‘It’s no fair. I don’t get to do ANYTHING!’

sulking child

photo credit: theloushe via photopin cc

The phrase, ‘I don’t get to do anything!’ makes my blood boil. My kids seem to throw this one around a lot lately. I’m not exactly sure what gets under my skin more, the fact that they say it or they actually have no idea how blessed they are.

Today my son got off the bus and I knew from his attitude that we were all in for a long night. If you are wondering what a five year old’s ‘attitude’ entails, it’s not pretty. There is a lot of stone kicking and backpack whipping on the short walk from the bus stop.

I always know we are in trouble when the following occurs: a) one word answers are yelled b) ‘I don’t know’ is the best alternative to yelling one word answers c) there are other children on the street that have clearly been partaking in ‘fun’ long before his bus arrives d) the entire population gets to continue having fun while we have to come inside for dinner.

We are a shift working family so our schedules are difficult to say the least. The one thing I am very adamant about is eating dinner together. So today when James got off the bus, it was imperative that he came inside so we could have a quick bite to eat before hubby went off to work. You would have thought that I was indeed Satan himself. Seriously, one minute I’m trying to have a nice family dinner together, and the next minute my kids are picturing me with a pitchfork and horns… oh yes and engulfed in flames.

Just in case I was the slightest bit confused with the disgusted look on James’s face, or the hysterical sob fest he was partaking in, he made his feelings known when he belted out, ‘It’s no fair. I don’t get to do ANYTHING!’

If you are wondering how I didn’t lose my shit… wonder no more. I totally flipped my lid and demanded answers from my oblivious son,

‘Is having dinner to eat unfair?’

‘Is riding your bike doing nothing?’

‘Did you not get to go camping ALL summer long?’

‘What about gymnastics and swimming… are you sure you don’t get to do ANYTHING?’

Okay, so maybe I was a bit dramatic, but I can’t help but feel like I had done something wrong for my kids to have this sort of attitude. Maybe my guilt about not having a ‘typical’ schedule has made me lax when it comes to discipline. I do feel bad that the kids miss birthday parties on the weekends and can’t do certain activities because we just can’t manage the scheduling. Has my guilt about having an atypical schedule, allowed my kids to get away with an ‘ungrateful’ attitude?

Today I had to put my foot down. My kids may have looked at me like I was a green eyed monster, especially after I threatened to ‘garbage bag’ everything left on their floors tonight, but it needed to be done. I don’t think they understand yet what it means to be ‘grateful’, but now I know how important it is to discipline ungrateful behaviour. To all the moms who have let their kids get away with bratty attitudes… I totally get it. And if you lose it just a little bit, and ask a few too many rhetorical questions… I get that too.

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