Thursday, October 1, 2009


It's one thing when your kid tells you he hates you, but it's entirely different when you catch him telling another kid he hates him.

As a parent, you expect your kid will hate you, it just goes with the territory. I was a kid once myself and I remember telling my parents I hated them, so why should it be any different with my kid?

This morning, when I dropped Nate off at 'school', I was hanging around and chatting with the teachers when I caught him telling another kid 'I hate you.' He wasn't just saying it, you could see venom in his eyes. He'd been playing with some Lego bricks, and another boy walked up to him to show him a toy, and he just turned and looked him in the eye and told him.

I called him over and we had a talk and he apologized, but I'm still in shock. I know these things are going to happen, but it just brought up all these doubts in my mind on the walk home. Doubts I used to have before I became a parent. Doubts about being a good parent, raising a kid to know right from wrong, doubts about passing on my prejudices and faults. Am I raising him right? Most of those doubts have faded since Nate was born. I don't think I've had much time to worry about them, too busy 'parenting'. This morning's incident makes me question how I've been parenting, too often I think I just want to get things done and don't put much thought into the process. It strikes me that this sort of parenting is exactly what I used to have doubts about, and that this might ultimately be a self-fulfilling-prophecy of sorts. Perhaps I am over- reacting (I'm not even sure if any of what I've just written makes sense), or perhaps this is a bit of a wake-up call for me.

I'm not looking to win any father-of-the-year awards, but I think I may have to work a little harder at this if I want Nate to be that good man when he grows up.


kaos said...

hmmm, lots of hard questions for a childless girl like me, but honestly i think you are raising that good person and that those fears are (from what I gather) ever-present for a lot of parents (sorry) as in maybe they never go away but thats alright? its a process and you have an idea of what you would like to model and guide him towards which is super! youre a rad dad my friend

lori Joy Smith said...

this post just breaks my heart. you are doing a great job with him.

i read this book lately and it really helped me get some insight into my parenting... the library probably has it:

i have never been open to parenting books before, reading about parenting is not exactly what i wanted to do in my down time. but it really helped me and made my time parenting so much easier.

Justin said...

Thanks Lori, the book sounds amazing and I will track it down.

Anonymous said...

You did just what you should. Try to remain calm and explain to them why the behavior is unacceptable. And make them apologize, even if they can't be completely sincere. Three-year olds like to experiment with blowing your mind and other peoples' with what they say. They are experimenting with the words and the impact. I'm no pro, but I have a 6-year-old boy and now I'm seeing these sorts of things with my 3-year-old girl, and I'm able to put it in perspective.

Just keep doing the best you can!