There is always one.
If you are reading this, you probably have a kid. If you have a kid, you will before long experience some kind of group event: your kid and his/her peers at a party/class/sports etc. If you are particularly lucky, you will be the organizer/teacher/coach etc, at said event. It is at that time that you will run head on into the subject of DUGR#9: That Kid.
Dad U Golden Rule #9: There is always one.
"That Kid" is an unavoidable pothole on the road of fatherhood (ED: more like a land mine). That Kid's apparent major talent is to demand and soak up 90% of your attention, even if he/she only represents only 5% of the total group (based on attendees, body mass, IQ, or other quantifier). You will not need to invest any time in defining which kid is That Kid at any event, as their status becomes self evident shortly after the departure of their parent(s). That Kid has a varied arsenal of tools to demand your attention, from pesky questions, to inattentiveness, fomenting rebellion in the ranks, to threats and actual physical confrontation with other kids (all scenario's Dad U's experienced). So what can you do to deal with That Kid? Obviously, each scenario requires an individual solution, but here are some counter-prat tactics I've used (listed in order of increasing intervention):
- Humor them and give them a bit of attention. Perhaps they are just nervous in a new crowd and everything will settle down once the situation familiarizes. It could be that attention and affirmation are what they are really missing in their day-to-day life.
- Ignore the histrionics. Some kids are just testing the waters and need to know they won't get attention that way.
- Time out! Oh yeah, that ineffective procedure that seems to have no impact on your own kids, can work wonders in a group setting. Letting them watch other kids have fun from the corner for an mind-boggingly boring 5 minutes could do the trick.
- Make 'em run. This works great for whining at sports practices. That Kid soon realizes that the herd does not appreciate his/her behavior, particularly when everybody runs when That Kid crosses the line.
- Switch to a "box-and-1" defense (basketball parlance for one player going 1-on-1 with a trouble maker, while the rest of the team remains in a zone). This scheme worked well last summer when That Kid went so far above and beyond that he received a special nickname: The Project.
Anyhow, what ever approach you choose is up to you. The DUGR is not about the solution, it's the observation of the phenomena: There is always one.
photo © 2010 Vivian Chen | more info (via: Wylio)