Please give a warm Welcome to Liv and Leen!
Apparently, little mean kids don’t only exist at our favourite parks here on the Island. Liv & Leen share there experience and as a parent what NOT to do.
So we decided to be spontaneous one weekend… we do that a lot. We thought “let’s drive to the Florida Keys and go as far down as we can until it’s time to turn around and come home”. We left in the morning and stopped at a couple of places on our drive. From cute little tourist shops to giant Tarpon feeding and swimming in the gulf (and atlantic), we had a pretty awesome day. It was the gorgeous dinner by the ocean that left a bad taste in my mouth. The food was delicious, the scenery astounding, but the company sucked.
We chose this adorable restaurant on the water where we could eat dinner and then have dessert and watch the sunset. (I know, sickeningly cute) When we walked up to our table, we saw there were some children digging in the sand with some sand toys. Perfect, I thought, Olivia can just go play with those kids for a bit while Chuck and I enjoy our dinner. My thought wasn’t too abnormal right? I mean, for a child who will socialize and share with anyone, letting her go make friends while we selfishly enjoy grownup time was a no brainer. Except, what I fail to remember sometimes is that not every child is outgoing and kind like my child. How naive of me to assume that most parents raise their children to be sweet to others.
*SIDE TANGENT* I am the first one to admit when my child is being the a$$hole. I am not one of those delusional parents that thinks my kid is always innocent. There have been many times when I knew Olivia was not being the best representation of herself and I (and my husband) are immediate to correct that type of behavior.
Anyhoo…a few minutes go by and I peer over the table in front of us to look at the group of children in the sand…except it’s just Olivia. She is by herself looking at the sand toys (LOOKING). She is surrounded by neglected pails and shovels as she sits with nothing in her hands. I walked over to her and said, “Make sure you ask them if it’s ok to play with their stuff” because I always instill manners in her. She looked at me with the saddest eyes and said, “they say no. I can’t play with their toys”. I said, “Are you sure? you already asked?” She nodded and looked at me defeatedly. I knew it wasn’t about the pails and shovels at all. Olivia was sad because she was denied a friendship by snotty children who had each other to play with. I knew she was more upset about being rejected as a friend than the lack of shovels and pails. How do I know this? Because I went and got her own shovels and buckets from our car and she barely played with them while simultaneously trying to get the smallest acknowledgment of her own existence from these three other children. She would start talking to the little girl, and the girl would just walk the other way… She’d try to talk to the little boy and share her own shovel… he would pretend he did’t hear her. It was SO WEIRD.
SO WHAT DO YOU DO AS A PARENT??
Every ounce of my being wanted to go up to those kids and see what their deal was. It took everything in me not to say loudly (yes…and passive aggressively) “That’s okay, Olivia… they aren’t worth playing with…you don’t want to be around brats like that” right in front of their a$$hole parents….
…but I didn’t. I didn’t for three reasons:
- Being rude back would not make Olivia feel less rejected.
- Saying something snotty to those kids would not teach them to not be a$$holes.
- And lastly, being condescending would not teach Olivia ANY helpful skills for the real world (because unfortunately, the real world is FULL of a$$holes that won’t share their sand toys).
So what did she do when we went to watch the sun set? She saw another little girl and approached her the same simple way she had done with the other children. She stated her name, started a conversation, began to dance with her… and the little girl was not an a$$hole.
After the day was over and I reflected, I felt like we had done what was right. You know the Ol’ Bible verse, “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime”? Teach your children to fish. More importantly, teach your children to fish when there may be very few fish, or when there is a storm, or even when there is a hole in their boat….you get my point. Just always treat life’s crapy situations as opportunities. Parents who fight their children’s battles for them are doing such a disservice to their child. Unless you plan on following your kid to middle school, high school and every day at their first job, you should probably spend most of your energy training them on how to deal with a$$holes by themselves so that they can be better at life in general when they are older.
SO how do you battle the a$$holes?
Leave a comment below to share your thoughts with the community or email us.
–Liv and Lean
**all photos provided by Liv and Leen