Parenting Sassy Kids

My kids have always mouthed off. When they were younger, I got reprimanded by my own mother and older relatives; because they thought the boys were irreverent and did not respect older people. The older generation thought parents were like demi Gods or dictators and I did not like it.

Parenting Sassy Kids

May be my kids were rude, but it did not matter to me, because, I thought they were brilliant!  It takes intelligence to say the wrong thing at the most apt moment.

The older one had what is now diagnosed as ADHD and during those days was diagnosed as PFL (plain f%#@ing lazy.) So I sent him for tuition. Kid came home and asked me, “How much do you pay my tutor?”

I replied, “How does that concern you?”

He said, “Pay me, and I’ll study on my own.”

It had me laughing and reassured me that the boy had brains, somehow they shut down in class, but there was nothing wrong with the grey matter.

The younger one hated doing chores, if I asked him to do anything the reply was, “Am I your servant?”

It lasted until one day I refused to cook his lunch and asked him, in the same tone, “Am I your servant?”

It dawned on him, slowly and gradually that we had to do stuff for each other, and only then did the family unit work.

Now, suppose I had gone into the authoritarian parenting mode … the kind I had grown up in?  I would have missed a lot – like knowing my kids. They would have never opened out to me; they would have never been my friends. Parenting lasts for about 15 to 20 years, give or take a few.  Companionship lasts for life. They pull my leg, they have fun. They tease me and are very cheeky.

I stopped being the authoritative parent when they were 13 and taller than me. Authority is not something I am comfortable with anyway. By then, I had, in my own fashion, taught them right from wrong, not to lie, steal, bully and ill treat animals and smaller kids, and to share. That was the sum total of moral compass that I managed to instill. The rest, in any case, they had to learn on their own. Heck, the rest in any case, all of us have to learn on our own.

It worked, we are open, frank, caring and sharing. There is no stuffiness and if we are in trouble, we do not go to friends to confide or seek help. We are there for each other. I have never understood why being a parent gives anyone the moral authority to lord over another human.

Ritu Lalit is the author of two novels, A Bowlful of Butterflies published by Rupa & Co., and Hilawi published by Popular Prakashan. She is a single parent and blogs at www.phoenixritu.com

  • Nischala

    Ritu – I love your parenting style and honesty in writing. I am sure they’re fine boys today! You may have the last laugh as and when you become a grandmother 😉

    • Oh I will, that is my parental revenge, I am going to teach the gandkids to mouth off and spoil them thoroughly 😉

      • Nischala

        I can’t wait to read those stories as well.. Look forward to your posts. Nischala

  • Swati Nitin Gupta

    i loved the line pay me and I will study on my own. Good post with equally good style of parenting

    • They were fun, they still are fun. Cheeky, sassy and interesting

      • Swati Nitin Gupta

        God Bless you and your sons! Amen!

  • “Parenting lasts for about 15 to 20 years, give or take a few. Companionship lasts for life.” – Brilliant! 🙂

    • Its true. I was never friends with my Ma. I always feel she lost out in the bargain, we could have been friends, but she was always in the bossy parent mode. Kids bring such youth and joy into an aging parent’s life – I love the vibe the boys and my daughter in law bring in mine

  • Laxmi Todiwan

    OMG Ritu I feel as if I have written this…. this is my story what an uncanny…. I sent my elder one for about a month of tuition as he wouldn’t sit at one place and would go off to sleep real soon say 8- 8.30 pm. he decided on his own that he won’t go there anymore. Said, he would study on his own. he actually is doing that now whatever little bit a 7 year old can do on his own… My kids do say the servant thing and yeah I keep hearing from family members that its a mother’s job to teach kids the so called good manners….. You have walked that journey and you make me feel so much better…. thanks a ton for sharing this!

    • Good Manners are fine, but breaking a child’s spirit and diminishing his/her self worth is something I cant condone. You know, children abroad have so much confidence and come to know what being their own person is really soon. We infantalize our kids. They don’t grow up early, some of them never do so.

  • The perfect mother that you are Ritu and by perfect I mean a mother, a working woman with her faults with no attempt to look right FOR society…. Your children are fortunate….A lovely post…