Now, don’t get all excited. No one is calling you a bad parent. You probably think you do a fine job. That is unless you let your darling sissy pants throw a fit every time they don’t like the way the cornbread crumbles. If you allow little stinky to become unhinged and sling a monkey wrench into the works every time they get aggravated, then yes, you too are a bad parent. It doesn’t exactly make you special. Bad parents are all over the place. They don’t really know it because their misbehaving children are just one part of an upside down world. There are other ways to tell if you are losing the battle. Does your child speak to you as an equal? Does your child question every request or order? Does your child argue with you about anything or make a mean face and speak to you in a disrespectful tone? Then you know what we’re talking about? The good news is, you can retrain that snotty little computer and this doesn’t have to last forever.
The problem is that you have social anxiety, organization problems, unresolved guilt and blame issues and a cavalcade of other unnecessary gibberish that you haul around. You are the people that lay on the horn at stoplights and drive slowly in the left lane. You yell at your mother and harshly bite the bag boy for putting the eggs on bottom. How can you be expected to raise a balanced child while you are over stimulated by pills, church, television, and that deadbeat husband? He probably used to make the first husband look good…but not anymore. At least he’s better than a deadbeat boyfriend. Maybe.
The good news is…your kids will likely turn out fine regardless of your tepid attempts at child rearing. The bad news is, it will, sadly, just be a rough road for the two of you and your kids will still have to learn the same rules about polite society as everyone else. You can teach them or you can let society do it. While other folks are enjoying hanging out with their children, for you it will be a chore and a constant struggle. Look forward to a test of wills that lasts forever. They will likely be in college by the time they learn the ropes. About the same moment they learn to love Bob Marley. It’s not if, it’s when. Whether you beat them like red-headed step children or let them walk all over the “fear” of disappointment, they will ultimately, have to figure it all out by themselves. Prisons are filled with both kinds of kids.
The Twelve Reasons You Are A Bad Parent
- You Are Weak: Good parenting takes the kind of time and repetition you likely can’t muster. Do you know how silly it sounds to say “please” to your children every time they order food? I very much doubt that you do. You are a bad parent. My parents said it to me every single time I ordered food for over ten years. That went along with a “thank you” each time the food was placed in front of me. Being polite is hard work. Every single time they break a rule and are mean, rude, or disrespectful, it’s time to go back to work. Call them out on it. Rude parents make rude kids and rude kids become rude parents. It’s a terrible cycle. Good parenting is not for sissies.
- You Try To Be Their Friend: Throughout their life they will always have plenty of friends. Maybe. Even dead beats have friends. They don’t need you to be one. A friend agrees with you and lets you do whatever you want. That’s nothing close to a parent. A parent needs to be a safe place where rules are enforced. You’ll still do all the fun things friends do, just with a parent-child understanding of the relationship. Parents make you pick up your trash. Parents make you take back the candy you stole from the store. Parents can be a real drag, unless you play by the rules. Then, with their boats and pools, RVs and time shares, they can be the coolest people on Earth.
- You Are Lazy: Your child is screaming at you in the store. People are annoyed. This kid is really being loud and inappropriate. What do you do? Wrong answer. You are a bad parent. You don’t get to answer. You are standing there with sweat running down your sad, frustrated face and the child knows it. The first solution is always what we call an “attention getter”. This is a solid pop on the head, arm, or leg. It’s not really meant to cause as much pain as just to stop the behavior and refocus. This can be a warning and a preview of a visit outside with harsher consequences. If your child isn’t scared of you physically (so sad) because you are a sissy or you beat them too much, simply remove them from the store and wait for the tantrum to pass. Make them sit outside in the sun or walk around the parking lot inhaling carbon monoxide. Remember to be patient and calm. Since they’ve lost their audience they should have no further reason to scream. Wait them out. You are a patient and wise teacher and they will understand the lesson. If they really won’t stop, accidentally bang their head up against the wall. That should take a little pep out of their step.
- You Are Inconsistent: It’s not your child’s fault that they don’t know when to behave and when to disregard the rules. Most of the time, you sit there playing with your phone, while they squawk and scream and beat on their younger sibling. Only once in a while, when you’re tired or in a bad mood, the serious parent emerges from the cocoon like a thirteen-year cicada and no one has a clue why. Today you shouted at the child for opening the bedroom door without knocking, but it’s been happening for a week. Why should the child know better? You are a lousy teacher.
- You Are Not Smart: It has become increasingly apparent that you are not as smart as a six year old. That’s a serious problem and it’s not going to get better with the coming years. Every time you fail to discipline, they are teaching you the rules of the road. For some reason, you believe your child is the only one who’s not completely full of shinola. Rather than accept the given truth that all children are sociopathic lairs and thieves, you would believe their word, rather than the word of teachers, ex spouses, or other adults. You have been manipulated by a child. Congratulations. Outwitted by a person with no experience or logic. That has to sting.
- You Are Not Fun: You play on your phone while the kids are on the playground. You ask them not to splash your chair at the pool. You create little rewards for good behavior but these are islands of fun in a sea of diarrhea. Your children get way too caught up in the hard parts of your life. You are supposed to be the buffer between the crap of real life and the joy of being a kid. They might of well have been born in Somalia. Their life with you is supposed to be a constant reward. If it comes down to it, always remind the child of the three big rewards that they get every single day; Roof, food, love and life. Everything they need to get along. Every meal should be a feast and every bedtime story should be a celebration. You can really have a blast with your kids if you would just lighten up, Francis.
- You Are Scared: It’s really scary being a parent. You have to have the guts to let them stay up late when camping, without truly knowing it’s not going to affect their sleep patterns for the rest of their life. You have to know that you can’t really break them. They are going to make it and you are going to have a happy life together. Just relax and let it happen. And don’t be scared of upsetting them. Kids are emotional bombs and get upset all the time. Who cares? It’s much worse when an adult gets upset. They can say you are heavy and mean but not that you don’t care.
- You Are Mean: You just yell and scream all the time and no one even knows what the problem is. You are always barking at someone, telling them not to touch or look at anything. It’s always something like, “Let’s go already. We’re ten minutes late”, or “Keep up. You can have something when we get home”. Please don’t forget the word “please”. Also, kids are going to act like kids. Don’t expect them to sit still in the dentist office, you ogre. Be nice to them. They are kids and they are going to mess up all the time. Be nice as you remind them of the rules. Be nice as you explain to them that if they mess up again, you’re going to kill them. When they behave well, compliment their effort and thank them for not being obnoxious. Well-behaved children get to go to plenty of places rotten children do not.
- You Just Don’t Know: Children act differently according to the adult that’s nearby. They may act up around you but they are angels when they’re at Grandmas. That’s really not a fair comparison because everyone loves their Grandma and she doesn’t see them as much. Think of the teacher that has no problems with a student but comes to learn that they are hellions at home. The child sees the teacher as much, if not more, than they see the parent, and yet, at school they behave. Only to go straight home and try to throw their sister off the roof with an umbrella for a parachute. They don’t scream back at their teacher because they respect them or are afraid of them. Who cares why?
- You Are Tired: It’s not easy raising a couple of tots these days. Your Grandmother kept up with three kids, while helping your Grandfather lay the foundation for the house they were building in the corn field. Her grandmother would drop the baby off at the end of the row of cotton and put feathers and honey on it’s fingers to keep it entertained, but that’s backing up a little too far. Your children are surrounded by mechanical toys and devices and thirty-seven Disney channels devoted to their specific age. You live in the coziest country at the most comfortable moment in time, ever. We balance increasingly awesome technology with a still-present sense of nature and life. I’m sorry you don’t have a nanny, you silly weakling. Keep making babies and maybe in ten years, you’ll be able to let your robot take care of them.
- You Are Rude: Your child listens to the way you speak to people all the time and that is how they learn to talk. Here is a list of words your child will never know because they have never heard them come out of your mouth. Please, Thank You, I’m Sorry, Yes Ma’am, Yes Sir.
- You Overthink Things: Children don’t need to explore every emotion and potential choice. That’s what adults do and it keeps a brain really busy. Don’t feel you have to let them know why they are doing things. It’s like the military. Sometimes “Because I said so” is a perfect answer. Children will also use conversation about motives and reasons to slow down the process. No way Jose. When I say move, move now. We can discuss it later if we need to, but probably not. Kids forget things real fast. Just like dogs.
Don’t worry about it. Even if being a good parent is so much work that you’ll absolutely fall apart, it won’t really last that long. Those kids are going to be gone before the biscuits are done and you’ll have the rest of your life to enjoy some well-deserved peace and quiet. You can catch up on those series that you’ve neglected and maybe go for a walk around the neighborhood. Slowly and alone.
All of this works because your child doesn’t want to be in charge. Your child doesn’t even want to argue with you or throw tantrums. That stuff is hard work and no fun at all. Your kid wants you to be in charge so they can be a kid for a little while. They don’t want the choice whether to be well-behaved or not. Adults are the ones who deal with insurance and all the other kinds of silly grown-up drama. In a few years, children will get their chance to be adults and it will last the rest of their lives. Don’t rush it by letting them act like pissy, shrunken old people.
Stop doubting that voice in your head. It’s already been written in stardust and people have been doing this since the first fire. You are a great parent. The sweet thing about making the right decision is that you don’t have to think about it much. If you get confused, ask an old person what you should do. They will think back on the greatest years of their lives and say, “Just love that baby.”