My kids are wonderful. I love them with everything I have. They are not assholes.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the asshole word is going to be thrown around in this article. This is not a literary device, it is important for the survival of humanity, our species (Sapiens) and maybe for our planet.
We all need to be challenged not to be an asshole.
I am not judging you. I am not judging your kids. I am not judging my own kids. This is not about judging people as assholes.
As a parent of three awesome people, one adult, one teen and one child, and as a person that was formerly a child and a teen as well, I have experienced and witnessed that the young we raise need some guidance as they learn to be awesome people.
Being an awesome person comes easier and more naturally to some budding people than it does to others.
As an adult, I have witnessed that at times almost everyone either chooses to be an asshole, changes into an asshole, dabbles in the dark arts of assholism, goes through an asshole phase or temporarily flips out, losing their shit and morphs in and out of assholism.
It can and usually does happen to all of us at some point in our life.
No one is immune from being an asshole.
Raising anti-asshole awareness
Whether it is your spouse, your parents, your best friend, or even your own flesh and blood kids, we all have the power to raise awareness about how not to be an asshole and how to recognize the symptoms of assholism.
Today, I will not focus on all that other asshole shit.
I simply want to focus on asshole kids.
Warning Great Kids about being assholes
I believe that everyone has the potential to be great, no matter how terrible they were yesterday or even today. In the next moment, they have the potential to be great.
Sometimes, people get all caught up in themselves and don’t even realize that they have flipped to the dark side and started acting like an asshole.
As parents, we can make the mistake of always treating our kids like little children and avoiding the obvious talk that we might have with other people. We sometimes shy away from the blunt delivery, “Hey you are being an asshole. How about not doing that?”
Despite the negative connotations of using slang/slurs/curse words like asshole, kids really pay attention when you occasionally, maybe once or twice in their life, catch them being an asshole, point it out, and guide them to stopping it.
Don’t over use the asshole word with your kids
Now, if you are the kind of asshole that calls your kids assholes every five minutes all day, every day, then none of this is going to help. In fact, as I write this, I’m not even talking to you!
I’m talking to everyone else that suddenly had a vision of you in their head, wondering ‘hey what about that asshole down the street that calls his kids assholes all the time?’
The answer is, “Let it go, that parent is an asshole.”
Focus on you.
Do you remember the asshole talk(s)?
I do. I remember each time I have had the asshole talk with my progeny. There was a small sense of shock. Then there was a flooding of new respect from each child.
“OMFG!!! – Dad’s a people!”
That was the light and alarm bell that went off in their minds and I could see it in their eye. I was being real with them. They sat up and paid attention.
I was not harsh. I did not yell. I simply called them on it in the moment when they were living it.
I knew what it was like. I had been in their shoes because more than once or twice as a kid and a teen I was an asshole. My Dad had the asshole talk with me. My grandfather’s both had the talk with me as well. There were three different women friends in my life that each had the talk with me too!
I’m not claiming that I was a fast learner.
But I remembered each and everyone of those talks and those people and I am a better person for each one of them.
There are many many twists to an asshole. It’s not just one thing.
There are many ways that people can be assholes.
So with kids, we have to help tune them into the complexity an help them learn some self awareness to many of the different shades of assholes.
You will never be the sole asshole avoidance coach for your kids.
As people, we all have to learn to learn from many people. No parent can teach their kid everything.
I want you to be very strategic in choosing your asshole talk scenario. The downside about this talk is that, you are only going to get one shot at the asshole.
After that, its up to all the rest of us.
Other family, other friends, other siblings, other teachers and coaches and leaders and bosses and lots of others will get their single shot too.
But we only get one.
After that the effectiveness of the “Hey don’t be an asshole talk” wears off and has no effect.
But my religious rules or dogma or upbringing says don’t talk about assholes…
I know, some of us will be uncomfortable using the word asshole with our kids. It’s ok. You are a nice person. You are a good parent. You might be too nice.
If you are not careful, you will be ‘too good’ and raise an asshole!
Don’t don’t do that. 🙂
Be patient, look for your opportunity, and have the talk. Let em know that you are a real person and capable of spotting their BS.
You know you have the power. You do it everytime you drive a car and get cut off. You spot the asshole and yell out loud or in your mind.
You can do it on the road or in the store or at work.
Use that asshole radar to spot it in your kids.
Do the world a favor and stop the assholism from spreading.
Be prepared to let go as they Adult Up and away!
There’s a conundrum to this asshole prevention work.
When you call your kid out for being an asshole and talk with them about their choices to be or not to be an asshole, something is going to change in your kid.
They are going to grow up a BIG bit.
When you invite your child not to be an asshole, you are acknowledging that they have the power to be their own person. You are recognizing in them the adult that will be.
They will seize that self control and self determination, and be less of an asshole and they will be more of an adult. They will be more human.
As a parent that has swaddled and cuddled and wiped them clean and hugged them when the night boomed or the shadows spooked them or cooled them when they were fevered and so much more, we want to protect our babies. We want to keep them close and protect them from others, the world, everything, even themselves.
They are people though and we need to empower them to take care of themselves and to learn to protect themselves from their inner asshole potential.
Show them their inner asshole and set them free.
Then step the fuck back and let them grow up.
You had your one shot, you aimed and fired and took your shot.
That’s it. You are done.
They will correct their course. It might be a big correction or it might be a little correction.
They will probably need more course corrections but that’s not on you! Not now.
That is for someone else because we only get that one shot. After that our cannon fire turns into a mini marshmallow gun and it has no effect on them.
We still have other influences on them in many important ways, but after you fire that shot, you are launching the sail boat and it is off racing to the sunset.
Time for you to focus on the next kid or more importantly focus on yourself, because after all that parenting, odds are good you have been turning into a bit more of an asshole!
Time to get your inner ducks in a row too!