I’m not one to mince words or make excuses. I never have been, and that didn’t change when I became a parent.
This is why I often find it irritating to hear all the ways other parents try to avoid blaming their kids for bad behavior. This is aside from the fact that most other parents, and other parents’ children, are irritating to begin with! (No offense. I barely like myself as a parent. Parenting’s not really a good look on anyone.)
Just go ahead and admit your kid sucks sometimes.
But that doesn’t mean they get a pass. That doesn’t mean that every time they misbehave it needs to be rationalized. When my 6-year-old acts out, I’m perfectly content with calling him on it. Kids are brats sometimes! It’s a fact of life, and one that parents used to recognize. Not anymore!
How often do you hear some mom refer to her kid as “strong-willed” or “defiant” or “spirited”? Those are all code words for “my kid is an asshole” and “I am at a loss here.” Why not just say it? It’s a lot more cathartic when you let it out. (Trust me.)
I’m not blaming anyone’s parenting; I have no idea why your kid is running around like the Tasmanian Devil, refusing to heed your call, repeatedly yanking toys out of other kids’ hands, and screaming for no reason. I don’t live in your house. Maybe he watches too much Looney Tunes. Maybe you don’t give him enough structure and/or affection. Maybe he’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline. Maybe it’s too much Yellow 5 dye. Who the hell knows?
Don’t say those things to his face, of course, but don’t worry about saying them to me. In fact, I want you to say them to me because I’m sure as shit going to say something similar to you and it’s more fun when you join in instead of staring at me all appalled.
Who would you rather hang out with? A parent whose children can do no wrong, who finds an excuse for every misstep their miscreant makes, who never admits they’re at their wit’s end? Or a parent who occasionally swears under their breath at their little punk, who concedes that they sometimes can’t stand the kid, who apologizes for his behavior with a defeated shrug and admits, “He’s an asshole, sometimes.”
The sooner you admit your kid sucks sometimes, the sooner you realize kids are just as flawed as every other member of the human race, the better off you’ll be. And the sooner you flip your kids off behind their back while calling them soul-crushing life-destroyers underneath your breath, the sooner we’ll be friends, sitting at a pub together, clinking glasses and laughing about the latest obnoxious thing our obnoxious kids have obnoxiously done.
Come join me on Realism Island, where we acknowledge that our kids can be pains in the ass and we stop pretending their bad behavior is a delightful personality quirk!
The bar’s open.
This post originally ran on Scary Mommy.