Abstract: I have been observing children quite closely the past several years, and have drawn some conclusions as a result. Not about the kids, but about their grown-up counterparts. Hypothesis: Adults are just children who are taller.
1) Kid scenario: Kid #1 plays with a toy for a while, then abandons it for something else. Kid #2 comes along and picks up same toy. Kid #1 freaks out, decides she wants the toy back now that another kid is paying attention to it. Kids are ridiculous.
Grown-up scenario: Woman #1 dates man for a while, then decides she’s not interested in him anymore, tosses him aside. Woman #2 picks up man. Woman #1 wants man back immediately. “Gimme back my man. That’s my man. I had that man first.” Completely understandable.
2) Kid scenario: Kid #1 starts crying. Kid #2 hears kid #1 and starts crying too, leading kid #’s 3-10 to start crying as well. None of the kids know why they are crying. Kids are like dominoes. What the hell? Do they have to follow what all the other ones are doing? Insanity.
Grown-up scenario: Every internet meme ever. Example: Someone posts a picture of a dress. Leading everyone to post a picture of the dress. No one cares about the dress but no one wants to be the only one NOT posting pictures of the dress. Everyone else is doing it. Makes total sense.
3) Kid scenario: Kid #1 whines when he doesn’t get his way. Kid #2 whines because he wants his way, not kid #1’s way. Kid #1 doesn’t like kid #2’s whining. Kid #2 whines even louder. Nothing gets accomplished. Completely unproductive. Damn kids.
Grown-up scenario: Congress. No explanation necessary.
4) Kid scenario: Kid #1 needs attention, starts dancing in front of television. Kid #2 wants attention, begins singing nonsensical song. Kid #3 wants attention, sits on your head. Why do they need all this attention? So. Annoying.
Grown-up scenario: The Kardashians. The Bad Girls Club. Real Housewives of Anywhere. All programming produced for TLC. But that’s quality television. Must be, they keep making more.
5) Kid scenario: Kid gets mad and yells at you. Totally unacceptable behavior.
Grown-up scenario: You get mad and yell at kid. Well it’s the kid’s fault.
6) Kid scenario: Kid #1 and kid #2 have unresolved disagreement. Kid #2 pinches kid #1. Kid #1 bites kid #2. Both kids start kicking. Aggressive behavior regularly used for conflict resolution. They should know better.
Grown-up scenario: Men. Over women, over money, over land, over football, over a sandwich, over another man saying nana-nana-boo-boo, etc. This is evolutionarily significant behavior.
7) Kid scenario: Kid #1 calls kid #2 a butt-face. Kid #2 calls kid #1 a poop-head in retaliation. Children are notorious name-callers. They are so good at tearing each other down with words that the song “sticks and stones” had to be invented.
Grown-up scenario: Women. The difference is they have learned to whisper it instead of yell it. Examples: “Oh my god she’s so fat, she looks horrible, how does she even go out looking like that?” And that was just me this morning to myself in the mirror. Well someone had to say it.
(*Also, internet trolls.)
8) Kid scenario: Kid wants game. Parents say no. Kid gets grandparents to buy game. Kids will use coercion, white lies, victimization, threats, affection, and the pitting of one adult against another in order to get what they want. They are master manipulators.
Grown-up scenario: Congress. You know what, just put congress down for all of these.
9) Kid scenario: Parental figure tells kids to pick up room. Parent leaves. Kids play instead. Children are just plain lazy.
Grown-up scenario: Every retail place I’ve ever worked, when the manager leaves. I mean, it’s retail though.
10) Kid scenario: Researcher puts one cupcake in front of kid, tells kid she can have two cupcakes if she waits five minutes. Kid eats the one cupcake immediately. They are impulsive little critters with absolutely no self-control or ability for deferred gratification.
Grown-up scenario: Me on a diet. Give me the cupcake. Give me the cupcake two seconds ago. Give me the cupcake or I will smash things.
Conclusion: Although I could have included many more examples of anecdotal evidence, I don’t feel it’s necessary because, well, no one pays attention to anything online that is too long. “Ugh, I have to scroll?” If you think your child is easily distracted, watch any twenty-something on Instagram. Grown-ups are just children who are a little taller, with better fine motor control and a larger vocabulary. Well usually (don’t even get me started on the similarities between babies and old people). The point is, although we adults have learned to manage our feelings, it is a thin veil that can easily be lifted when any of our basic needs are not being met. Just like children. So what do we do with this information? Get our kids to go easier on us, of course!
(Christa Osborne is the doting and oft-befuddled aunt to the most adorable niece in the world, who lives with her full-time and happens to calls her mommy. She's a former high school English teacher and current business owner and property manager in St. Louis. You can follow Christa on Facebook or at auntmommy.com.)
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