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Military Brats in Trouble

Our home is not a democracy. Now, while other children might have problems with this concept, our four are life-long military brats and understand very well that the whole "one man, one vote" slogan refers to "not us".

We run our house on the military model. It's just easier to remember that way. I make the rules and decide our "direction" and "vision"(since hubby happens to be deployed), Daughter #1 is my XO and hatchet man, she delegates some authority and responsibility to the #2 daughter, #3 daughter, and cleans up after the son.

Actually, I do most of those things, too, but she is very responsible for her tender age of 14.

In any case, our kids take many of their osmosis-induced military lessons to heart. For instance - since we do not allow our children to refer to adults by their first names, it also seems only natural that they refer to active duty people by their ranks if they know them. So far, the two older girls can recognize most ranks on their own and the younger two think that "Sergeant" was a very popular name for children born in the seventies.

But I digress. I've found I do that often.

Respect in speaking to adults and the Air Force rank system are not the only things my children pick up by osmosis.

Last week my #1 daughter managed to get herself in some trouble. Not terrible trouble, I actually can't even remember exactly what it was. With her age and red hair to boot, it's a fair bet it had something to do with mouthing off.

As I launched into the mandatory spiel about how disappointed with her I was for that transgression and proceeded to dive right into the time honored parental tradition of the rhetorical question, "What were you thinking?"

She stood up straight and said, "[Last Name, First Name], Oldest Daughter, [Social Security Number]."

Now, I place these things in brackets, but she actually listed them off.

I had no idea what she was talking about. And I said so.

"What are you doing?"

"[Last Name, First Name], Oldest Daughter, [Social Security Number]." After this one she stopped looking straight ahead and raised one eyebrow at me, as if I'd suddenly forgotten how to tie my own shoes.

Oh. I get it. Apparently the kid thinks I'm interrogating her. And since we've told her time and time again that our house is not a democracy, she obviously extrapolated the rules of engagement to her situation.

I tell you, the things our kids pick up by osmosis.

Luckily, no one in our house is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, and thus the problem was fairly easy to solve without involving the United Nations or Human Rights Watch.

But the kid does plan to enlist in about two and a half years time when she graduates from High School. She's obviously a barracks lawyer in the making.

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