So, last night at a friend’s house, I watched her son opened an awesome Nerf bazooka gun that shoots like 600 bullets at the same time. He was having a tough day, he was exhausted and then the gun had the nerve to break.
“Why me! Why me! I knew this bazooka wouldn’t work, I just knew it! Why do horrible things like this always happen to me? My friends’ Nerf guns work.”
He had a classic case… oh, I’ve seen it before, it’s pretty ugly. The question is, how does one catch this horrible illness and can we cure or prevent it?
Here’s my take: As we — many of us helicopter/ over-protective / over-compensating / over-complimenting parents raise this next generation, we’re teaching them that they are truly the center of the universe. I am not judging, I am one of those parents – many of us are (to varying degrees). Many of us, myself included, have an internal struggle where we pit our need to ensure our children’s happiness against the knowledge that attempting to provide these things for them 24/7 will probably inhibit their ability to do anything for themselves… EVER!
OK, I’m not a therapist, but I see one regularly, which means I’m totally qualified to say these things. Wait, it doesn’t? So, I should stop calling my friend who once played a Doctor in a Prilosec commercial for advice on my IBS? Whatever…
There is always a catalyst (the reason your child is lamenting), it is usually something totally reasonable, like:
1) “So and so is so lucky she has stairs in her house,” “They have a trampoline,” “He has a pool, a new Wii U, a snail, a cast on his arm and I don’t even have an stinkin’ ace bandage. Why me?”
2) “Someone else got the last one (it doesn’t matter if it’s a donut or a shower cap, the last one is something every child needs) I never get the last one. Why me?”
3) “What being a girl means that one day I’ll get a period and boobies and I’ll have the ability to take part in the miracle of giving birth? Why me?”
Unfortunately there is no shot one can get, which is good for my daughter since her last “Why me?” was at the doctor’s office: “I have to get a shot to not get the flu! WHY ME?”
That said, your most viable tactic is to highlight how bad they have it. Here are my favorite options:
1) List for them, in a robotic style voice, all the things they DO have that other people would love to have. Then do your best 80’s robot imitation to let your awesomeness sink in.
2) Start to cry about something that would be really random to be upset about like the fact that you’ll probably never be a pro on Dancing With the Stars.
3) Sing a song about how much it must suck to be them. Call it “It Must Suck to be You,” when they beg you to stop add another verse about how much it must suck to have to listen to the “It Must Suck to Be You” song.
4) Tell them what it was like for you as a child. How you had to spray your bangs into to a high bang helmet and that, not only did that look work for no one, you’ll probably contract emphysema because of it. Or how your parents wouldn’t spring for Ray Ban so you got the copies with the mirror lenses that peeled off within 2 hours of owning them.
5) And lastly, give them some perspective. Expose them to the world so they can see they are a part of it – not the center of it. Remind your children some people don’t have homes, food or even iPhones.