My dislike for terribly behaving kids started at least ten years before I had kids myself. Foxy wife and myself made an agreement, when we did have kids, they would not be raised that way. "Spoiled little shit kids" is what I used to call them. I don't know where my strong feelings come from but I have a theory, my own youth. In my younger years, I was that child that other parents probably swore about and discussed over the dinner table. It's embarrassing to admit but I was a menace.
I always had nice grades, was polite, and a seemingly cute and nice little boy. But there was a darker side few luckily knew about. My problems were not things like drugs, alcohol, smoking, or beating people up. But they caused lots of frustration and painful moments for me, my parents, and other people.
My parents quickly discovered I had a thing for keys. I simply loved them. Unfortunately I was not collecting keys, I was hiding or stealing them. Without warning and often often causing other people to freak out. If you've read some stories from the world famous children author Astrid Lindgren you might know who I resembled. Emil i Lönneberga, the cute blond kid who create havoc wherever he goes. That used to be me. Only difference was that my father usually didn't freak out like Emil's father.
I loved to hide keys while visiting other houses. I don't know how, but I usually figured out which keys were important. Keys to the house, car, summer residence, or work usually turned out missing after our family visits. I would not collect keys, instead I would dump them in hard to find places. Sewer openings for rainwater in the street was my favorite place.
Our friends would be in a hurry to leave the house and not find the car keys. I remember someone leaving for the airport and not being able to use the car after one of my visits. House keys, which are important, would always disappear. I would even do this at my grandparents place, they were quite strict and would ask my parents what the hell was going on. How come I was such a menace?
Early on, people never suspected a little blond kid like me. But after a while it was not difficult to figure out who was the guilty one. My father would often be seen on top of the sewer openings in the streets, peaking down and looking for missing keys. In one hand he had a flashlight, in the other a piece of string with a magnet or a hook. Sounds like a hopeless project but since this happened often,my father became a very skilled key-sewer-fisherman.
As I grew older my bad habit fortunately decreased. I'm not sure if I was looking for attention, wanted to cause my parents frustration, or simply was an immature kid. Probably a combination of all three. Consequences of my actions usually caused little punishment which might have been a classic parental mistake. My father was always too nice, and not teribly involved, so my mother and I were the ones screaming at each other.
Today, I still remember many of our fights and how frustrated I felt as a child. This has helped me a lot while raising my own kids. I make mistakes all the time but I'm sensitive to anything that makes my children feel as frustrated as myself in those young years.
I often think back and wonder what would have happened if punishment was more severe. Would it have made a difference? Maybe sometimes, I don't have a good answer.I'm just glad i ot rid of my key stealing habit and turned out alright(?). In thing is definitely true, my behavor as a child makes my devil daughter Annika seem like an angel.
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