Monday, November 12, 2012

Bad influence

You stay away from that boy!  He is a BAD INFLUENCE!

How many of you heard *that* from a parent when you were young?  Even if you haven't, that line is a mainstay of sitcom parenting.  Honestly I don't recall hearing it myself, mostly because I was a geek who was friends with other geeks.  When your buddies just want to sit around eating junk food and rolling dice it is unlikely to get your parents all worked up...  I suspect, though I can't prove, that it is far more often 'stay away from that boy' than 'stay away from that girl', though that is largely due to parents being overprotective of who their daughters date.

I figured that as a parent I wouldn't bother with such statements.  Why bother telling a kid to stay away from the bad kid when that will likely just cause them to want to hang out with the 'rebel' even more?  Does the line ever actually work?  What I didn't plan on was wanting to use the line when my child was a mere five years old; I was really pretty sure there would be no temptation until she brought home a biker with a criminal record.

The best laid plans rarely come to pass though, particularly when they are made with little to no information or experience.  Elli is having difficulties recently with another kid who is getting her in trouble.  I already had to have a one to one talk with the vice principal about Elli misbehaving and listen to her teacher lecture her about not letting other people drag her into their mischief.  Isn't this supposed to come along a LOT later?  Of course you can't just shift the blame to somebody else all the time.  It may have been the other kid's idea but that roll of toilet paper didn't throw itself.

I have to really clamp down on my lunatic impulses.  I want to shout "There are good kids at school!  That one, over there.  She is good!  Follow her around instead!" but obviously that tack is going to get me absolutely nowhere.  The lure of mischief and being the centre of attention is too strong and Elli cannot seem to extricate herself.  I am reminded of another parent who was floored because she had prepared long and hard to protect her child from bullying and to deal with tears but had no idea how to handle her child *doing* the bullying.  If only they would stop being so unique and just fit into a nice, clean pattern things would be so much simpler.

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