For some parents, the idea that their children are anything less than perfect is one so foreign that it cannot even be entertained. These parents will make any number of excuses for their kids’ misbehavior, both as justification and out of fear that bad behavior is a reflection of their parenting skills. Though the specifics may differ from time to time, these are ten of the most basic excuses parents make when their children behave badly.
- “He’s Gifted” – Attributing bad behavior to an enhanced intellectual capacity is a common excuse for some parents, ostensibly because it’s easier to believe that a gifted child is acting out as a result of his intelligence rather than a lack of discipline.
- “She’s Just Bored” – Blaming a lack of stimulation for kids’ misbehavior is a go-to excuse for some parents, especially when children are in the company of adults and stripped of their favorite diversions. Shifting the blame away from a badly-behaved child and placing it on adults that have somehow failed to provide sufficient entertainment is often seen as an acceptable reaction, because it implies that the child’s behavior is not the fault of a parent or the child herself.
- “He’s Not Feeling Well” – Attributing a temper tantrum or severe acting out to an illness or general malaise can seem like an iron-clad excuse. After all, who isn’t cranky when they’re feeling under the weather?
- “It’s Not Her Fault” – Some parents will grasp at any available straw in order to place the blame for bad behavior at the feet of another. Desperate parents will ascribe responsibility to anyone other than the child or their parenting tactics, preferring instead to paint another as the culprit.
- “He Has ADD” – Attention Deficit Disorder is a very real affliction, and it can make behaving difficult for children that suffer from it. Still, it’s also a very convenient scapegoat when kids are particularly difficult, and one that an embarrassed parent might prefer to blame.
- “She’s Just a Kid” – More permissive parenting styles allow kids to behave in any manner they see fit, asserting that their little one is “just a child” who shouldn’t be held responsible for a refusal to follow the rules.
- “I Don’t Want to Be the Bad Guy” – Particularly prevalent among divorced parents hoping to curry favor with their children, an aversion to being the strong disciplinarian is far from uncommon. In some cases, these parents will readily admit to their reluctance to set and enforce clear boundaries.
- “I Want Her Childhood to be Better Than Mine” – When an adult who was raised in a particularly strict, overly-authoritarian household starts a family, a determination to avoid those restrictive rules and oppressive environments they encountered can move them in a completely different direction.
- “He’s a Picky Eater” – Kids aren’t always known for their adventurous palates, but there are those that will throw terrible tantrums if they’re presented with food that’s unfamiliar to them. Falling back on the justification that their child is simply “picky” can feel like a reasonable excuse, though the tantrum itself tends to be an indicator of an overall lack of discipline.
- “Boys Will Be Boys” – The rambunctious antics of young boys are often unfairly dismissed with a comment about boys being boys, as it’s socially accepted in some circles for boys to misbehave on principal in ways that little girls should not.
It’s important for parents to understand the vast difference between sticking up for a child that’s been wrongly accused of something and making excuses in an attempt to justify misbehavior. Making those excuses only passes along the message to kids that it’s okay to make bad choices, as long as they have an excuse for that behavior and can explain it away. Though it’s far more difficult to acknowledge bad behavior for what it is and insist that a child accept responsibility for his actions, it will pay off in the long run.
This article was used with permission by parttimenanny.org