One thing I hate about being a parent, is when I feel more grown up than my own parents. Since Potamus was born I have found myself in many situations where I have had to be assertive, not just for my own sake, but for the well-being of my son. Like last night…Potamus had stayed up to see grammy and grampy come over. We were listening to music on our TV and the Miley Cyrus “Wrecking Ball” song came on. My son was looking at the TV and my dad said “Potamus, isn’t she stupid looking?”
My immediate reaction was to say, “dad, I don’t think we want him exposed to that kind of name-calling.”
Because, by calling Miley Cyrus ‘stupid-looking,’ sets an example for him to look at people and judge based on their appearance. Not to mention, simply saying “stupid looking” doesn’t really get to the heart of what my dad was actually trying to say. Because I know him, I know that he was meaning, ‘hey Potamus, don’t follow her example in dress or dance,” but the bigger social commentary about drugs, fashion, ‘secular music,’ and sexuality is lost on a 22 month old…so it was reduced to a ‘looks stupid’ line. But ‘looks stupid’ is something that Potamus might repeat…and might repeat in daycare or school about someone his own age. He might think that it’s okay to call people stupid or that if he dresses a certain way he will look stupid himself. That’s not okay.
Grandparents setting poor example is hard for me to deal with. I know that this is only the beginning, but it’s frustrating to enjoy my time with them, without having to micromanage their interactions. And I know that my parents were really careful when we were kids, so I’m wondering what on Earth has changed?!