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helloA great challenge when performing children’s magic is the bratty kids in the audience.

I once went to a party of a rich kid and wanted to be friendly. “Hello, what’s your name?” I greeted the birthday kid. He said, “I’m Harvey and you are STUPID.”

brat1Bratty kids don’t necessarily come from the rich and famous families. Little imps also descend from families of lesser financial capability.

The are all made of the same fiendish stuff, though.  They have the potential for creating mayhem during a magic performance.  They can trip up the magician and mess up his tricks.

But what unnerves me is parents who enjoy watching their children wreak havoc on the magic show.

In one party, a kid kept punching my right foot, then my leg, then my knee, then my thigh. His punches kept going up, unerringly heading toward the most cherished vital part of me. I felt I wanted to strangle, staple, spindle and mutilate him.

Worse, the parents were smiling. They were enjoying the spectacle of their son trying to circumcise me all over again using nothing but his bare fists.

Parents who fail to reprimand their child after he hits someone stump me. They must be advocates of a newfangled parenting principle. It says, “Fuss over the child’s good deed but ignore his bad behavior.” 

brat2I suspect a psychologist with an unhappy childhood invented this child-rearing principle. It’s so alien it makes me feel like wanting to dance the fandango each time I hear parents bandy it about.

My basic child-rearing knowledge foretells their future. Children who grow in no-discipline homes will one day form a party list. They will field their own candidates. When they win a seat in Congress, they will file a bill outlawing parental reprimand. Once the bill takes effect, Mommies caught telling Junior, “Don’t talk while your mouth is full!” will be hauled off to jail.

Not a pretty sight but delightful to psychologists with oven-fresh child-rearing theories.

Stay magical.