Are you down with Other Peoples’ Kids? Whenever I’m at the playground or some other social event where kids and parents mix I always find myself hanging with the kids. Why? Usually they’re more interesting and they’re always more fun.
This of course means that I mess with their heads. Hey I do it to my own kids constantly and sometimes forget that other children may not appreciate my twisted sense of humor, or worse their parents don’t. Last summer at a local church production of The Wizard of Oz one of the boys showed up half an hour or so late for the dress rehearsal. On the way in the door I ‘joked’ that he had shown up too late and missed the performance. His face went white and his Mother swooped in to soothe him. She wasn’t exactly mad, but cautioned me that he doesn’t take that sort of ‘humor’ well. Whoops.
Just last night on the way into an end of school ice cream social I told a couple of excited younger kids that the ice cream was only for grown-ups. I know I’m a mean evil bastard. My kids would just blow it off and say ‘yeah right Dad’ but these kids looked to their own Dad for reassurance that I was indeed messing with them. Surprisingly he backed me up and agreed, ‘yep, now I have to eat the gross Spongebob popsicle all by myself.’
I’ve been told that this sort of thing damages kids. My wife (who has a degree in early childhood development) was sternly reprimanded in the grocery store by so-called Child Psychologist for the following Son-Mother banter:
‘Mom I’m hungry’
‘Nice to meet you Hungry I’m Mommy’
‘Noooooo I AM Hungry’
‘Yes and I’m Mommy, again nice to meet you’
She pulled her aside and told her she was severely damaging her child. My wife smiled politely and said thank you before walking away.
I suppose this sort of thing can eventually cross a a line, but I’m of the opinion that if done properly it can allow your kids to develop a thicker skin and a sense of humor. Both of which will serve them well in this World. Not to mention that it cracks me up.