• Top 10 Excuses Children Use

    1.                             I'm Not Smart Enough

    Some children are easily intimidated and lack consistent self-confidence. When these kids feel overshadowed by the accomplishments of their peers, a common go-to defense is to blame it on a lack of intelligence. I'm not smart enough so I just won't try. As parents we need to constantly work on encouraging the self-assurance of our children. Help them to hone their best abilities, while learning to smooth out the rough edges created by their weaknesses.

    2.                             It's Too Risky

    Boldness and courage are indeed great qualities to possess. No great gain ever came without tremendous risk. There is a difference between stupidity and risk. Stupidity is riding a bike off the roof of a house while your buddy films you. Risk is taking a chance on something worthwhile and knowing you might not be successful. Teach your child discipline and perseverance so that they might lessen the risk and put the odds in their favor. When hard work is applied, risks become calculated risks and are usually much easier to conquer.

    3.                             I'm Not Big Enough

    Age and size are big excuses children like to use. I'm not old enough to read that book yet. Even though your 2nd grader is reading on a 5th grade level and could easily do it. I'm too small to play football, even though your son loves the game and has speed and skills. Child development stages are not one size fits all. Parenting requires that we recognize and nurture our children's own unique stages. Do not allow complacency towards a general standard. Children skip grade levels. Small kids excel at sports. It happens, but not with excuses. The late Sam Mills, an undersized linebacker in the NFL, is a great example to research. His statue stands proud outside the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte as a reminder to all that character always trumps size. 

    4.                             I Can't Do It By Myself

    Self-reliance is a handy trait in life. The ability to entertain yourself. To sustain and motivate yourself. To be able to feel joy and appreciation even if momentarily alone in life. If your child feels they must always have help from others to achieve, then a behavior modification is in order. Yes, teamwork is essential and equally as important. Yet individual drive and responsibility for one's own actions are vital to personal achievement as well as overall team success. I think I can said the little train. 

    5.                             I'm Scared

    Fear is natural and healthy. Sometimes it's a warning to steer clear. Other times it's an excuse to not move forward. We can't leave the training wheels on forever. Eventually they have to come off and we must learn how to ride unaided. Once we do, we learn the joy and freedom of accomplishment. A parent's natural instinct is to protect our kids at all costs. Our daughter looks us in the eyes and says, Daddy, I'm scared to try. We hold them tightly. The next moment is crucial. Do you allow that fear to stall her development? Or do you reassure her with lots of love and have her face her fear? Your answer to this question has long term ramifications. 

    6.                             Nobody Does It That Way

    When American music legend Waylon Jennings first went to Nashville, he was told that everyone had high hopes for him. They said he would be just like Hank Williams. The problem was he wanted to be like Waylon Jennings. He rebelled against the formula, and earned the label outlaw. Later, after gaining great success on his own, he wrote a song called, I Don't Think Hank Done it This Way, as an answer to those early expectations. Every person has their own unique vision and talent. Allow your children to be who they are. Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery, but imitation never made a legend. 

    7.                             We Are Too Poor

    Economic factors play a gigantic role in the social emotional development of children. Kids from lesser means understandably feel intimated by children who appear to have more. All parents should play a role in helping less fortunate children feel adequate and worthy to achieve. If you are a family of meager means, do not allow your children to use that as an excuse not to dream as big as they can. If you are a family blessed with good fortune, teach your children the responsibility of sharing their material blessings with others. The capabilities of children have nothing to do with social standing or economics. Each human brain can achieve great things given the opportunity to thrive. 


    8.                             I Don't Feel Like Doing It

    Every parent has been frustrated upon hearing that excuse from your child. Your own parents felt the same stress when you said it to them. I don't feel like cleaning my room. I don't feel like doing my homework. Laziness is not a trait you want to nurture. Consider setting up behavior charts that reward positive and punctual results. You could also implement a list of tasks and chores to be completed each week in a timely manner. The reward could be a special privilege or an out of the ordinary treat. This sets a standard of personal discipline and strong work ethic required for adult success. 

    9.                             It's Too Hard

    It is human nature to seek the path of least resistance. That's quite ok. In many instances, finding and following this well-worn path is a mark of intelligence and common sense. However, what seems like the easier path is actually marked with bumps, rocks and pitfalls that are difficult to navigate. It's in these more difficult moments that build character in our kids. In the face of the road hazard, does your child back down and just give up? It's too hard and I just can't do it. Or will he rise to the challenge and overcome the obstacles before him? Our job as parents is to be there to encourage and motivate during these times. You are not raising a quitter.

    10.                         I Can't Because Of What Happened

    Child behavior is a fickle and delicate thing. Any life events can be the trigger that sends your child careening in directions you would rather he avoid.  Using tragedy, bad fortune or family standing as a crutch is a common excuse for children and adults alike. Since my parents divorced, I don't think I can do that anymore. I can't because everybody loves the new baby and not me. Be aware of life's sudden changes and the impact they have on your child's demeanor.  Divorces, death and even new siblings can be just the kind of events that have the potential to hurl them into a behavioral tailspin. It's perfectly understandable and even expected that these major life events will have an effect on your child's behavior.  If after a time of adjustment, your child continues to use the life event as an excuse, then you know you have a problem. Face the problem head on and encourage them to take personal responsibility and stand on their own two feet. 

Last Modified on March 21, 2011