Can we please stop referring to children as “assholes” (and other derogatory terms)?

Joanna's family (33)

Am I over-reacting, or has the Internet recently been filled with articles describing children as being, and I quote, “assholes”? I wanted to find out, so I did a search for “children (and its synonyms) are assholes” on one single website targeted to moms. It’s widely read, with over 1,000,000 followers on Facebook, and a devoted readership. The common theme throughout most of the articles? Motherhood sucks because kids are little assholes who suck the joy out of life.

So, back to my search. Several articles were displayed. I opened a few, and here are actual quotes from them:

“There are people who don’t like me because I think that sometimes kids are assholes (by “sometimes” I mean “almost always”).”

“So, all you little mommies reading this right now, I get that your kids are assholes. I really do.”

“I know it isn’t NICE to make fun of kids, but if you want nice you probably shouldn’t be reading one of my articles because I’m a Bitchy McBitchface. Plus, I enjoy making fun of stupid kids.”

“Mom Provides Proof That Four Year Olds Are Assholes”

Turns out, I’m not crazy. While I did not run a peer-reviewed published study of the incidence of asshole calling in children under the age of 18, I’m pretty sure the data is pretty strong here.

I get it. Raising children is hard. You spend every evening on your knees cleaning the floor under the high chair. Your toddler thinks that throwing a truck at your face is just as fun as throwing a ball. Your preschooler bottled up frustration all day at school and is ready to unleash it on you as soon as he’s home. You had an hour to chill during the baby’s nap, but you spent it racing against the clock cooking dinner, and shoveling 2 eggs in your mouth and called it lunch.

Raising kids is hard. But here’s how to make it harder: wake up every morning, think of how thankless your job is going to be, how you work your ass off 24/7 for no pay, you look like shit, and you haven’t slept through the night in 5 years.

I guarantee you, every day is going to suck more than the previous one, and there won’t be an end to this torture in sight.

Or, you can realize that you deserve better. Your children, too, deserve better. You can see motherhood for what it really is: boot camp where you’ll be getting therapy for everything that happened to you when you were growing up. You’ll heal wounds you never knew you had, and you’ll end up more enlightened in 10 years than a monk does in 30.

Except your therapist looks a little like you, and a little like all of your favorite people in the world, and he loves you unconditionally and forever. He thinks that listening to your heartbeat while you rock him is the best thing in the world, and he would gladly give up on a full night of sleep just so he can see you one more time.

Children are not assholes. If saying they are made parenting easier, I’d understand. But it doesn’t. Let me say that again: saying that kids are assholes doesn’t make raising them any easier. It makes you feel like a victim, and you end up constantly in fight or flight mode.

So please, let’s stop calling kids names. There are so many ways to make motherhood more pleasant. Let’s stop guilt tripping moms when they want to go to the spa. Let’s stop reinforcing the idea that men should rest when they come home from work, when it really marks the moment where parenting duties are shared. Let’s promote the idea of community, let’s organize more play dates, and let’s declare war on loneliness and isolation. Let’s help moms, instead blaming kids.

Our children are not the enemy. They are small, fragile, ready to be formed, eager to learn, and full of forgiveness and love. Raising them is hard, because it raises us. It pushes our buttons, it breaks open our soul, it exposes our flaws, and makes us grow faster and more efficiently than anything we’ve ever experienced. Children are tiny spiritual teachers who have no idea what they’re doing to us.

All they want is to be loved, and for us to love ourselves. Hardening our hearts to them is not an option.

About joanna

About Joanna Steven is an Amazon best-selling author, an attachment parenting mom to 2 boys, and a lover of food. Her mission is to inspire mothers and make their life easier so they feel nurtured, nourished, and better able to raise children in a peaceful way. She regularly updates her blog with delicious, wholesome recipes, and lifestyle tips for moms seeking to live motherhood to the fullest.

6 comments on “Can we please stop referring to children as “assholes” (and other derogatory terms)?

  1. All people, even parents need to let off steam. Cursing is great for that(clearly tho’ not at the kids). They even say that you feel less pain when you curse. So it makes sense. And, it’s done in with humor. Laughing also helps lessen pain. No?

    • The point of my article is that these article are NOT funny. I am a huge fan of Louis CK, and Honest Toddler makes me laugh out loud (remember “toddlers are assholes?”). There was a time that these things did not bother me, because they were obviously funny and still filled with love. This new wave of articles, however, is disturbing. You don’t feel the love. You just feel the burden these moms feel day in and day out — something is wrong here, and instead of helping mothers have an easier, more blissful life, we blame kids and the situation gets worse. That’s why I felt compelled to write this… And sadly, now that things are deteriorated, I find it hard to find the humorous articles as funny as I used to…

  2. Amazing Joanna! Never called my child names, but still an enlightening story. Because it is not easy indeed , but as you say – making ourselves a victim won’t help a bit. So let’s enjoy what we have! Thank you!

  3. I agree. Words are very powerful, and your subconscious takes everything literally. If you say something enough, your brain will start to believe it, even if you are just joking or “letting off steam”

  4. Hi Joanna, I read this post last week at the beach and i have been wanting to help you combat the “kids are assholes” syndrome that seems to be going around. I finally got to sit down this morning and write this, and i would like to share it with you now.:

    “I read something this last weekend at the beach that was trying to combat this new trend of saying that all kids are @$$holes. So, in light of this new stupid trend, I thought I would put out there what my motherhood looks like. And I encourage you two either copy mine, or make your own. Lets show people why we do what we do, everyday. Parenthood is the only job we have that really matters.

    It’s half a pack of broken crayons in the bottom of your purse…and half eaten crackers that you don’t remember throwing in there.

    It’s that pile of papers your keeping that have a bunch of different colored scribbles on it, but those scribbles were made for you in your favorite colors…

    Its packing an extra bag when you leave town just so that they can have their bedtime stuffed animals- all 6 of them

    It’s having more ‘Avengers” band-aids than plain ones…

    It’s learning that sometimes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shampoo just DOES work better than Avengers, that’s why

    It’s spending weekends buried under piles of little clothes and mismatched socks and not wanting it any other way.

    It’s your house looking like the toy section of Goodwill threw up in your hallway, or your living room

    It looks like cuddles on the couch when their stuffed up and can’t sleep without leaning against you.

    It looks like sleepless nights and feeling helpless when you can’t do anything to make them feel better

    It sounds like both of you crying when they look up at you exhausted saying that they have a headache from the fever that is working its way thru their body.

    It’s knowing that one likes green dishes and one likes blue dishes

    It’s that feeling of knowing that when you see them, they are going to yell out your name and run to you with their arms wide open for hugs.

    It’s the kisses that must happen before bedtime, or else they can’t get to sleep. And it’s you needing those kisses as much as they need to give them.

    It’s every day that you climb into bed knowing that you will get up and do it again tomorrow and the day after and the day after….

    Its evening time football games in the front yard

    Its catching rain drops on your tongues “just because”

    Its macaroni necklaces that you know you’ll keep until every noodle breaks

    It’s looking at this incredible little person that you made and feeling more pride in them than you have ever felt for anything else you’ve ever done.

    It’s sounds like their little voices saying “I love you, mom”

    Its parenthood. And it’s hard. But it’s also beautiful and its important. My kids are not assholes- their kids….If childhood bothers you, maybe you’re the asshole in this equation.

    This is my motherhood, and this is why I do it: “

  5. Omg we think alike!! I recently wrote a post in a very similar vein on my blog because this whole name calling thing is getting too prevalent and normalized – it’s disturbing. In my case it stemmed from seeing too many articles about how kids are assholes, hearing it in person and, being bullied off of a group on Facebook that was meant to be supportive of ‘spirited’ children. I was told my world was clearly ‘unicorns and fluffy rainbows’ because I took a stand against treating kids as a nuisance and instead chose to see them as humans in need of connection. So happy to see people like you spreading a message that respects children, while acknowledging that parenting is intense Thank you 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.