It’s Not the Children

By Greg Baer M.D.

April 1, 2016

Recently someone told me about a parenting book, and at first, I thought they were joking. No, they were not. The title of the book is, “Toddlers Are A**holes: It's Not Your Fault.” Really.

I read the Amazon summary of the book, which included the following:

“Toddler a**holery is a normal part of human development—not unlike puberty, except this stage involves throwing food on the floor and taking swings at people who pay your way in life. For parents of toddlers, it's a ‘you better laugh so you don't cry’ period.

“[This] hilarious, satirical guide to toddlerhood offers parents instant (and very welcome) comic relief—along with the very good news that ‘It's Not Your Fault.’”

Apparently, this message has acquired a large and enthusiastic following. Horrifying. Toddlers don’t intentionally make their parents’ lives difficult, which would be the message of claiming that they are a**holes. Children are simply constantly exploring what they can do, what is possible, what makes noise, how the world works, and more.

I have watched the reactions of young children as their parents have simply become impatient. They’re devastated by the disapproval. Imagine how a child perceives a parent who regards him or her as an a**hole.

I can tell you from considerable experience that if parents unconditionally love and teach children from the beginning, two things happen:

  1. Toddlers learn that in the process of their exploration of the world some things are not acceptable. They still explore the world, but in ways that are rarely harmful to them or to others.
  2. Parents have fun with their children as they learn, rather than being annoyed with them.

Neither toddlers nor any other children are a**holes. Rather, they are eager to be loved and taught as they experience the delights and challenges of the world and the people in it.

Want to learn more?

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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