The End: The Big Dumb Ass
There’s nothing worse than being amid a person who can’t receive wisdom when it slaps them upside of the head except a young person who can’t receive wisdom when it slaps them upside the head. While young people usually have a lot to say during the teenage years, I am not used to kids being smart asses and spewing stupidity as their parents stand by acting as if it’s cool for their kids to be stupid, wrong and disrespectful.
We all know someone young folks who talk way more than they listen. You can’t tell them anything, especially when they are wrong. They detest correction. You look at them in utter amazement wondering how in the heck did the dumb ass get that way. It’s wasn’t an overnight occurrence. Dumb asses are created when parents, teachers, responsible adults and close friends allow them to wallow in their ignorance. Usually these people with otherwise healthy brains have some other character flaws (like an inability to take criticism), which I also attribute to poor parenting.
The Beginning: The Little Smart Ass
Recently, I was engaged in a conversation with a 12-year old smart-mouthed little girl who has something to say about everything and knows absolutely nothing. She’s a “book smart” little girl who has been told she’s gifted (she’s a great test taker I like to say, scores off the charts for her age group), and she loves to tell people how smart she is. She lives in a plush suburb, goes to one of the best schools in the state, and is severely sheltered by her helicopter parents. She lives in a bubble where she’s not disciplined as she should be in matters concerning the real world. The little girl loves to argue anytime an adult makes a statement, discounting the opinions of experienced adults in the room, to include her parents.
Anytime someone is having a conversation, she butts in with either some information she learned from school, some shit she got from her smart phone, or something she simply pulled out of her ass because she’s be made to believe she’s smarter than adults. Even when correcting her ignorance, she refuses truth. She also refuses to believe our experience over her own inexperience.
Meanwhile, she doesn’t know how to do anything a normal kid her age should know how to do. I talk to her parents about her lack of knowledge about the real world to include her lack of age-appropriate social development, life skills, as well as her smart mouth to no avail. Sometimes I can’t believe all the things her parents haven’t taught her. She’s even been chastised at school for her jaw-jacking and disrespect this year (in the words of one the girl’s teachers).
Usually, I’d excuse little smart mouthed, disrespectful kids (to me it’s a poor reflection upon their parents), but one particular day I’d had all I could take of this kid’s smart mouth. The child’s mom and I were having a conversation about lost and stolen cell phones (she thought she’d lost her phone), discussing how people sell them, break into them, reset them, sell them on Black markets, etc. The little smart ass argues with her me about how negative we were and how we “always go to the dark side.” If she lost her phone, which she doesn’t pay for by the way, she has no idea about all the ways the loss impacts her parents. She doesn’t even understand the value of the minicomputer she uses at her discretion. I just couldn’t believe her arrogance and stupidity.
I lost it.
I was so tired of her being disrespectful and a little smart-ass know-it-all because she had a smartphone and because she believes she’s brilliant. I told her in front of her mother what happens to people when they don’t know how to receive wisdom and do more talking than listening. I forecasted her future.
I told her in the nicest South Carolina twang ever that little smart asses grow up to become big dumb asses because people stop offering them wisdom and advise. She snarked, mumbling some other foolery under her breath while her mother stood watching as if she was accustomed to her kid being rude. She never uttered a word.
I said to child that would be the last time I’d ever attempt to teach her something about real life, and that if I saw her about to fall or make a mistake, I’d keep my mouth shut and watch.
I said what I meant, and I meant what I said. Grown kids get grown woman responses from me. Kids should stay in a kids place, parents should stop allowing their kids to be ignorant, disrespectful little asses just because they are a kid even though they engage they treat them like adults.
Her mom kept her head down as if she was afraid to chastise her kid for being disrespectful. I shook my head in disbelief at both.
I grabbed my purse and left. My level of respect for the entire family has decreased dramatically. Kids will often ruin good relationships (marriages, friendships, etc.) because their parents allow them to.
It Takes a Village to Raise a Child
Sometimes parents (and some grandparents) raise little disrespectful, arrogant monsters, choosing to rear them to be book smart above all else. They are crippling their young children by not correcting them, never disciplining them, and depriving them kids of opportunities to engage in healthy interactions with other children their own ages and adults. Parents and caregivers today don’t teach their kids the basics on the benefits of having good old-fashioned respect.
I never allowed my kids to be disrespectful to adults when they were coming up, ever. If my sons had a problem with grown people, they were told to bring it to mama and let her take care of it. Stay in your lane I like to say. Kids should be kids, there is plenty enough time to be grown.
I just felt personally somewhere down the line allowing kids to be disrespectful at home would cause the to become disrespectful adults (unless life gives them a swift kick up the pants to set the straight) in the streets. I knew I didn’t know everything. I knew I had sons, and I wasn’t a man, so I needed people with experience raising sons to help me (and them). I wanted and appreciated wisdom and support.
While I realized the pre-teen and teenage years could be rough, I also knew sassy mouths, bad attitudes, no-talking, and too much back and forth sometimes were all typical characteristics teens may demonstrate at any given time during that phase of life. I believe in kids being able to express themselves, respectfully. Having a bad day is one thing. Being a terrible young person and making the people around them have a terrible life is another thing. It’s not fair, and no parent or caregiver deserves that type of abuse.
I’m a grown woman and I am not arguing with a kid who won’t even bathe unless she’s told and can’t feed herself.
A pre-teen just being a smart ass because his or her parents allow it is just bad. Parents allowing this type of behavior are setting their kid up for a life of broken relationships, job losses, offended people left with the impression of just how terrible your kid really is, and loneliness. ..because nobody likes a smart ass or an ignorant ass.
Nobody cares to give assistance to an ass. Especially a self-made one.
Young Smart Asses Will One Day be Old Dumb Asses
One day, your little smart asses are going to grow up to become big old dumb asses, and it will be all the fault of many.
People should teach their kids to respect and receive wisdom when blessed with it. They should teach their children to be kinder to elders and teachers because they’ll never know what kinds of gifts and little nuggets of wisdom they could receive. There are lots of people teaching kids dumb bullshit on YouTube, television, on the radio and on social media. Kids also get plenty of stupidness from their friends. We need to spend lots of time redirecting and guiding kids to truth. Nothing beats sound, practical wisdom.
It takes a village to raise a child.
Parents failing to accept (and respect) wisdom from their village could be setting their kids up for failure. Wisdom and knowledge can make a kid.
The lack of it could break a kid. It’s formerly called the making of a dumb ass.
Marley K., 2018