What makes someone an idiot? Is it the way he looks? Is it what he knows or does not know? No, what makes someone an idiot is the way that he speaks or would speak to a 3-year-old as if they were some kind of inferior life form, and then ends up getting trolled by them and resorting to violence; that’s what makes someone a fucking idiot.
If you frequent places where parents go with their children and you have enough interest in human relationships you will notice a kind of inconsistency with the idea that human beings are somehow more intelligent than other species. Parents almost universally speak to their children like they speak to their dogs; they order them around in exactly the same way as they attempt to pull some invisible psychological leash, to the obvious astonishment of the little one. What happens, you see, is that our behavior in public places drastically changes from what it normally is like at home. Parents who are bad to their children at home do not have the same kind of immunity in public; their mean, mean cowboy – or cowgirl –confidence just got a little weaker and this is immediately noticed by the child who, putting into practice everything she learned at home, naturally begins to challenge them. This not only leads to parents looking like awkward fools running after their empowered little apprentices while trying to mellow their ways, but also to the most immature and ridiculous school-fight scenarios; just today I saw a mother literally push and nearly knock over her 5-year-old son.
It is very interesting to watch all this behavior with a rational, empathetic eye, for it clearly displays the underlying emotions in any typical adult romantic relationship – where children are conceived or not – thanks to the fact that the child is naturally inclined to explore and be free, which is reflexly interpreted by parents as an affront and betrayal. But, alas, the key exception now is that one party has overwhelming heart-breaking power over the other; in other words, that the child is biologically dependent and cannot “pack his suitcase” away from those all-embracing parental tentacles. This is of course the power that eventually ends up destroying the child’s self esteem, convincing him that he is not free and has nothing to offer to this most fundamental relationship upon which all future relationships are based. This is the power that will set him up for a lifetime of exploitation by the various predatory people who will have anything he might need along the road – or even things he does not need. This is the power that uses the child’s most basic need and vulnerability – his parents’ unconditional acceptance – against him, be it through direct aggression, the withdrawal of affection, threat of abandonment… This is the power that creates the necessary void in his heart for the life of idealization-disappointment cycles we have all grown so accustomed to… But before all this putrid job is done, the child’s unavoidable expressions of freedom and independence will continue to elicit the parent’s outbursts of public idiocy that concern us here.
Romantic partners, no doubt, is one such idealization-disappointment cycle for most people – the usual stockholm syndrome type that is – where you will break all kinds of boundaries with each other in all dysfunctional glory. However, that was a relationship that you chose and which you are free to leave – not like the kind of relationship you have with your child. And yet here you are in this public place expecting this healthy person, new in this world, to respect you for how you try to forcefully put them into the same emotional nappies as you clearly are?!
Yes, your child is trolling you and “loving” every bit of your upset because now you’re in public; and punishment looms; and you’re getting angrier; and the asshole that you have been to him is about to be evidenced before the tribe, his plight for the world to see… But even if you do manage to contain yourself and make your little politically-correct play, well, you look like an idiot, and if you only could see yourself you’d agree with me.
It’s like some satirical play of a marriage fight that never made it to the theatre because one of the actors – the child – just could not get into the role. “You should have been here already after I first told you”, says mother; “be kind”, says father as his hand “kindly” grabs hold of the little body… You will see everything, from the children playfully teasing them and masterfully getting on their nerves, to a toddler’s firm rejection, assertiveness, blame and even physical aggression towards the parent that he no doubt deserves.
If you have a child, what can I say… don’t be an idiot. And whether you have a child or not you can always do something to throw a life buoy to her, so she can remain on the surface regarding the reality of the idiots that she was born around. “You are really pushing that child?” I have said, or “I am sorry about what happened to you, your mother is bad”… Any of these messages will be a strong reinforcement for the child’s soul and a reminder that not everyone is the same; that the idiotic parent-centered world they have been forced to inhabit has walls thinner than he thought, which he can contemplate the possibility of escaping some day.