But my kids can be assholes. I’m sure you’ve thought this, too. About your kids, not mine. Well, maybe about mine.
Like when I wake up to the two boys screaming and whaling on each other at 6:45am. Every day. They’re being little assholes.
Or I ask them if they’ve brushed their teeth and they adamantly respond, ‘yes’, though the inch of tooth-fuzz betrays them. Because clearly I don’t have eyes.
Like when I ask the eldest girl every day of the long weekend if she has homework and she says, ‘no’. Yet at 9pm on Monday night I find her sitting at the computer because, “I forgot I had to finish this thing.” Mama’s about to pop a gasket.
Or when the youngest daughter, through the sweetest smile (did she just bat her eyelashes?) absolutely refuses to listen (in anyone one of a dozen scenarios) and I want want to rip my hair out (except that it’s already falling out from the stress, so why bother?) She’s lucky she’s cute.
Or the little guy tries to karate kick his sister’s head at the bus stop because she looked at him. Because she looked at him.
Or when I ask one of them to clean up a mess and the response is I-didn’t-take-that-out-so-why-do-I-have-to-put-it-away? Never gets old.
Kids are amazing. They push you to the brink of exhaustion, frustration and borderline insanity only to reel you back in with their sweetness and love. They are an oasis of hugs and kisses and cuddles and I-love-yous.
Ah, the power of forgiveness. Next to unconditional love, it is one of the cornerstones of the parent-child relationship. It’s nature’s way of ensuring we don’t eat our young.
Not that it comes easily, though.
The power struggle.
The battle of the wills.
The attitude one-up-manship.
Umm, say what, now?
I refuse — refuse — to raise a bunch of egotistical, entitled children that have no regard for honesty, integrity, responsibility or respect. So, of course, these snippets of behaviour make me question the job I’m doing as a parent when I’m trying so hard to make all the right moves.
No one can test the limits of a parent’s patience or has the ability to drive a person to drink like an ill-behaved child. The thing is, I know that my kids are capable of (and are recognized for) being helpful, polite and hardworking. They are funny, loving and affectionate. So then why do they behave like assholes?
Well, because they’re kids and kids are ruled by filterless emotion. They don’t think, they act and they react. There’s no consideration for the consequences of their actions. As much as we want to sit and communicate with our spawns of Satan, to talk it out, to discuss the situation calmly and rationally, they will stare blankly over your head, at the wall behind you, at the fly on the window and then insist they heard everything you said.
What’s actually going on in their mind? If I sit quietly and nod a little here and there and then say ‘I’m sorry’ I can have my Goldfish crackers.
Listen, I love my children to the depths of the Earth and I celebrate their wonder and their achievements but I hate that they behave like little assholes sometimes. Especially in public. I take some solace in knowing that I’m not alone and that they are acting like this in spite of our best parenting efforts. Eye-opening moment: this is a great reminder for me — for us — not to judge other kids or their parents, just as we hope not to be judged when our kids misbehave or when we lose our shit as a result.
I just have to trust that at the end of the day all the love, support and Goldfish crackers we give them will ensure we raise kind, aware and respectful individuals.