It is evident from the very beginning of the narrative that the mother's little darling is not the "sweet-voiced, nursery-school tot" that she imagines. Instead, like the imaginary Charles, Laurie is rude, impudent, and disrespectful.
Laurie's mother narrates that he "forgot to stop at the corner and wave goodbye" to her on his first day of school. When he returns home after his first day, he slams the door. At the same time, he throws his cap on the floor and shouts, "Isn't anybody here?" Laurie demonstrates that it is his own habit to be loud and rude. Indeed, it would be rare for a child to learn this behavior in just one day and then carry it out in such a bold and confident way—unless his parents usually allow such behavior at home.
"At lunch, he spoke insolently to his father and spilled his baby sister's milk," but he is not scolded. Laurie contends that his teacher has said his parents "were not to take the name of the Lord in vain." This phrase of Laurie's indicates that it is he who has used the Lord's name at school; he then excused himself by telling his teacher that his parents say the same thing. Again, there is no discussion with their child about his behavior on the part of the parents. The only correction that Laurie's mother makes to her son is grammatical. He says, "I didn't learn nothing," and his mother tells him he should have used "anything" rather than "nothing." However, she fails to question him about why he has not learned anything and what he has been doing instead of learning. As another example of the mother's obtuseness, she asks her son a question about the "awfully fresh" boy named Charles, but Laurie ignores her and leaves the room without any reprimand from his mother. In the meantime, "His father was still saying, 'See here, young man.'" For some reason, his parents do not reprimand Laurie for his disrespect and rudeness in rising and going from them into another room.
Laurie may behave as he does for attention. Sometimes, children unknowingly want to be disciplined because they are aware that their acts of misbehavior are inappropriate and normally unacceptable. They understand that a parent who cares about them would desire that they behave properly.