3 Hypocritical Things Adults Say to Kids


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Written by Amy Dingmann of The Hmmm…schooling Mom.

As a parent, there is a good chance you have either said these things, heard them, or had them said to your kids. Here are three hypocritical things adults say to kids – and what often makes them completely hypocritical.

“If you don’t get up early every morning now, you’ll never be able to get up for work as an adult.”

As a homeschooling family, we have the freedom to morph our day around letting our teen sons’ bodies be on the schedule they need.

But I’ve heard it said, more times than I care to count, if kids don’t learn to get up early in the morning when they are younger (read: in school), they will never be able to wake up early for their future jobs. I’ve heard this from homeschooling parents, non-homeschooling parents, and the exceptionally all-knowing non-parents.

And I get it. I totally understand that if your kid has never had to get out of bed at a particular time and suddenly has to be out the door one morning at 7 am, it might be a struggle.

But here’s the thing.

1. My husband works in law enforcement, and there is no other way to describe his work schedule than messed up. Sometimes he’s heading to work at 8 pm. Other times it’s noon. Sometimes he’s getting called in at 3 am.

I tend to think his ability and willingness to wake up when needed has less to do with having practiced getting up for school at a certain time as a youngster, and more to do with what I like to call being responsible.

Does my husband sleep in when he can? Yes. Does he get up when he has to? Also, yes. The two are actually able to be done by the same person at different times.

Take notes, haters. It’s called adulting.

2. I don’t remember anyone telling me that I wouldn’t be able to handle waking up for midnight feedings with brand new babies without practicing with an alarm clock.

I am a hardcore morning person. But somehow—like 99.9% of all mamas—I managed to wake up for all those late-night feedings, still get up in the morning and—here’s the kicker—get through the day.

Crazy how that works, right?

And let’s be honest—if waking up early with an alarm clock as a kid guarantees future adults who arrive cheerfully at work on time, I think there were a lot of people who missed that lesson.

“Are you going to stick with THIS interest? Because I am NOT paying for another thing, you’re just going to abandon in six months…”

Maybe it’s the violin. Or soccer. Or oil painting. It’s that thing your child wants to try next, and it’s going to take money and time to explore it.

As parents, we’re apprehensive about putting money and time into our kids’ new interests because we’re tired of them changing their minds. We don’t want to waste our time and money. Maybe a year ago your kid was obsessed with ballet, and six months later it was the flute. Two weeks ago it was the electric guitar. Am I right?

Again, I get it. I understand that hobbies can get expensive. I also understand that some kids really do have commitment issues and fail to see that their constant mind changing is causing you to fling stacks of cash to the wind.

But. Adults. Change. Their. Minds. Too.

Maybe it’s beadwork. Or quilting. Or a certain diet. It’s that thing you want to try next, and it’s going to take money and time to explore it.

Can I tell you how much money and time women put into scrapbooking, rubber stamping, or essential oils only to abandon them for fiber arts, adult coloring books, or blogging?

Obsessions of mine in the last ten years have ranged from jewelry making to crocheting to photography to sewing to archery with lots of little rabbit trails along the way. All of them took time and money.

And—spoiler alert—half of the hobbies on that list aren’t even a part of my life anymore.

Why are we so concerned about our kids exploring an interest that may or may not turn into something bigger when as adults we are doing the same exact thing?

“Come on, can’t you just be nice?”

Maybe your child is squabbling with a sibling. Maybe they’ve given attitude about something you’re asking them to participate in. Perhaps they were short with another adult who tried to converse with them.

Kids and teens sometimes wear their emotions on their sleeve. Either they haven’t learned to use their “be pleasant, we’re in public” filter, or they simply don’t care to use it. As adults attached to them, we can feel embarrassed or even angered by their responses to certain situations and wonder why they can’t “just be nice.”

But, here’s the weird thing.

It doesn’t take more than a few minutes on social media to realize that not all adults are nice. Not all adults are respectful or know when to use a filter. Not all adults can carry on a conversation without resorting to name-calling and insults.

The memes we pass around Facebook speak volumes. How can we chastise our kids for not being chatty and polite with another adult when we just shared an I’m staying in, it’s too peopley out there meme on Facebook?

Or that thing where you come home from a family get together and spend 45 minutes complaining to your spouse about all the people who were there and the ridiculous things they did—how are you convincing your kids that they should just be nice?

The awesome—and sometimes very convicting thing—is that kids are always watching us. What is it that they are learning from the things we do?

Sometimes as adults we expect things of our kids that we can’t even do ourselves. Is it wishful thinking? Is it misplaced intentions? Whether kids or adults, we’re all just people, and we’re all trying to figure out the world and how it works. Let’s help each other walk along the path instead of driving a hypocritical wedge in between us.

What hypocritical things have your or other adults said to your kids?

This post is linked to the Hip Homeschool Hop.

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5 Comments

  1. Wow, these are all excellent points! I especially like the one about kids trying out new things. I’m not sure how they’re supposed to find out what they’re interested in if we don’t let them try new stuff. And how are they supposed to know whether they enjoy it or are good at it if we don’t allow them to give it a try? Thanks so much for these important reminders.

  2. “You need to obey.” Then adults flaunt authority by speeding, ignoring directions at events, justifying why it’s okay to do something when no one is around, and complaining about all kinds of authority in their lives. I actually do think it’s important to obey, but I also think obedience is more nuanced than we make out. We have to be careful that we aren’t demonstrating negative disobedience to our kids and at the same time recognize that obedience is not absolute sometimes. Even the disciples told their authorities they had to obey God rather than men.

  3. This is so true! Unfortunately, I’ve found myself guilty of a few of these. I tell my daughter to “let’s go, use your time wisely, we have to get out the door.” too often. Sometimes she does drag, but many times I’m running behind. I’m feeling rushed and late, and I then rush her because I didn’t allow more time.

  4. That last one… yeah, I’ve been convicted, and pronounced guilty, and now have something to work on.

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