There is an inappropriateness in my home that causes some – not many – but some, to clutch their pearls and gossip about how they’d never let their children come over. Have you seen how inappropriate it is?!
That’s okay. I’m not really sure I want those sorts of kids in my house anyway.
Or … maybe they’re the kids that need to be here.
Anyhoo, I digress. It’s not that I may or may not have the occasional glass of wine when Other People’s Children are over, or that sometimes they, along with my own offspring, have to fend for themselves at evening meal time (it happened once – once!).
It’s not even that they’re confronted with my Morning Self: pyjamaed, bed-haired, braless, brandishing a MUG of coffee and uttering a lot of incoherent words.
Morning’s are not my best time for people-ing. Once you know it, we’ll be fine.
No, the main issue is I have “inappropriate” soft furnishings.
There a number of cushions kicking around the living area with “rude words” on them.
I know they’re “rude words” because I’ve had a couple of early-tweenage kids come over and giggle uncontrollably and insist that my Littles One (now nine years of age) show them the “rude cushions”.
For me, however, they’ve become words that succinctly, efficiently, and cohesively explain Life to my kids.
You see, I used to be one of “Those” parents who partook in great long explanations about how things work; about how feelings get hurt; about thinking of things from the other person’s perspective; about how someone may not have meant what they thought they meant and it was just their interpretation; about understanding, kindness and compassion; oh, about all the things, with detailed explanations.
Oh, wait … I still do that.
What I have become more attuned to, however, is the fact that at about three words in, eyes are glazing over, and my words are not being heard.
They are not being taken on board.
In fairness, I am going on rather a lot, and have tendency to keep going on and on and on until I am satisfied I have made my point and been understood. Not agreed with, necessarily, just heard.
I acknowledge it’s something I need to work on, and probably soon.
Aside from this self-awareness, I am also well versed on communicating to various audiences. Much of my day-to-day work revolves around the end user, target market, or other type of audience, and curating and developing various forms of communication to meet the needs of the messenger and the messagee.
In short, children (the end user/target market/audience) tend not to want to listen to their parents going on and on and on and garbling about stuff. The older the kids get, the less their parents know, so why would they want to sit there and listen to a very long spiel when the person who is delivering it is old, “doesn’t understand”, and doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
Sometimes, I’m just sick and tired of repeating myself.
So I got some cushions with the things that most need to be said embroidered on them.
Because I have found that, in most cases, “Don’t be a dick” and “Don’t do dumb shit” are far more powerful, far more advisory, and far more understood by the recipient of the message than a full blown description of drug addiction and why doing drugs is, basically, dumb shit to do.
Or how doing something with the sole purpose of annoying someone else is little more than being a dick.
Essentially, saying “don’t be a dick” is far more understood than any lengthy explanation, it is far more powerful, and has much more of an impact than trying to get across a message that is otherwise going to be just as powerful as learning from their own mistakes.
Whilst I’m an advocate of Learning From One’s Own Mistakes, there are some that you just don’t want your kids to learn – nor do you want others impacted by these mistakes.
Also, it’s far, far easier to explain dickish or dumb behaviour using these short, four word phrases … conversations that go like this …
“Oi! Stop being a dick!” (like when one sibling is hassling another sibling – and it works in any combination)
“I’m not being a dick!”
“For the record, that behaviour is considered ‘being a dick’.”
They just get it.
Replace ‘being a dick’ with ‘dumb shit’ … like when they’re throwing cushions across the room, close to the telly … you say “Stop doing dumb shit!”
And they reply “I’m not doing dumb shit.”
You advise them that that sort of behaviour is considered ‘doing dumb shit’ and they have a hard example of what dumb shit behaviour looks like.
It’s almost too easy!
More fabulously is that I can clearly articulate the same things to the friends of my own children, in a way that doesn’t come across as preachy, sanctimonious, or, well “parenty”.
The worst piece, most inappropriate piece I have, however, includes the “F” word.
You know … “Fuck”.
Not “F*#$” or even “F*ck”.
It hangs on the back of the toilet door. It’s there deliberately so anyone who is a guest in our house (and uses the loo) can see it.
It’s not designed to shock, although I have no doubt some people are highly offended and/or put off by it.
I don’t care.
It is there so my kids are advised, regularly, that they are loved.
It is there so every one of my kids’ friends are reminded that they are loved.
Not an “I love you” which can easily be dismissed with a “no you don’t”.
A very definite, impactful “You are so fucking loved.”
They are all so fucking loved. By me, by whichever one of my kids they are friends with, and no doubt by many, many others.
I want them to know this, because I know that sometimes it is very, very easy to feel you are very, very unloved by anyone and everyone.
In fact, I place this where I have placed it not just because I want the kids to feel the impact of this message … I want everyone to know it.
Sometimes I need reminding myself.
If it is inappropriate to talk to kids in a way that they understand most clearly, in their language, then, well, I’ll have to wear it.
If it is inappropriate to remind everyone that they are loved, to give them just this one moment of being told, and maybe, just maybe, having them really feel it and realise it, then I will happily wear the criticism and continue to be just this sort of inappropriate.
(By the way, if you need these sorts of things in your home, because your constant nagging and reminding isn’t being heard and you need to get your message across more easily, these products are available on the Pretty Fkn Expletives Red Bubble store. I personally like the cushions, because when the kids are being dicks and/or doing dumb shit, I simply throw the most appropriate cushion at them.)
(Also by the way, this post is not a sponsored post, nor does the owner even know I’ve posted it. It was more about the inappropriateness of my parenting, and how I sometimes just need to get my message across quickly and easily :))