Maggie A's Meanderings




 February 12, 2012

When You Think God's Light Shines Out of Your Kid's Asshole.........You're Raising a Brat
(And Why It's Not Doing Your Kid Any Favors)

I have a friend who has a pithy way of describing certain adults. It's "That's someone who thinks God's Light shines out of their kid's asshole." It's a phrase he uses for parents who think their child is so great they let the kid do anything he/she wants to do. I love the turn of phrase because it's pointedly accurate. It's a criticism, not of the bratty kid, but of the piss-poor parenting which is what it takes to turn out a bratty kid. Brats are not of their own making. They're made by the adults around them.

Stage One: Molding the Brat

I was at the 9-11 Ten Year Memorial held in downtown Pensacola at the part of memorial plaza directly in front of the 9-11 Memorial. There was a young child who was pulling up the grass and digging holes in the lawn to bury his toys in. This was not a play park, but a memorial park. Completely inappropriate. But I didn't blame the kid at all. I blamed the adults. The kid didn't know any better. It's the adults responsibility to let the child know he shouldn't do that. At one point the woman bent over to the child and I thought, "Oh, she's finally going to stop him." Instead, she gave the kid a kiss on the forehead. Children aren't stupid. They understand positive reinforcement. That just let the kid know what he was doing was all right. So I tried the usual technique of staring pointedly at the adults and the child, but they were oblivious.

I find as I grow older that I have less and less tolerance, not for unruly children, but for the adults who don't even attempt to correct the children's behavior. (I have great sympathy for someone who's trying hard to get an uncooperative child to behave.) When it became clear to me that these two weren't going to do a thing about the child, I decided to let them know the behavior had been seen. I said loud enough for them to hear, "Good job he's doing on tearing up the grass and digging holes in the lawn."

They did not appreciate it. Not that I thought they would. But you'd hope they'd be shamed enough to finally correct the behavior. But not these two.

After trying to insist it was just a "child playing" while I insisted it was destruction of public property, what ensued was both an hysterically funny and simultaneously terribly sad list of pathetic excuses the man offered to justify the behavior. There was:
  1. I'm a taxpayer. My response was "Then you'd better add some extra to your taxes to pay for the damage. And we're all taxpayers." That got me a dirty look.
  2. The song, "This Land Is Your Land" was just sung. So his next pathetic excuse was "Didn't you listen to the song?"........implying the park was his and the child's to do with as they pleased. My response was this land is public it belongs to all of us. Do you think the rest of us want it torn up?
  3. Then he got in my face and challenged me by saying he had been in the Marines for 20 years, how dare I criticize him. I guess he was implying that his service allowed him and his family to do anything they want. My response was to get right back in his face and say, "Free speech."
  4. And that's when he trotted out his last, ridiculous excuse..........he pointed to the child digging and said, "That's free speech too." I told him, "No, that's destruction of public property."
It was clear that as far as he was concerned that "God's Light shines out of the kid's asshole." In other words, the kid can do no wrong. Though I didn't use that phrase, I pointed out the consequences of that attitude. I told him that in a few years when that kid starts getting into trouble in school or with the police that this is the reason why ---- his poor child rearing skills.

Occasionally I've heard a parent try to disassociate their parenting from how their child acts, and invariably it's the parent of a brat. They'll say that how a child acts is the result of their inborn personality and parenting really doesn't have anything to do with it. I wonder if they even notice the dumbfounded expression that crosses my face? Because I've seen their children, and I've seen how they were raised. There's a direct correlation.

It may be news to many a parent, but most of the time you get the child you raised.

There was a news story a while back about a mother of teenage sons who went on strike because her children wouldn't do anything around the house. What I found interesting about the comments was the lack sympathy. The basic attitude was, "She raised them." No doubt if the boys had grown up having to do household chores, they'd be pulling their fair share of the load as teenagers. But that's not a connection that parents of brats can make. Their child's actions are completely independent of how they were raised.

The reality is children learn what parents teach them. If parents don't teach them that a behavior is not okay, they're going to think it is okay.

Behaviorally, babies are born without limits. It's up to the adults around them to set limits. And not setting limits, letting a child think he or she can do anything they want because they're so great, isn't doing the child any favors.

What you get is a spoiled, narcissistic brat. And just because you think God's Light shines out of the kid's asshole, the rest of the world isn't going to agree with you. And you are setting the kid up to get kicked in the teeth. Because the rest of the world doesn't think your precious darling is a precious darling. We think it's an obnoxious brat. So then you reach Stage Two.

Stage Two: The Young Adult Brat

A while back we had three college girls move into a house on our quiet, residential neighborhood with its high proportion of senior citizens, plus families with young children and a bunch of other people who like it being a quiet neighborhood. The house had been rented by the mother of one of the girls ---- a mother who clearly thought God's Light shone out of her daughter's asshole.

As far as the girls were concerned, they had a house, freedom, the support of their parents and they could do whatever they wanted.

So they immediately started inviting other students over and having parties on the street. There were cars parked all over the road. There were broken bottles left in neighbors' yards and the road. There was noise late at night.  (All three of which are illegal.) The neighbors' patience reached its limit when they brought a full-size party bus into the neighborhood one Tuesday night (not even the weekend, but in the middle of the week). There was a horde of college kids swarming the street. (All of whom were going to be coming back to the neighborhood completely drunk to get in their cars and drive home.) The party bus had actually been rented for the 21st birthday of one of the girls by her over-indulgent mother........who should have known better but was too blinded by God's Light shining out of her perfect daughter's asshole to see straight.

We weren't blinded. To say the neighbors objected is to put it mildly. These college students thought they were all that. What they didn't realize was, as I put it, "Some of us had been practicing bitches longer than they'd been alive." And, being older, we know the system.

So we called the police. And we called the university. We knew they weren't even supposed to be renting in this neighborhood as it has a restriction of single family dwelling only. So we called the rental agent. 

The daughter did what a spoiled, narcissistic brat who's used to getting her own way would do: she went crying to her mommy. Because, I'm quite sure, up to then in her life Mommy had always gotten her way for her. "Mommy" is so outraged that anyone would try to do anything to her perfect daughter she calls up the head of the homeowners association and says her father is a lawyer and she's going to sue all of us unless this harassment of her daughter stops.

Her daughter had not been harassed. Someone was breaking the law and it wasn't us. It's just the daughter was finally having to face the consequences of her actions. Maybe for the first time in her life.

Who do you think won this conflict?

The girls actually sent out letters to the neighbors apologizing for their actions. For the rest of the time the girls lived in that house, there was never a party on the street again. There were never broken bottles left in neighbors' yards or in the road. There was no loud noise. And, as much as humanly possible, they parked the cars in the driveway and yard, not all over the road.

The world in the form the neighbors didn't think that God's Light shone from those girls' assholes, and we metaphorically kicked them in the teeth. They had limits set for them which they learned to follow. This is what their parents should have taught them, but when their parents didn't, the world did ----- to the extent it was our business.

Did their behavior change inside the house? No. One of the roommates ended up calling the police herself when a violent argument broke out between another girl and her boyfriend. An ambulance had to be called when (as I was told) one of the girls overdosed. They trashed the house. Who knows what the mother had to pay in damages when they left.

But I didn't care as long as they kept it indoors where it didn't bother the rest of us.

However, I do have to wonder. In particular I wondered if the one girl's out-of-control behavior was going to lead to her early death. Now, don't get me wrong; I don't care. I don't believe every human life is sacred. There are seven billion of us and the population is still growing. I don't believe in practicing eugenics, but if some annoying brat self-selects herself out of the gene-pool by overdosing on drugs or alcohol, I'm not going to shed any tears. I just wondered, if it happens, when the mother is looking around for someone to blame her perfect daughter's death on if she'll ever realize where she needs to be looking is in the mirror. Parents don't do their children any favors by letting them think they're so perfect they can do whatever they want.

Young adulthood is actually a critical period for the brat who's been molded from childhood. If the young adult is smart enough and aware enough to correlate his/her behavior with the negative results, they can try to correct it. What that means is that they're going to have to figure out how to do the behavior limiting that the parents should have done all along. Now the kid is going to have to correct the parent's mistakes. It's much harder to do this as an adult than to have been reared properly to begin with.

If the young adult goes on thinking that God's Light shines out of their asshole --- that they're so perfect because that's what they've always been taught --- the consequences can be dire.

If you live in the United States, three young adults who are narcissistic, spoiled brats you've heard of are Scott Peterson, Casey Anthony and Joren van der Sloot.

According to Scott Peterson's siblings, Scott's mother thought Scott was her golden child. Even now when he sits on death row convicted of murdering his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, Conner, the mother still refuses to believe her son did anything wrong.

Casey Anthony may have been acquitted of killing her daughter Caylee, but in the court of public opinion, she's guilty. And many people believe her mother, Cindy Anthony, committed perjury trying to protect her daughter from the consequences of her own actions. Casey Anthony was such a narcissist that she was even willing for her father to be blamed in the covering up of Caylee's death.

And Joren van der Sloot..................if his parents had forced him to face the consequences of Natalee Holloway's disappearance, do you think that he would have been free to kill Stephany Ramírez?

In addition to five dead people (including 2 children), Scott Peterson, Casey Anthony and Joren van der Sloot's lives are also ruined (deservedly so). But that's not what their parents wanted for those three children they love so much. But that's what can happen when you raise spoiled, narcissistic brats. I repeat, parents are not doing their kids any favors by spoiling them, by letting them think they're perfect and by letting them get away with anything. You can end up ruining the child's life.

Stage Three: The Spoiled Life

But normally the consequences of raising a spoiled, narcissistic brat who thinks the world revolves around him/herself aren't as severe as murder.

But they're still not good.

There is a man I know. He's in his mid-forties, and he's the apple of his mother's eye. He lives with his mother and, in the words of one of his mother's dearest friends, he is "Good for nothing." He moved back in with his mother after his divorce. According to his mother it was just temporary, just "until he got back on his feet again." I don't even remember how many years ago that was.

He doesn't work. And by that I don't just mean he doesn't have a job. Even though he's unemployed, he doesn't do any work around the house either. The first time I saw him actually put out the garbage, I about had a heart attack from shock. You see, he leaves putting out and bringing in the garbage to his morbidly obese, elderly mother with health problems. She has so much trouble getting around, she checks the mail in the mailbox at the end of the driveway from her car. But she's the one who has to take the garbage out. The mother parks her car in the driveway while the healthy son parks in the garage. She also has to bring in the groceries by herself. When I see the mother with a load of groceries (she frequently has to take a break in the middle of carrying in the groceries), I've offered to help bring them in the house. Her son never has. It would never cross his mind to cut the grass. His mother has to hire it done. Because it would never cross her mind to make him lift a finger. He never has; he'll never have to.

When his mother was in the hospital, his nieces came over to visit and one of them knocked over a decoration on the front porch. He left the broken glass stay all over the porch for weeks. We weren't surprised at that because when a new phonebook was left next to the front door it was a running joke how long he was going to let it sit there as he went in and out of the door; but it would never occur to him to actually bend over and pick up the phonebook and bring it in the house. That's not his responsibility. Nothing is his responsibility. You had better believe he doesn't pay for any of the household expenses. When the air conditioning recently broke down, the first thing he did was call his elderly father (who doesn't live in or own the house) to arrange for the father to pay for the repairs.

The man is good for nothing. But he is bad for plenty. You see, he's an addict. But even when he's in one of his extended periods when he's not using and drinking, he still doesn't do any work around the house or think to try to get a job.

His parents (his father is a doctor) arranged for him to be on Social Security Disability --- a fact I contemplate with some irony as he drives off to the gym every morning to work out.

To say that his parents, especially his mother, enable his behavior is an understatement. Not only is the mother the one who sets up those lazy-ass, free-loading living conditions, she indulges him to the point of letting him bring prostitutes to the house. When he doesn't have a car, she lets him drive her car even though she knows his driver's license has been suspended for multiple DUIs. But he's her baby boy; he can have anything and everything she can give him..........Except discipline and limits obviously. He wasn't given those.

As far as the mother is concerned, her son is wonderful. She adores him. God's Light shines out of her baby boy's asshole. Any bad decision he makes isn't his fault. She blames it on other people. I've seen her get quite upset about some of the people her son hangs around with. They're the ones who cause the problems. Not him.

And the not-funny thing is that the son thinks of himself as great guy too. He thinks he's wonderful. Not when he's using, but addiction is the only problem he has. If he's not using, he thinks he's great. Drunk and high or clean and sober, that he is "good for nothing" either way would never in a million years even remotely cross his brain.

He is such a narcissist. He thinks nothing of collecting Social Security Disability --- he's entitled to it. For extra money he sells his blood plasma. Never mind that as an addict and someone who's had sex with hookers and has been in jail recently, he's triply disqualified as a donor because his plasma could contain pathogens that could kill a healthy person (much less a sick person). That he's risking other people's lives isn't a factor to him anymore then it is when he drives under the influence. The world as he grew up in it revolved around him. And as a middle-aged, spoiled narcissist, he thinks the world still revolves around him and his parents still feed that view.

So has the world kicked him in the teeth because it doesn't think he should do anything he wants? The answer to that is found in his long arrest record. Besides his parents, the other adults in his family don't have any truck with him. They're aware of just how good for nothing he is. Even his teenage daughter rarely visits him though she lives here in town. 

Unfortunately, this man could never and still can't make the connection between his behavior and the real world. It's ingrained deep into his head that he's a wonderful guy who doesn't need to change a long as he's not using. His is a permanently spoiled life.

You can ruin a child's life as thoroughly by spoiling them rotten as effectively as a child's life can be ruined by abuse. You can ensure that they'll never have a happy, long-term relationship in their adult life by letting them think they're perfect and everything that goes wrong is someone else's fault as you can by letting them be raised in an environment of violence.
So instead of thinking that God's Light shines from their kid's ass, parents should get off their own asses and actually raise that child. That includes setting limits on a child's behavior, letting them know that their actions have consequences, and teaching them the world doesn't revolve around them --- that they have a place in the world with the rest of the population. Do these things along with the love, encouragement and affection the child is lavished with, and then that child will have a chance at a happy, useful life. Don't do it.......continue to think God's Light shines out of the child's asshole, and you risk spoiling not just the child, but the child's entire life.

When God's Light Shines Out of Your Kid's Asshole

For more about bad behavior read "Hollywood's Bizarre Take on Rape," "Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner? The Socially Accepted Racism" or "Why "Birthers" Are Idiots," but not if you are a Birther. That piece is for non-Birthers only. For corporations gone wrong there's "Three Major Nationwide Restaurant Chains that Have Completely Jumped the Shark."
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