Ever notice that everything an adult asks of a child, the kid does the opposite? I have realized it’s impossible to reason with youngsters. I don’t have my own children to compare this to, however I have spent a lot of time working with kids. I helped raise a few in my family, babysat in my younger years and have worked part-time as a nanny. Most of my observations come from everyday life. It’s fascinating to observe kids doing the exact opposite of what adults request of them. When you tell them to do something or stop doing something, be prepared for the question “WHY?” to follow. Every answer you give them will not be good enough and will be followed up with “WHY?” Before you know it your head will be spinning.
Here are some of my examples. I’m sure many of you parents will relate. Is there a logical explanation for this behavior? My conclusion is that kids are here to test your patience in every way possible regardless of how good you are to them.
Bedtime: You ask a child to go to bed and they say, “No, I want to stay up for 10 more minutes.” That 10 minutes turns into 20, which turns into 30, which is really just a way for them to get your attention every 10 minutes for the last hour of bedtime. When you tell them for the last time to go to get their butt in bed they ask “WHY?”
Washing hands: You tell a child to wash up and they may run a finger or two from one hand under the water. They show up at the table with that finger or two still wet and swear that they washed their hands even though they are still filthy. When you ask them to wash them again they ask “WHY?”
Taking a shower: You expect your little one to shower and get cleaned up, they turn on the shower, stand under the water for 10 minutes, never touch the soap or shampoo but assure you they are perfectly clean. When you ask them to soap up and get clean they ask “WHY?”
Doing homework: You have them sit down after school to do homework and what should take an hour, they somehow finish in 10 minutes. Kids often fill in the answers with a bunch of numbers and words that have no relevance to the assignment but it looks done and that’s all they care about. They assure you the teacher won’t mind but the mess they created is all because they refuse to read directions because all they can think about is playing. When you tell them to re-do it they ask “WHY?”
Putting clothes in the hamper: I don’t care how many times you ask a kid to use the hamper you will always walk in their room to find the clothes on the floor. When you tell them to put the clothes in the hamper for a third time they ask “WHY?” and claim they will do it later.
Throwing out trash: Wrappers, papers, bottles and any other thing that is trash will end up in places you don’t want it. A child would rather leave their trash in your car or purse then take it with them to throw out. You tell them to pick up their stuff and throw out their own trash and they ask “WHY?”
Watching television: It is impossible to get a child away from the TV. When they are glued to a program you could say the house is on fire or a superhero is at the front door and they would not budge nor look away from the TV. If you tell them, “It’s an emergency!” they will ask “WHY?”
Noise level: A child has no sense of quiet or how to remain quiet for the sake of others. Their volume is always at the level of screaming and yet they expect you to listen to them when they never listen to you. You request that they be quiet so their little sibling can fall asleep and instead of respecting that request they ask “WHY?” and go right back to screaming.
Telling the truth: Truth is not an option. It is the job of the adult on duty to play investigator. All kids lie about everything – Where they were, what they were doing, who they were with and so on. Researching and interrogating is the only way to ever know anything. When you express to them that their story doesn’t make sense and you don’t believe they are telling you the truth they say, “WHY?”
Meals: All kids are picky about food. They want only what they like and half the time you make what they want and that isn’t good enough. At dinner all they can talk about is dessert. A kid will never be hungry enough for dinner but is always starving and screaming for dessert. Watch out if you have a dog because it’s likely the dog is getting more nutrients from the meal than your child. If you tell them to finish their dinner or they get no dessert expect them to ask “WHY?”
Shopping: If you need to shop for adult stuff, you must bargain with your child to get them to go. Then you are challenged with getting them to behave well and stay calm during the time you need to run your errands. However if it’s shopping for them, (Toys R Us for example), what’s in that for you? Absolutely nothing but an empty wallet and a child who can’t make up their mind because there are too many toys to choose from. You tell your child to pick one toy and they say, “WHY? I want all three.”
Toys: It is impossible for a child to appreciate a toy for longer than a week. You buy these plastic pieces of junk against your will and after the thrill is over you have more trash in your house. You tell your kids to respect their toys and they break them or sometimes lose them on purpose so they can get new ones. If you tell them they will not get a replacement toy you will get a big fat “WHY?” in return.
Brushing teeth: This is much like washing hands. I think the toothbrush is what really gets clean. It gets toothpaste, gets dipped in water, then has smeared toothpaste on it, then gets rinsed. I think kids believe that since they put the toothbrush in their mouth and tasted toothpaste for a second then the job is done. I’m shocked kids even have teeth since they put so little effort into brushing. If you tell them to brush harder and better they say, “WHY?”
Personal details: You tell your children some family matters are private and should remain in your own home. Out of the blue your in-laws call you wondering why you and your husband are fighting so much in front of the kids. Way to go kids! Sharing fight details with grandma because Dad came home late totally wasted which worried me is none of their business. When you tell your kid they did something wrong and should not share that personal information with family ever again they ask “WHY?”
These are a few things that kids and parents/adults can’t agree on. Did I miss anything? Don’t get me wrong, kids are great and there are plenty of things they do that is precious and wonderful. I really adore children and am always inspired by them because they see things in such a dreamy way. I simply find it interesting that no matter what the situation, kids will test your patience and push your buttons in ways you never thought possible. Take a deep breath and remember, it’s “time outs” now, no yelling or spanking allowed. It will be interesting to see how the new generation of children grow up. They are in control, not the parents. One spanking and they are turning you into Child Protective Services. When I was growing up I had to do everything my parents told me 24/7 and if I didn’t I got spanked, got my favorite things taken away, or was grounded. I wasn’t rewarded for being good, I was expected to be good. Now kids run the show and parents bribe them with candy, toys, play-dates and money to get them to do things. Times have definitely changed. It’s a new way of thinking. Only time will tell if its better or worse.
To all Moms and Dads, I admire your work and your willingness to face the challenge of parenthood. It’s truly the hardest job in the world. May your minimum 18 years of raising your kid/kids be amazing and memorable and may you not lose it when your children ask you, “WHY?”