Dad is a Big, Fat Hypocrite

January 4, 2012 at 4:27 pm 3 comments

One of my chief roles as Dad is making and enforcing rules. Yet I will break those rules with impunity because I am a big, fat hypocrite. I have no idea how to resolve this within myself.

Do As I Say…

One simple rule we try to teach our kids is not to grab things from other people. It happens all the time when young kids get together and play with toys. Inevitably one child will take something right out of another child’s hands. We as dutiful parents then try to police the situation and tell the kid that grabbing things from others is rude.

Yet, when my daughter snatches a steak knife from the table my first inclination is not to tell her how sad that makes me feel and ask for it back. I yank that thing out of her two-year-old hand like a two-year-old. Same goes for breakables, spillables, and other pointy things.

This has been going on for the entirety of her little life, too. She has been grabbing pens, food, furry tails, my glasses; the list is nearly endless. My response has been to simply remove items from her grasp without much thought. Though sometimes I have prefaced my actions with an explanation of why she doesn’t get to possess and wield it. “No, no, the drill is just for Daddy and it’s not for making holes in the cat.”

Dad > Kid

The steak knife example seems obvious, though. Of course you want to remove dangerous items from your child’s possession as soon as you can. In other situations I quickly remove items from her grasp because I simply don’t want to wait for her to understand that crayons aren’t for writing on the TV and ChapStick isn’t food. If she decides to yank a cookie out of my hand, though, I am quick with the reprimand.

As I am simultaneously enforcing and breaking my own rules my rational mind is sighing in embarrassment. I would never put up with being treated like that as an adult. But this isn’t something I need to overthink. I have since learned that I just have to live with breaking my own rules time and time again. That’s my prerogative because I am The Dad and Ultimate Authority. Rawr! The key is being consistent with how I apply my rules for her.

Try as I might to maintain consistency, though, some of my own behavior has come back to bite me.

TV Drama

Occasionally Big Sister is camped on the couch watching her favorite show when I need her to do something. Yet during these times she will become so engrossed in the show that she neglects to listen properly. Gentle reminders that she has to eat her lunch, or go take a bath, or get jammies on go unnoticed. More forceful calls get ignored. Direct commands spoken from five feet away cause whimpers of annoyance. Finally, the one thing I can do to get her attention is to turn off the TV and stand there with my “Big Dad Is Serious” face. It certainly does get her attention and that TV stays off until the lunch is eaten, the bath is taken, or jammies are on.

So, what happens during those Sunday afternoons when Dad is firmly ensconced on the couch watching football and my daughter wants me to help put a puzzle together on the floor? She asks me to play with her, I give her a couple of half-hearted “just a minutes”, and then suddenly…

Click. Off goes the TV and there’s my daughter staring at me with her “Big Sister Is Serious” face.

“Honey, can you please turn the TV back on? Daddy’s watching football,” I say with strained niceness.

“No.”

“Please turn the TV back on. It makes me sad when you turn the TV off while I’m watching football.” I say with my serious face.

Long story short, the TV comes back on because Daddy wants to watch his game. Now I feel like an absolute fool because she wants my attention, has done exactly what it took to get it, but the results for her are different. She won’t get me to do what she wants. She’s disappointed because Dad’s not doing the puzzle and she’s sad because her actions have brought anger. Dad’s disappointed with himself because he’s being inconsistent and sad because he missed that last touchdown.

The Impending Interrogations

I hope my child will eventually understand what I’m trying to accomplish even though I fog things up with my hypocrisy. It will only get worse later on. My daughter hasn’t quite reached the age where she is questioning everything, pummeling me with “why why why”. Though I think I will be ready for that stage because I will break out the ultimate weapon, the same weapon my own parents used on me. It’s that impenetrable wall of illogic known as “Because I Said So“.

That one’s really going to make her mad…

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Entry filed under: Being Dad. Tags: , , , , , .

Hop Mom IPA No No, Dada – This Way

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. gbwordboy  |  January 4, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Seems like the little, tiny complexities of one situation or another just can’t be explained. That DOES feel wrong to subject kids to that complexity and have to bull through it to one degree or another – but sometimes that snap decision is necessary.

    Good post Hop Dad! Made me think about my own daughter and the knuckle-head things I did that sometimes worked, sometimes didn’t. It’s the forgiveness from our kids that can be so very humbling.

    Reply
  • 2. anonymous  |  January 6, 2012 at 8:23 am

    You should actually teach her to take things. Because, as adults, the sad truth is that we do indeed take things from each other…..just look to our leaders for that example.

    Our politicians are big, fat hypocrites.

    Reply
  • 3. Boundary Busting « Hop Dad  |  August 17, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    […] away from her to stop bad behavior. Honest explanations must be made, and clear examples shown. Consistency is key. It’s a lot more work than I need right now, honestly. It should be blatantly obvious that […]

    Reply

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