Board, check. Sunglasses, check. Ipod loaded with gangsta rap, check. Helmet, don’t need it. Shoes, this is the South are you kidding me? Buddy to create major distraction while I grab the bumper of a car going by at thirty miles an hour, check.
The above is the thought process of a ten year old boy who actually believes that he will live forever as long as there are buckets of Neo-Sporin laying around for him to bath in after all major mishaps. He also lives in my cottage.
Back in my House Parenting greenhorn days, I use to think that kids I saw limping around on crutches or big bandaged heads were caused by a lack of proper supervision from the House Parents. Now I see a kid on crutches and think to myself that it’s just a stupid kid. Sometimes I even ask them what they did before I call them an idiot. 99.9% of the time I hear stuff like:
“I crawled out my window with a trash bag as a parachute. Jimmy said it would work”. (Actual quote from a boy living in Garrett County, Maryland. The hood he refers to was a mostly Mennonite community and the gang was an active hunting club, which I suppose could be considered a gang with strong Anabaptist traditions?).
“Dude I was doing a rail slide down the office hand rail when the board broke and I had to have my testicles retwisted(?) at the ER”.
“He said something about my mom. What? Oh yeah, I knew he was way bigger than me, in a gang, four years older and 65 pounds heavier than me. But you know I gotta represent my hood”.
The point is this, young males are morons. They have a sense of immortality mixed with just enough knowledge to kill themselves or at the very least brag about how many stitches they have had to endure. If you feel like a failure because one of the kids in your charge got hurt- don’t. It happens to all of us. Of course there is neglect. If your watching TV while Johnny is in the backyard doing donuts with the new cottage van that you left the keys in, chances are your getting a butt chewing, at the very least.
Many facilities that have state placement kids live in almost constant fear of a lawsuit and do every thing they can to restrict the shear stupidity that testosterone does to a young mans mind. They do not allow sports, rough play or any physical group activity. I have seen and unfortunately, worked for such a facility. The kids became caged animals and reacted as such. With no creative outlet for frustration or aggression they became extremely violent. It was a case of the supposed therapeutic environment actually creating a behavior that was much worse than when the kid checked into the program.
Sports, physical play and work all play a part in helping to keep a check on adolescent behavior. Keep a kid inside all day watching Sponge Bob and you will surely have a mad man on your hands. I try to find at least one outdoor event to do every day of the week, even when it’s raining. For all intents and purposes it has worked, the only one with a weight problem in the cottage is me. Ironically I’m also the only person who struggles with pent up aggression, TV and Internet addiction and insomnia (It might be time for Daddy to start taking his happy pills). Yep, outdoor living will cure what ails you, unless your dealing with some kinda clinical depression brought on by dealing with adolescent behavior.
Boys are going to be boys, its been that way since the beginning and it will be that way till the end. Get use to it……. and the ER. -Launch