I Don’t Want My Kid To Be An Asshole
By: Lex Jacobson
I love kids. So much. Hence the fact that I’ve wanted my own since I was a kid myself. (I’m glad I didn’t want them *that* much when I was in high school, because my life would have worked out much differently… back when I had free access to sperm.)
I’m so excited to hold my own baby come January and watch it grow through all of the stages of childhood. I’ve been hanging around a lot of kids lately – whether they’re related or not – which has scared me a little. Because I’m realizing something.
Kids are assholes. Not always, but man, they can be assholes. Demanding disrespectful dickheads. I love my nieces and nephews, and all of my friends’ kids, but I don’t know what I’m going to do when my kid throws a tantrum in the middle of a dinner party or hits another kid while we’re playing at the beach or tells me they hate me in front of everyone. Because I know all three of these things will undoubtedly happen. And Devon and I are going to be as ashamed of ourselves as mothers as our friends are when their children do shit like this.
Though Devon and I were raised in extremely different environments (she in a single-mom-best-friend type relationship and I in a militant-tough-love environment), we do agree that the one most important thing for us is to have respectful children. Both of us were very respectful children (though my “respect” was more out of complete terror of my mother, not true respect) and we would like the same for our children (without the terror part).
But as we’re realizing with hanging out with numerous kids these days, we can only shape our own so much, and even though he or she may be an angel at home, undoubtedly at some really embarrassing point in the future – at a most inconvenient time – my child will be an asshole and I will feel like a horrible mother. And it will probably happen around my own mother, just to rub it in even deeper.
I can only hope that my kid’s core ethics are strong and clear and that the asshole moments are really just moments (perhaps most of his or her second year?) and that I will give myself credit for raising a generally decent child. Hell, I know lots of adults who are decent people who have asshole moments, so maybe I’m putting way too much pressure on my unborn child, and myself.
I think really we’re just a bit scared. It’s easy to hand over my asshole nephew to his mother and let her do the parenting, but knowing that’s up to us shortly is a little terrifying. All of this is a bit terrifying.