Things We Expect Kids To Do That We Can’t

One of the things that amazes me about parenthood is that we often expect more of our kids than we ourselves are capable of giving. Here’s a few examples I’ve noticed. Do you have anything to add?

1. Be cheerful all the time. Typically if Nick gets stroppy or moody, he gets told off. Yet who tells us off when we get the same? No one. No one is game enough to! Why do we expect kids to be polite and cheerful all the time when I can count on one hand the number of times I’m polite and cheerful in a whole week!

2. Put their clothes away/in the laundry. I have a habit of walking into Nick’s room and barking orders about clothes not being left on the floor, shoes not being put away, but if you walk into my room, what will you find on the floor? Mine and The Mechanic’s clothes, plus shoes randomly scattered through the house.

3. Not make a mess while eating/drinking. I almost lost my mind the other night when Mr 5 spilled dinner all over the floor. OK, so by “all over the floor” I mean he dropped a few pieces of dinner. Today while baking I spilled brown sugar and icing sugar all over the counter and the floor. It doesn’t take but 10 seconds to clean it up, it’s easy enough to do, so why get so uptight about it?

4. Make their beds every day. In my defense, I *do* make our bed every day. Hubby on the other hand….I’m not saying he never makes it, but let’s just say there have been times he’s telling Nick to make HIS bed and I peek in our room to see an unmade bed, because he was the last one out of it! Don’t tell him to do something you practically never do!

5. Not get an attitude. About ANYTHING. This is really related to #1. But it’s like we expect them to want to go grocery shopping, or to want to go to bed, or to want to go to school, and damnit, they will be HAPPY about it! Nick REALLY hates all of the above, and is starting to fight all of them on a bit more regular basis. I can’t blame him, I have a pretty poor attitude towards grocery shopping, going to work, and doing uni stuff. Why do I think a 5 year old should be able to just suck it up when this 35 year old can’t?

6. Do their homework, happily! It’s a bit tiring, every afternoon, answering “But WHYYYYY” when I say it’s time for homework. It’s like pulling teeth! And I get it, because I’d rather be on FB, playing Candy Crush, or blogging than do my school assignments and study as well.

7. Not want to play on the phone/computer/iPad. Nick wakes up and the first thing he does is go to the computer. Before breakfast he is asking if he can play Wii. In front of the TV he is also playing on the iPad/iPhone. We tell him not to, but how can we be so hypocritical? The first and last thing I do almost every day is check my phone. While The Mechanic is eating breakfast he is reading the news on the computer. Every 10 minutes I check my phone! And I wonder why he’s addicted?

8. Make friends and play nicely with everyone. Let’s face it, adults aren’t that great at making new friends. We’re often judgmental, cynical, we talk behind people’s backs (don’t lie – I’ve never met an adult who DOESN’T do this!). But we tell our kids to be nice to everyone, include everyone, be friendly with everyone. Ironically, kids are pretty good at playing with whoever is around, they don’t really care about anything else, t hey’re just stoked to have someone to play with. As an only child, this is something Nick has perfected.

9. Go straight to sleep when they go to bed. More often than not I can actually manage this. I am usually asleep seconds after my head hits the pillow. But there are nights I toss, turn, want to get back up and watch TV or go on the computer or play games on my phone, until I am tired. Why wouldn’t the same also be true for a 5 year old?

I don’t want to be a dictator to my child. I know parents need to be the authority and they need to make the rules and set the boundaries. It’s just that, since having kids, I’ve come to realise that they are people, too. They’re not just a little person you get to boss around and demand things of. The best way to lead is by example. Be firm but kind, just like Mary Freaking Poppins. And if you find yourself about to blow a gasket, take a deep breath, count to 10, and ask where they could POSSIBLY have gotten this behaviour from. I know in our house, it’s usually from me!

What do you expect of your kids that you don’t do yourself?

Linking up with Jess for IBOT! Because it’s awesome.

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40 thoughts on “Things We Expect Kids To Do That We Can’t

  1. Oh yes…I know this well! My daughter is exactly like me in mood and excitability. We try and get her to manage her emotions, but I know I get away with worse. But am trying to manage it for her sake. X

    • That is the biggest culprit here, too. Some mornings I say “Right, no phones or computers or TV for either of us!” and I put the radio on. Then get a text message. OMG the urge to check it RIGHT AWAY can be suffocating!! x

    • I think all parents hope for that don’t they? But it’s not until we become parents that we realise how right our parents were! Ahhhh, 20-20, Murphy’s law and all that jazz ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I always think ‘if I am telling my child to do this, am I doing it myself?’ And if I’m not then I either stop telling them, or start doing it. Sometimes I say ‘let’s both get good at this hey?’ There’s nothing wrong with empathising over the frustration of having to do homework, but then the tricky thing is modelling a good attitude about doing it. I swear that being a great parent means you need to be a better person, because you suddenly see all your own flaws in another person.

    • I think our generation are recognising that, where as when we were kids, it was very much “do as I say, not as I do” mentality – in our house anyway. I certainly don’t want to be that kind of example to my son.

  3. I like to listen to myself when I talk to my children. Am I speaking the way I expect them to, am I asking them to do something that I do myself? You make good points here. The other thing I do, is explicitly tell my children that this is the first time I’ve been a mum. I am learning. I don’t know everything. I tell my first that he is my first, that I am practicing on him and that I may change the rules for his younger siblings as I learn. I think the best point you make is that children are people. Not just children.

    • I know I way under-estimated kids before I became a mum! Who knew they were so smart?! And I think that’s a great thing to tell your kids and so true – this job doesn’t come with a manual after all!

  4. You’re right and it’s important that as parents we walk our talk and set a good example but we don’t do this very well all the time. I also think we forget that they are their own little person while we try to bring them up right. A good post and I’m going to monitor my parenting this week because of what you’ve brought up. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Let me know how you go Bec! I am going to try and do the same. I won’t lie, it’s usually when my husband is asking unfair things of Nick that my back gets up, not when I am doing it ๐Ÿ˜‰ haha

  5. I think it’s important to set boundaries but like you say, we have to realise that they are people too. I think for me I get Mr 4 to do things (like try new foods) because I want him to have a more fruitful life than I did growing up. Sleep is a massive issue in our house, and I have let go a lot of the drama I had with it. There are still nights where I lose my cool and yell, but they are getting fewer. He doesn’t want to sleep? That’s fine, he has books etc in his room that he can read until he falls asleep.

    • It becomes a game of “pick your battles” too, doesn’t it? I wish I had made Nick eat more variety when he was younger. He’s quite a picky eater, but then so are we, so again, how can I blame him??

  6. Ha! So, so true, Aroha! You know, my boy catches me out every time whenever I’m being a dictator mama or just being plain impatient.
    Half of it is “attitude” but a lot of it is him being completely truthful with me.

    • Sometimes we need to be told though, because we can never see it ourselves. But how heart breaking is it when we realise we are doing it? Best thing about kids is that they are quick to forgive and forget!

  7. Yes, yes, yes. Very well said. I’ve been thinking this lately, when I get annoyed at my daughter for changing her mind about what she wants to do that day. I change my mind all the time! COME ON, EMILY! x

    • Aww, the best thing about kids is that they are quick to forgive and forget, and they don’t hold grudges either! For me I just need to be a bit more mindful of it all I think. Easy to get caught up in other problems and then it feeds into bossing Nick around!

  8. Just tonight I served up some dried out spag bol and they did not want to eat it. C’mon it’s delicious I encouraged them. They wouldn’t have a bar of it. I got a bit stroppy, but then thought I wouldn’t want to eat it either. Bless their patience with their hopeless chef of a mother!

    • Ha! We went to dinner at my sister’s ages ago now, and she’d made roast lamb for everyone. I said N wouldn’t eat that so she had some spag bol she’d frozen and zapped it for him. Ew, I wouldn’t have eaten it, poor kid, I didn’t even make him! Hope you found them something else to eat ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. You bet your bottom dollar Punky gets 99% of her bad behaviours from me! It’s so true this though, and it’s why I try not to get too frustrated with Punky when all she wants to do is play her iPad (she sees Dave and I on our phones/iPads all the time) or when she is still awake at 9:30 at night… I am a night owl of the highest order and would be awake till very late from a young age. Once I thought about it and realised that she is just like me, and as you say a little person in her own right, not just someone I own and can boss around all the time, it made bedtime a little easier (although still frustrating some nights, especially in these first few weeks of having the side off the cot!).

    • wow awake at 9:30?! I used to be a night owl, now here it is, 9 pm and I need toothpicks for my eyes to get all my commenting done so tomorrow can be a study day! But yes, I hear you, he seems to have got a lot of things from me, not all so good!

  10. ohhhh made me feel bad ๐Ÿ˜ฆ i totally lose my shizz if there are clothes and shoes laying around …. mine are all out in the bedroom and i’m pretty sure my pjs are not under my pillow as i demand of the kids… oh ok i’ll let them have their birthdays back this year (that were cancelled on the weekend due to ridiculous amounts of toys and stuff everywhere)

  11. I love this Aroha. It is so true. I guess we have to find a balance. My bedroom is a huge mess ! I am pretty chilled about mess from the boys but their dad is not. I am of the attitude what is the worst that could happen.

  12. It’s interesting, reading that list I know when I was married and my kids were younger I could relate to a lot of that list. After divorce and deciding that my kids (now 5 and 6) are little humans, not forcing all sorts of unreasonable expectations on them and treating them in a way I would like to be treated, having the same expectations as I have for myself (e.g. we have bad days, I use my phone a fair bit) life has been simpler. I do make my bed every day, my room is spotless, we limit TV/iPad time so it isn’t actually asked for every day anymore.

    Certainly food for thought though.

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