A few items that perplex me as a parent

As a parent, I have watched children conquer physics, learn new languages and reach great academic heights, yet still apparently be clueless about how the dishwasher works.

It is one of the great mysteries of life, and it often baffles me. Do they think the dishes get clean just from setting them in the sink? Why not just put the dishes right into the dishwasher? Do they not realize that you can decipher if the dishwasher is clean or dirty by opening it and looking inside?

question-mark-2110767_960_720How are they so much smarter than me about history, science, math, cooking, fashion, music, geography, economics and many other subjects, yet they struggle with simple concepts about dishwashers and other items. Here are a few additional examples of items that confound me about children:

Putting laundry away – In my mind, this means putting laundry into a drawer. In the mind of a teenager or younger child, it instead means leaving a pile of clean clothes on the floor or just leaving them all in the dryer and using that as a dresser. Have traditional dressers become old-fashioned? Why not use them?

Light switches – It is important to note that they don’t always need to be left on. The light will work again later if you turn it off when you leave the room.

Their reaction to any car that I drive – Whatever car I am driving has always had a Pavlovian effect on children. As soon as they see the car pulling up, their mouths begin to water and they immediately get hungry. I don’t care what time of day it is or where I am picking children up, they are always hungry.

What to do with a towel – Towels need to be hung up in order to dry, but this seems to be a difficult concept to grasp. The whole idea of “hanging up” items seems to perplex children who don’t understand the joy of having all of your clothes carefully hung up in the closet, or even the peace of mind you have when you know your towel is hanging in the bathroom. (Note: We actually had a very fun debate about hanging up towels after I wrote this. Please tell the children that I am correct).

The only time when children are not hungry is when we are eating dinner – Why is this? An hour after dinner, of course, they are hungry.

Long sleeve shirts – Why are they so unpopular with children in the winter? Doesn’t it seem useful to wear warm clothes while parents are obsessing over heating bills? Do you realize how much we are spending on gas? It’s not even a solid!

Socks – How do they get under the sofa so often? The children blame the cat.

Eating on snow days – On snow days or other days when the kids are home but my wife and I are at work, we get home in the evening and happily greet the kids to ask about their days. “When are we eating? I’m very hungry,” is the usual response. “What did you eat for lunch?” I might ask. “Lunch? Oh yeah, nothing I guess,” is often the answer. I have tried to explain that they are allowed to make lunch when we are not home, but their preferred time for cooking is generally 1:30 a.m.

Empty boxes that previously held food items – I realize that sometimes one does not notice when one takes the last item out of a box, but these empty boxes remain on the shelves way too often, and it has been this way for many years. Why does that box remain on the shelf or in the freezer? Is this just to trick me? Is it a reminder to purchase more of this item? Do they think we collect these boxes?

Batteries – Wouldn’t it be just as simple to take new batteries out of the package as it is to take the batteries out of the remote control? Also, how does the remote control end up with the socks under the sofa?

Why are they doing nearly the exact same things that my generation did? – My parents and their generation thought my generation was crazy for not washing dishes, folding clothes or wearing coats, and now my generation thinks the exact same thing about the children of today. Why aren’t they smarter than we were? They do seem to have more homework and more pressures than my generation did when we were teens and I am very proud of them, but I am still often perplexed by the things they do.

And why do I still do many of these same things? – Speaking of that, I wonder if I left the remote control in the kitchen again?

Are there additional items that perplex you about children? Feel free to comment below. Thanks!

13 thoughts on “A few items that perplex me as a parent

  1. Very funny! And so true. I have been the victim of all of these things, too. I don’t understand it.

    But in their defense regarding dishes in the dishwasher, there is a concept called “Schrödinger’s dishes” wherein the dishes are both clean and dirty until someone opens up the dishwasher to look at them. Therefore, looking in the dishwasher almost always results in additional tasks for the one who looks. So, it’s completely rational to not look inside the dishwasher.

    Thanks for a very funny post! I really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. So funny!!!! My kids do ALL of those things! My biggest pet peeve believe it or not, is leaving empty boxes in the cabinet or freezer. Drives me bonkers!!!! We finally got our 12 (almost 13) year old to start “hanging up” his towel, but to him that means shoving it on top of the towel bar. Doesn’t that take more effort to shove it till it stays, than draping it over the bar?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! And those empty boxes drive me crazy, too. I just can’t understand it. I agree about the towel, too. It seems easier to just hang it on the bar. Thanks again!


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