts biting and kicking.

Oh, and we don't like the way he runs around spitting on other kids.

But what we like even less is your total detachment from what is going on. You've never stopped him, never addressed it, never disciplined him. You yell at him for the most inane things and make him scream and cry, but you ignore it when he yells in your face and then yells to everyone else, "Don't listen to anything he says, he's a liar."

You don't correct him, don't show compassion when he's hurt, you yell at him, and seem to have no clue as to what to do with this child you are raising. He behaves like a wild animal. Then you tell him Jesus died on the cross for him and then, rather than teaching him to forgive or what to do with the anger the hurt that he feels you demand, exasperated, "Then why can't you even like anyone?"

I don't think you've ever told him of love, through words or actions. A child who felt loved wouldn't act like your child does.

So, I'm just asking, maybe someday I'll be brave enough to do this in person, if maybe you could spend a little less time reading your Bible, and a little more time paying attention to your son. Maybe you could read a parenting book or two as well. There's no way it could get worse, maybe it will even help. Oh and watch your mouth around your kid so he doesn't keep repeating your foul language at the playground in the hearing of preschoolers.

Every day I grieve for your boy, and what he will grow up thinking about himself, about others, and about God. I know he doesn't have to be like he is. When you aren't around and I talk to him I can see that he could learn and be helped if you would do it. He always calms down when I listen to him and help him to think things over. It's not too late for him, but I'm afraid that you will not change in time.

4 comments:

  1. wow! That is a really good post! I couldn't agree more!!!

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  2. I just wanted to mention that sometimes there are other reasons kids may behave in that way (although the father, as you describe him, definitely seems like a part of the problem). We have 5 kids. 4 are well-behaved,have tons of friends, get invited places all the time, but our son is mentally retarded and he does many of the things you list above (unfortunately). He has used horrible sentences like the above - even some worse like "I'm going to stab you". Of course, he hasn't heard us use these things at home and often he clings to a word or phrase if he's heard it anywhere and realizes it's inappropriate - like the time a child in his class started shouting the word penis and it became his favorite word. He will also spit and bite at times if he is frustrated. I know people must think the same as you about me when he has a tantrum in public and throws himself on the ground and spits and scratches and I try to remove him from the situation or when he uses words that are completely wrong (like the N word, when I know it's never been used in my house). It's embarrassing and I wish they could see my other kids! I think it's God's joke because we became too cocky about how well -behaved our other children were. We love Matt. He is funny and sweet and kind mostly. He enjoys life and loves people, but when he loses it (and sometimes it pops up out of nowhere)he gets super out of control and it isn't because we've parented him in a worse way than our other kids. Anyway, sorry this got so long, but I just thought I'd throw it out there :)

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  3. Thanks Beth, for pointing that out. I know there are kids with legitimate reasons for acting that way, and I imagine it must be really hard to be their parent.

    I don't think that's the case with this child. He's been in the neighborhood for 2 years now, I've talked to him on several occasions and from what I can tell he doesn't have any mental problems. He's able to alter his behavior when I correct him. Usually, "I won't allow my children to play with you if you talk that way to them again." He will change for at least a few hours. But I don't know the full story.

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  4. My heart grieves for this little boy - but like you said it's not too late. Keep praying for him!

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