Don’t Be Afraid to Call Your Kids on Their Crap

Don't be afraid to confront your kids when they've made a mistake

Don’t be Afraid to Call your Kid on their Crap

Want to go for the parenting win? Tell your kid when they’ve screwed up.

In this age of helicopter parenting and over-praising, it’s tempting to just let our kids get away with minor infractions like temper tantrums or general asshattedness. But, temptation be damned, sometimes they need to be called on their crap.

The Scenario:

I find out that my son, who is gifted, and extremely bright, has been lording his brains over the other kids at school. This, type of behaviour I will absolutely not stand for. Being smart is a responsibility, not a license to be a rude bugger.

I call him into the kitchen.

‘Hey kid, I heard that you were acting like a pompous jerk at school, and that you made Johnny feel really bad about himself. That’s not really acceptable. And probably why you sit home by yourself every weekend.’ (Harsh, yes, but Mama speaks the truth.)

He looks down, abashed, which is how I know he did it. When he thinks he’s being falsely accused, he gets indignant.

‘You’ll need to apologize, k?’

‘OK’, he says, and walks off.

C’est tout. No lecture. He knows what I’m talking about, and what the score is in our house. Own up to your mistakes, be better next time.

Later, I go up to his room.

‘So, did you text him?’

‘Yah, he accepted my apology.’

‘That’s good. I’m glad.’

‘You know what, Mom? I think I’ve been acting like a bit of an asshole lately.’

And…Mom’s work is SO done for the day. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.


What kinds of things do you let ride and which get a call-out?





  1. THIS I love. Amen and a hundred dittos. You have this nailed.
    If ever there was a parenting moment that was the definition of perfect – THIS is it.

    I think I might have fallen in love with you.

    Consider yourself followed and shared so much, it should make you feel smutty ;p

  2. There are certain things I refrain from being too honest about – how the kid looks, for instance. But their crap, well, when it stinks, it’s up to us to say so!

  3. Yes, yes! It is our obligation to do these things! My husband and I have spoke of this very thing … so many parents just don’t tell their kids the real truth. (i.e. when you do this, it results in this. this is how the world works.) I admire your frankness. And I’m sure your kids appreciate it too.

    • All I want to do, Julie, is teach my kids to be introspective, see where they are going wrong (and right), and then fix it.

  4. That’s what I call a win – for you both! If you don’t tell it like it is, the world certainly will,and probably not in a positive way!

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