This dad on how it’s time to tell his little threenager, “Sorry, son, it’s not me, it’s you.”
Everybody has that one friend for whom they’re constantly making excuses.
“He’s not normally like this,” or “I swear he’s cool once you get to know him,” or “He’s just got a weird sense of humor.”
After a while, though, it starts to become apparent that despite your friendship, that’s an awful lot of caveats. Maybe it’s time for the guy to start taking some of the blame for his own behavior?
Lately, that’s how I feel about my son.
My son is 3-and-a-half, and I’m not going to lie: he can be pretty miserable to be around sometimes. It definitely comes and goes; he’s often his usual, happy-go-lucky self. But the past few months have been tougher than usual. He used to be a hit at parties, but lately we’ve been having to make excuses for him. I should say, we had been making excuses for him.
When the bad behaviour started — and contrary to conventional wisdom, my son’s terrible twos didn’t start until a year later — say we went out to see some friends and my kid started acting like a monster, I’d get embarrassed and quickly qualify his behaviour:
“He didn’t get his nap today.”
“He’s just hungry.”
“He doesn’t like the bright lights.”
“Sorry, we fed him after midnight. Big mistake.”
But nowadays, as he acts up more and more, I find myself just outright blaming him.
Obviously, you can’t really blame a 3-year-old for being a 3-year-old. But you can stop making excuses for him. And several months into the carnival of horrors that is my son’s threenage wasteland, I’m done taking the blame for his crappy behaviour.
I'm done protecting him from himself. Now that he's almost 4, it's time for him to start taking some responsibility for his behaviour. Not everything he does is a result of something his mommy or his daddy has done. He's an individual, he makes his own choices.