You’ve Got Someone to Blame

The questions have been frequent and earnest this week.  A seven-year-old boy who is becoming acutely aware of the fact that from house-to-house, family-to-family, things look different:

“My friend (fill-in-the-blank) can watch (fill-in-the blank).  Why can’t I?”

“My classmate can stay up until (fill-in-the-time).  Why do I have to go to bed so early?”

“Why can’t I have (fill-in-the-blank) toy?  (Fill-in-the-blank) does.”

“Guess what? (Fill-in-the-blank) can eat/drink (fill-in-the-blank).  Can I?”

But tonight the conversation moved from the customary if not occasionally frenzied comparison/contrast to how these differences make Oscar feel.  Embarrassed is what he said.  Like a kid.

I wanted to shout from the rooftops:  “You are a kid!  You’re growing too fast as it is!”

But I didn’t.  This wasn’t about me.  It was most assuredly about him.

So, I gave him an out.  I told him that if ever he felt embarrassed or like a kid because one of his friends gets to do/see/eat something he can’t, he can blame us, his parents.  I gave him the verbiage he needs to deflect and to be able continue to socialize, to play without being embarrassed.

However, instead of audibly exhaling at having a place to put the proverbial blame, Oscar looked at me and said, “I thought you said that we weren’t supposed to blame other people for our problems.”

I explained this wasn’t his problem but rather his parents’ philosophy of child-rearing–something over which he has little to no control.

He seemed to understand.  And as I wrapped my head around the fact that more and more I find myself wondering who is raising whom, I tried to exhale and hoped I did the right thing.


7 thoughts on “You’ve Got Someone to Blame

  1. The “blame” game is something that my parents used to give us an out as well. I used it when Andy was Oscar’s age – and I still find that he utilizes that little helper every now and then , even at the ripe old age of almost 15. He will call me and ask “so-and-so wants me to come over (or go somewhere), can I?” I will tell him, “No” and if he just says “OK”, I know he really didn’t want to go, but didn’t want to hurt his friend’s feelings by telling him that outright.

    Good response, Samantha. I have often used the age old answer, “Because, you aren’t (fill in the blank), you are Andy and I have to make the right decisions for you.” as well.

  2. Often role reversal is an inevitability of life. Being aware of feelings is tantamount to making the inevitable as fair as the example–whether it happens that way or not, how one parents is certainly to be imitated and worth the “possibility” of reaping the seeds we sow.

  3. I always had an earlier curfew than all of my friends, but an abundance of snack food that I could eat whenever I was hungry. Some parental rules seem like a pain, and the freedoms feel great. But as long as Oscar understands that everyones’ family is different and that his own family is trying to do the best things for him, I think he’ll be okay. 🙂

    • One of the hardest things to do as a parent is lesarning when to say no and when to give in and say yes.

  4. “Because I told you so” is the short-hand version of the parental response in these instances, when you don’t have time to reason with a 7 year old (or when you don’t
    have a pre-teenager who will listen to reason…) Oscar is remarkable, in that he will listen and absorb the reason behind your argument, and hopefully use your ‘out’ when confronted by peer pressure.

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