I was at the dentist today, waiting in the waiting room as my son had a tooth filled. I often enjoy time spent waiting in waiting rooms, I carry a book with me, my kindle (although I am still struggling to read books on it all the time), or enjoy magazines while waiting.
Today, however, I found myself distracted by an exchange going on between a father and his two children. The young boy, probably about 6 years old was building with legos, when his little sister destroyed it. He was distraught and the father sought to comfort him using all sorts of explanations of why the sister had done it, why it was over and done with and the boy should just get over it and move on…he did request the little girl apologize, somewhat weakly, but then shrugged his shoulders and said to his son “You know that your sister is just a little brat, so what can we do?” to which the son seemed resigned and sat quietly until he was called back.
I was shocked first of all, as the little girl was sitting them playing on the floor. She had a stubborn look on her face, refused to say sorry, and looked defiant as she sat there. But I wondered if there was something more at play here.
If a father does not care enough to train his daughter to be kind, accepts that she is a unruly child and her brother has also accepted it as an unchanging fact of life, I see an unhappy future for all involved.
Children misbehave. There is no perfect child or parent. I may work my hardest to bring up my children the right way, and they may still rebel and go the wrong way. But I felt sorrow when I first saw the defeat in this family, but also the fact that his frustration would bring him to cut down his daughter with cutting words. He seemed to care a lot for his children, he was not a bad father, but I wonder if he realized how those cutting remarks set her up to accept that she was a brat, and she could get her way utilizing her talent. Her father accepted that, and obviously did not love her enough to let her know that she did not have to live life as a brat, it is so much nicer to get along with others and give of oneself than be defiant and mean.