No, My Kid Is Not Tired

POSTED ON 28/01/2016

No, My Kid Is Not Tired

I’d like to play along and say that yes, you’re right, he is. But he went to bed at the usual time last night. He’s just being an asshole.

No, he hasn’t just run off from my side because his feelings were hurt somehow. No, his feelings aren’t especially sensitive, that isn’t why he’s biting my back. It’s because I told him that it isn’t a video game day today. He’s just being an asshole.

No, your kids didn’t act like this at his age.I know that, I know them. They are girls that like to swing and read. Long story short: they are not assholes.

My six year old is adorable. He is bright and funny. He can dance up a storm. His singing voice is like an angel’s when he’s in the shower. He’s interested in science. He loves all animals and they love him back. He’s the best cuddler I know. The feel of his hand in mine is like a drug. And still he is a bonafide asshole.

He will throw a tantrum when I tell him it’s time for soccer. He’ll throw a tantrum when he doesn’t feel like doing his homework. He’ll get mad when his socks don’t fit right. He’ll blame me. He’ll blame his siblings. And this is the way it’s pretty much been since birth. As I’ve always said, with his laser focus and high temper, the kid is going to be a Wall Street tycoon or go to jail. Or perhaps both.

For years I tried to figure out a way to work out this rough edge to his personality. We would hug it out. We’d cry it out. We’d tough love it out. I spanked him once and that left both of us feeling like crap, and me joining the asshole club. We talked about seeing therapists, anxiety disorders, all the things that good modern parents do. But in my heart of hearts I know it isn’t any of those things. Sometimes he just feels like being an asshole.

Recently my little guy threw a fit at a trampoline place with a friend’s family. My 11 year old heard the mom, my good friend, telling other moms in attendance what an asshole my kid can be. My 11 year old was outraged and spent a week goading me to call her on it, to defend his brother, to be as outraged as he was.

But I didn’t do it. Because she didn’t do anything wrong. She was speaking the truth, he was being an asshole and he often can be that way. But it doesn’t mean she doesn’t like him and I don’t love him. She ignored him and let him rage, and honestly if you have a little asshole like me that is the best thing you can do. Stand back, let them drain the poison, be there for the recovery afterwards.

Your kid may have been born a bit of an asshole, and that’s not your fault. Stop blaming yourself. Stop trying to help. If you actually step back and don’t worry so much about what others think, you can help him work it out on his own. Don’t say he’s tired. Don’t pretend he’s just too sensitive. Just embrace what he is, and let him figure it out.

I will say that my little asshole tends to say he’s sorry, put on his soccer cleats and even hug me after an episode. He even does his homework eventually. It’s not perfect, it comes in cycles, but it’s getting better slowly.

So don’t feel weak or bad if your kid can be an asshole. Stand proud and stand by. Just like I thought my oldest would never stop pooping his pants at family occasions, it did finally end. Just don’t ask me when.