Monday, May 19, 2008

Morning Edition - 5/19/08

Pappy Dearest
So maybe I’m a great friend and a not-so-great parent. Truth is, I never wanted kids and after watching some of my friends raising some, I’ve come to the realization that it’s not an easy feat. After realizing that moving-in together would have to wait a bit longer, I suggested to BD that we spend weekends together to get acclimated to the idea of living together. I especially felt that the Minnie and I needed some getting acquainted in the cohabitating area. I mean, it’s obvious BD and I will have no issues living together, but bringing a child into the mix usually changes things – shoot, it changes things in straight married couples who have their own biological offspring, so why wouldn’t it have an effect on ours? For dinner Saturday night I opted to take the easy way out and just served Stouffers Pizza – straight from the box to the oven to the dinner table. The Minnie loved his casual, easy fare, but began picking the green peppers from the Three Meat and Pepper variety I served. As I sat, slightly disgusted by his picking the pizza apart, I finally asked, “Why are you pulling stuff off your pizza and even fishing stuff out of your mouth to put on the side of your plate?” He looked at me matter-of-factly and announced, “I don’t like the green stuff.” I looked at BD and then back at the Minnie wondering whether this would be an appropriate time for a little old-school Cocoa-parental-hand-me-down to take place. “First of all, have you ever had green peppers before?” A nonplussed Minnie shot back a simple, “No.” “Then why are you pulling them off? They’re actually delicious,” I tried. “Well, I don’t like them,” he retorted. I thought about the delicious sugary snacks I bought the night before and how he wasn’t going to touch a thing if he didn’t have this pizza. “It’s rude to pull things out of your mouth in front of company and if you must there’s a way to do it. More important, if you don’t eat your dinner, please don’t ask for any dessert or snacks afterward.” The Minnie is very strong-willed and shot back a quick, “That’s fine, but I’m not eating the stuff I don’t like.” Not to be outdone – especially by an 8-year old – I gave him a steely glare before informing the Minnie, “If you’re done, you can wash your hands and be excused.” He took a few more bites before jumping up, washing his hands and returning to his video games. As I washed dishes in the kitchen and talked to BD about appropriate home training – including the issue of the Minnie not having his regular meals in their entirety and then wanting snacks to quell his hunger later, the Minnie sauntered back into the kitchen. “I’ll have a donut now please.” The sneer that comes with redemption crossed my face. I turned off the water from the sink, grabbed my dish towel and dried my hands before responding, “No, you won’t have anything else, since you already said you were full at dinner.” BD respected my interaction with the Minnie and never intervened. “I didn’t say I was full. I said I was finished,” the Minnie corrected me. “Well, you’re completely finished here as far as I’m concerned. You’re going to learn – at least with me – that you can eat snacks and desserts so long as you don’t waste our regular meals. You will not throw away good food only to have sugary snacks. Please go play your video games and don’t bother coming back to the kitchen until it reopens tomorrow morning.” He paused as if ready to say something else, but thought better of it. He returned to his games and I returned my attention to BD. “That is the way it works. He should be eating regular meals along with these fill-in snacks.” BD assured me that the reason his eating habits were off could be attributed to his grandma (BD’s mom) feeding the Minnie anything he wanted; whenever he wanted. “Well you’re the dad and there is some home training that needs to be established,” I continued “He cannot be allowed to pick his food apart at the dinner table, place his feet on furniture and basically run uncontrolled in the home.” BD agreed and I felt a sense that although this won’t exactly be a piece-of-cake, it can certainly be worked-through to bring about some structure. As I dropped off the BD and the Minnie at their house last night and got out to hug the Minnie, he kissed my cheek and I hugged him tighter to me. I drove home deep in my thoughts. Just as I began to wonder whether imposing my own home training on the Minnie was appropriate, I realized that I unconsciously had answered my own question. Yes, it’s appropriate. At the very least, the Minnie is a guest in my home and at best, he’s my future step son. We have to have a semblance of structure if we’re going to coexist.

On Blast
Have you encountered a spoiled child first-hand that forced you to react in the absence of control by their parent(s)?

Keep passin’ the open windows…

18 comments:

D.LavarJames said...

I think you handled the situation beautifully, It's not like you were being mean, but you were setting ground rules. It's best to start out like that then to try and be like that later when they've walked all over you.

I interact with spoiled children all the time especially in my tutoring days and I would let them have a piece of my mind, just because ya momma, daddy, or other adult lets u act like a fool, u WILL NOT me actin a fool with me.

I still want kids though, and can't wait to experience the joys of parenthood, the good and the bad.

Keep up the good work,

D

Caspar608 said...

My children are SPOILED ROTTEN and I have to act as the enforcer of all things in the absence of their dead beat Dad father. I have to bust ass like there is no tomorrow for mouthing off, defiance, fighting, breaking house rules and a slew of other things that go with trying to control a gaggle of children who think they are going to get over on yours truly because their Dad is setting up franchise families all over the tri-state area. Whew! I said that all in one breath! Anyway, they are mine. ALL MINE. And I reserve the right to use a wiffle bat on their asses when I have to...I love them, I spoil them, they are my life...but they get checked everyday. Trust and believe.

bLaQ~n~MiLD said...

Shit, at least you're dealing with a minnie. He can be trained and geared towards where you want him to be. Lest not forget my recent attempts in child raising... In the end, I agree with how you handled it. Structure leads to mature adults.

~Damnit!

Caspar608 said...

Cocoa, I commend you for sticking to your guns and lettin him know who is BOSS in your CASA.

fuzzy said...

Yes!!! Oh My Gosh!!! I remember that this boy was running around the store like he had no home training. This was when I was working at walmart. I was on break at the time and on the sales floor walking around. He ran into me in the housewares department and kept on going. He came back around for a round two and I was like Oh hell no. I grabbed him and told him to start running around the store before he got hurt. Yes I was yelling and Yes he started crying. He went and got momma. She came to me and said how dare I. I replied how dare you! Do you realize that if he had of run into a shelf and a whole bunch of shit coulda fell on him and then who's mutha fuckin fault would it have been? keep an eye on your damn son and not so swiftly walked off!

She was just served!

Joey Bahamas said...

I have little rude ass couzes and they can be a handfull. I'm not good at dealing with other peoples children I would read and lock with a rude, smart mouth little kid...sometimes you just need to show the little wretches who's boss...no shade! Luv!!

JB

j_shanlin said...

Even though he probably wanted to slap the shit out of you and eat the donut anyway, i'm glad that he did what was requested lol. I am really glad that you guys are doing the cohabitational thing well. These last couple days ive been reevaluating my life and just thinking about how cool it may be to have a family... hmmm.

ShawnQt said...

Wow this post got me to thinking!

Even though I worked with kids for 6 years, it was always a great feeling to send them back home at the end of the day. I always thought about having kids but wondered if I could handle it.

While I think I would make a GREAT Father, the time and energy kids drain I dont know if I could handle it.

My lil cousin who adores me, wanted to come over so I could help him create a website. Out of all my cousins he is the most behaved, but when I tell you that boy talks! He talks! LOL.

Fuzzy was with me, and we all talked and interacted, but at times I felt like my attention was being pulled between the two of them. Kids want there attention and will talk about nothing, and u just have to always be mindful to them.

All that to say, even outside of them being unruly, just the time to help them grow and understand life is a challenge in itself. It is rewarding though, I love when the kids I had comes up to me and thanks for for being a positive role model in there life.

Darius T. Williams said...

Working in youth ministry I encounter spoiled children all the time - but, I don't take it personal at all. I'm there to do a job and usually they're in my company at their will.

But, I think you did a great job though. I love how exact you were. You should team up w/Jo Frost to do a Puerto Rican version of the Super Nanny - lol.

Keep us posted on how this turns out. You can tell you had some old school good lovin' home training too - that whole piece about not returning until the kitchen reopens is something my mother would definitely tell me. Good job!

Mr. Jones said...

Well, it's about damn time. You know I don't do incorrigible children and I def don't do men who let their kids run amuck!

I told you I would've slapped the minnie silly after he put his feet on the sofa the first time.

You just don't behave in such a way.

You handled it well, tho.

Oh, we need to discuss dates, btw.

One Man’s Opinion said...

First, I got to agree with the Mi' I too hate the green stuff on my pizza. That being said, daddy should not allow him to be disrespectful to you and why the hell is he allowed to play video games if he is being such a snot? It is hard to be a step, I don't care what your sexuality. Why is it so hard? Because it is hard feeling comfortable to reach out and smack someone who is not your blood.
That being said, I don't think you should force kids to eat things that they do not like. Sure they should experiment, but you got to give their taste buds a chance to mature. There are plenty of things that I didn't like growing up and still don't like now, but some that I have learned to enjoy.
Hang in there, bro. Parenting isn't easy when the child is your blodd, so it's extra hard when you are a step.

Sammygirl said...

I'm an old school mom in a new school world. My daughter does NOTHING without my permission, cleans her plate, says please and thank you, and does not speak while being spoken to. I live by the rule that I am the parent, and if I make a friend out of my child along the way, that's great. But I am the parent. As long as you have BD's support, you will be ok. One thing you must choose to do before you move in together is become a "united front" and create your own subtle communication that they don't know. I cannot tell you how many times my husband or I will discipline the kids, and we are not in agreement, but they will never know that, because we discuss it privately and work towards better communication.
That being said, something that you will have to learn to do is "pick your battles". You can pick them with your friends and family and at work, etc., but picking them with a child is a whole other monster. Especially one that is 8 years old. I LONG for my daughter to be the cute 2 year old she was, but the fact is, she is a tall, gorgeous, smart 9 year old, with an independent spirit. I have learned to read her before she even knows what she is going to do, and yes, I alter what I we are doing if I feel there is potential for conflict. I don't see it as me catering to her, but I am much more flexible if I'm in control and if she's not whining at me.
I wish you luck, you're going to do great. You already have the foundation with BD, start building the home, and remember it's brick by brick.....

That Dude Right There said...

Have I? Have I? I have 30 neices and nephews and I think that 25 of them are spoiled rotten.

Hell when, I was 15 I was whooping their lil asses with belts for doing shit at my Mom's house that their parents let them get away with. I wasn't having that shit!!

But you handle that situation in a wonderful manner. I don't know if I can handle stepkids. Seems like you can.

Kensilo said...

I enjoyed that. Great interaction with the Minnie. These kids with the quick wit and fast reply. LOL. Structure is key in order to have a balance relationship for parent and child. You demonstrate it very well here.
Good Job!!

WhozHe said...

I believe in parenting that uses natural consequences. It is a natural consequence not to get any extra food once you've wasted food. Hang in there.

Kritzmoritz said...

You write so well...I can't believe I never crossed your blog all this while. Dayum! Keep it up men. Love it

Cocoa Rican said...

Thank you all so much for the feedback!

yet another black guy said...

now that's how you administer home training! what's better is how BD allowed you to be authoritative without intervening or overriding your rules. i've raised a couple nephews and nieces and it's definitely hard. much luck in that endeavor.

i CAN give you one bit of advice though: realize that any trouble he may get into are not all YOUR fault. as a guardian, i took my lil young'uns missteps personal when in fact they weren't. just a little something to chew on.