A Dirty Little Parenting Secret

Category: Weekly Columns

Image courtesy of toonpool.com 

Let’s call it “Dramatic license,” as I totally adore my family and wouldn’t trade them or my life with anyone else, but at this moment, time, and place, I don’t like them very much.Just as movies often put up a title card that says, “Based On a True Story,” and we know the filmmakers may be playing loose with the facts, so it is with this column.  Sibling rivalry is prevalent but, it’s my “dirty little parenting secret” that not only do siblings fight but parents occasionally just don’t like one kid or another, every now and then.

Photo courtesy of carolecgood.com

For that matter, every marriage has its times when one partner just doesn’t like the other partner.  How we deal with those moments define us, ultimately, and I’m just using my writing platform to vent a little, so forgive me, please?

Let’s start with some random complaints that I’m hearing lately:

Son #1 – “It’s not fair.”

Son #2 – “It’s my brother’s fault!”

Wife – “My feelings are hurt.”

Son #1 – “Why do I have to do that?”           

Son #2 – “I forgot.”

Wife – “Why did you leave that dish in the sink?”

Son #1 – “Get it yourself!”           

Son #2 – “I don’t care what you think.”

Wife – “You love your computer more than you love me.”

Get the picture?  I have one response to them:  AAARRRGGGHHH!!

Let’s face it, all spouses and parents go through periods where they just want to be left alone, not be badgered, do their own thing, and pretend for at least one night that the whole world isn’t ragging on them.

That is what this dad/husband wants RIGHT NOW!

I am sure I am not alone. I was a single dad for many years and for single parents, there is often not much relief.  I had no family to pass the kids to, as my parents were deteriorating when my boys’ mother left.  Friends pretty much vanished during those darks divorce days, and my only regular comfort came from my dogs.

Hmmm, my dogs.  Now, there I get love, support, and unconditional and regular affection.  Ahhhh.  I don’t get the “Ugh” when I want to give my younger son a hug.  I don’t get “You’re gross” or anything resembling that comment.  I may get licked, but I don’t get lip.

Image courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

So, the dirty little parenting secret is simply there are times when we just don’t like our kids very much.  It starts somewhere around age 13 and may last a decade or so. I hope not but that is what my mom suffered with me! I suppose, as I’ve said and written before, I’m just getting double payback.

As for my wife, she’s had to deal with a load of changes that she never anticipated.  The men she dated before she met me were largely my age but with grown children.  She did not expect to be the step-mom to two boys living at home 24/7.  But, she had the unfortunate misfortune to fall in love with me!  Little did she know what she’d get!  Granted, I take the primary parenting role, day-to-day, but she does more than her share.

My wife is wonderful and if she could just stop with the “My feeling are hurt,” whenever I do something that I have no idea I’ve done, she’d be truly a “10!” 

Actually, she’s a “10” cook, a “10” beauty, a “10” decorator/household manager, and many more “10’s.”  She’s just a bit lower on the scale with the hurt feelings mantra.

Is it a woman thing?  I suppose so.  Don’t scream at me.  Women have hurt feelings more often than men.  Men just want to fix it and be done with it.  And, that is where my brain goes with any and every problem or conflict in my home.

But, right now, I’m tired and I can’t fix anything.  I might be able to change a light bulb and I do control what I eat for breakfast but I don’t seem to have any impact on my complaining family.

Wouldn’t this be a better set of comments/words/questions from my family?

Son #1 – “Hey Dad, wanna come with me to see a movie?”

Son #2 – “Dad, let’s go out to lunch together and just talk!”

Wife – “Honey, your current “A Dad’s Point-of-View” column is so good!”

Son #1 – “Dad, would you scratch my back, please?”

Son #2 – “I really love that new comic on your web-site…it’s really funny.”

Wife – “What would you like for dessert, Dear?”

Son #1 – “Do you need help with anything?”

Son #2 – “I just commented on your blog, Dad, ‘cause it was so cool.”

Wife – “I really think you’re a terrific writer and that’s a very nice haircut, Honey.”

I can dream, can’t I?

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Get Bruce’s new book and Limited Edition (of 500) Poster, A Dad’s Point-of-View: We ARE Half the Equation at Amazon, iTunes, BN.com, or The Store.

  • http://www.liferealistic.com david pavkovich

    I deal with those things EVERYDAY. andIt isnt a secret to those who have more than one child. I absolutely love this post. Like most other crap we have to sift through, this is very much real and any parent who says it isnt is lying!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      “I absolutely love this post” ~ David P and “I deal with those things EVERYDAY” – Yup, but it’s not often discussed, is it?

  • http://twitter.com/lryanis Lori Druskin Ryan

    Fun read.   Same conversations in our house all the time.  I have two boys who are 16 months apart and nothing is ever fair and the other one always started it.  As for the relationship with the DH, I catch myself saying, “This is what I was hoping to hear.” I guess it’s just part of living together, sharing and compromising.  But it makes me feel better to see how similar the issues are in other house
    holds. 

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      “Nothing is ever fair and the other one always started it” – you been hiding in my house @twitter-222625853:disqus ? Thx so much for the comment!

  • Wayne Levine

    Bruce, you absolutely have the power to impact your “complaining” family. I’ll tell you how—again!—tomorrow on your radio show. Hey men, listen in. You need to learn how to silence the little boy in you. When you do, amazing things happen.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Wayne, what would I do without you?

  • Randi Carlson

    Love this column! From the p.o.v. of the daughter/sibling, I feel like I need to apologize for putting my parents through this…

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      “I feel like I need to apologize for putting my parents through this…” ~ Randi

  • Kenneallyd

    Very funny!!  And here’s a tip on the spouse part:  Women don’t want a “fix,” we just want to be heard. ♥

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I know Dori! “Women don’t want a “fix,” we just want to be heard ♥”

  • Mary Klaebel

    I actually liked my kids better after age 11 or so. Less whining, more conversation. But, then again, I enjoyed having teenagers. O_O

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Lucky you to have liked them all along, Mary!

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