Do we expect our kids to be cute?
What exactly is CUTE?
Here’s my list of what often constitutes CUTE in a young child:
- A smiling child who has learned how to tilt her head, smile and look directly at the adult.
- Dressed in the latest fashion if seen with Mother while shopping.
- Dressed in whatever was slept in, without hair combed when seen with Father in the morning.
- A child that mimics her parent in front of that parent’s friends.
- A child that is charming with new adults, especially members of the family that they’ve never seen before.
- The child who says something in front of adult friends that would not be acceptable from their own children, such as a curse word or sexual word (usually these young children don’t actually know the meaning of the word, but they do receive gratification by the attention they receive by using the word).
- A child who likes to perform in front of adults.
- A child who seeks attention from adults by being overly polite and interrupts adult conversation in a consistent manner.
- The child who tries to be funny by eating food in a non-approved way, which makes adults around him laugh.
- A child who enjoys being the center of attention while with adults.
I just described a spoiled child, a child struggling with attachment, a child challenged with consistency in rules and expectations, or perhaps a child who is seeking to gain a sense of love or a need for control. (Sometimes a child will do one or more of the above without continuing to seek to be CUTE–all children–and adults–like to have the attention of others. These are not the “always on stage children” that are being described in the above list.)
We’ve all seen and been with these children. Most of these children are indulged and encouraged by their parents. And privately, we think that the child is going to have “issues” as they grow older.
It is one thing to be CUTE and it is totally another thing to seek adult attention through inappropriate behaviors that all too often get labeled as CUTE.
We are all part of a child’s community. We do not have to smile, laugh and give other signals of acceptance of poor behaviors when a child tries to gain our attention and seek control through inappropriateness.
Children can be applauded and acknowledged for their creative endeavors and achievements, but we are not helping them learn how to interact appropriately when we encourage them to always be on the CUTE stage of adoring adults.
Be gentle with your child, teaching your child the honest way of gaining acceptance of others.