We’ve all judged that parent with the badly behaving kid. 

You know the one. With the kid that whinges, whines, hits, hurts, back talks or bites. We look at the kid and see their behaviour as a reflection on their parent. As if somehow their kid would be better behaved if they were a better parent.

But I’ve been that parent. And I’m here to tell you that I’m not responsible for my kid’s bad behaviour.

What? I hear you splutter. If not me, then who? you ask.

Just hold your judgmental, blame and shame horses. Let me be very clear. I am not responsible for my kid’s bad behaviour. They are. My kids.

My kids are responsible for their behaviour. Not me. And because they are little humans still learning, they learn by pushing the boundaries, by testing the limits of their world. And this means sometimes their behaviour is not perfect. They are normal kids being normal kids, because after all that’s their job, it’s who they are: kids.

What I am responsible for is how I respond. Because while it’s their job to be kids, it’s my job as their parent to do just that: parent. To teach, to help them learn, to show them how to behave. To catch them doing things rights and teach them where the boundaries are when they get things wrong.

But for all that parenting, and trust me it’s constant, sometimes my kids behave badly. Because they’re tired. Or sick. Or scared. Or angry or frustrated or hungry. Or maybe, just maybe because they’re human. And none of us behave perfectly all the time, even we adults who have had a lot more practice.

My kids are not robots. I have no remote to control how they behave. And though sometimes I might wish I did (volume control anyone? sleep button?) what makes my kids who they are is that they are themselves. In all their gorgeous, kind, caring, honest, helpful moments, and in their messy, maddening, badly behaved ones. And I wouldn’t have them any other way.

So next time you see a kid having a bad moment, see it as just that. Hold the parenting judgement, because let’s face it, if perfect parenting is judged on perfectly behaved children, we would all fail. Bad behavior reflects only an imperfect little person still learning how to be human.

Author

I love my three country kids - and all things writing! Like most mums, I wear lots of hats - writer, children's author, organisational psychologist and the pairer of the odd socks!

1 Comment

  1. Andrew Gill Reply

    I came to this article spluttering, I’ll admit it, but when I read it I had no choice but to totally agree. I think we all need to hear this sometimes. When someone sees our kids at their worst and jumps to the idea that this is their normal, we can all feel judged, but you are spot on. I don’t want my kids to be mindless automatons, I want them to be thinking humans, and part of that is understanding that these behaviors will have consequences. How else are they supposed to learn about life unless they make choices about their behavior, even poor choices, and then learn from them.

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