Being a brat has nothing to do with your age

I had some interesting feedback today from a woman who said she didn’t associate the idea of being a brat with older women. She wondered if that was a cultural thing and I think she’s right.

I have bratty friends and I have been called a brat but it has nothing to do with where we stand on any age continuum; we are all different ages. It is because of our mindset.

We have an attitude, a bratty spirit that pushes against anything false, that stirs things up to make them better and that looks with skepticism on the idea that we should accept the status quo just because it’s the status quo.

Not associating being a brat with being an older woman harkens back to the idea that being a brat is something only kids do and that it’s a bad thing because it’s about “misbehaving”.

Grama K with bow on her head

Sure kids misbehave but remember how adept they also are at recognizing dishonesty in adults? They have a built-in bullshit detector and it can get them into trouble when they “misbehave” and call out grown-ups who are trying to get away with something.

That’s the kind of brattiness I’m talking about and it’s ageless.

It has to do with being true to yourself, to what is right, even when it’s not popular. It has to do with breaking the rules, when your heart or your common sense know they need to be broken.

My well-brought up grandmother flirted outrageously with her much younger male doctor when she was in a retirement home. There was no one else around; her 80 and 90-something boyfriends always seemed to die as soon as she got their framed photos on the dresser.

My status quo mom was aghast! She thought this behaviour was “inappropriate” and that my grandmother should know better.  I of course, was cheering her on.

Nothing was going to happen; my grandmother was too sharp not to know that. She was bending the rules—and being a brat—to feel alive.

c 2013 Kathy Barthel