I was flipping through the channels on XM satellite radio this morning, and stopped to hear Brendan Fraser’s guest spot on 20 on 20. He was telling what he termed a parenting genius moment (paraphrased, but he was not being sarcastic). His 3 year old child hit his other child with a broom. When he came by to see what was going on, and [I believe] administer punishment, the 3 year old looked like he was about to start crying. Fraser wanted anything but the kid to start crying, so he said “Bad broom!” and thus the 3 year old joined in and shouted “bad broom” and then everything was ok. I may not have my details correct regarding whether or not the child was punished before almost crying, but I do have the crux of the story: he taught his son that it was the broom’s fault that his sibling was hit.
I did not find this story “cute” in the least. It is yet another example of how children are not being taught accountability for their actions. That 3 year old, despite not really knowing what he was doing, should have been dealt with properly. He should have been taught that brooms can be dangerous and can hurt people if you use them the wrong way, thus learning not to do it again. Instead, all the child will remember is that it was the broom’s fault that his sibling got hurt.
Children are going to do bad things that they will need to be punished for; this is inevitable. They will cry, and parents will feel bad. None of this means that a parent should find an alternate source of blame just to avoid an emotional outburst. Easy for me to say, right? I’m not a parent, but I think I’m right on this issue. I’ve seen the result of what happens when children aren’t taught accountability, and it begins with something as simple as a broom. This is what leads to a life of never having to take responsibility for your actions. We have enough of that attitude already, thanks. How about teaching your kids right and wrong, and responsibility. There's a novel idea.