7 Things Adults Do That Blow Toddlers' Minds


toddler boy

It's our job as parents to show them the ways of the world so they know how to navigate it growing up -- but have you ever wondered what goes through a toddler's brain when they see adults doing something that doesn't quite add up with lessons we've taught them?

You know ... like when we do something we've specifically instructed them not to do -- and they look at us all confused and hurt like we're total hypocrites.

How the heck are they supposed to learn right from wrong when their own mom and dad can't seem to follow the rules?

Here are seven things all parents do that make our poor toddlers scratch their heads and wonder what in the heck is going on.

  1. Play unfairly -- I'm sure this scenario will sound somewhat familiar: You're having drinks with your adult friends while playing a game of dominoes -- and your 3-year-old keeps coming up and grabbing them only to hear, "You can't play, honey. You're not in the game." Imagine his surprise when he gets scolded for leaving his sister out the next time he wants to play something.
  2. Fail to share -- You know that mug of "special" coffee with whipped cream on top that looks like a nice cup of hot cocoa? When you tell him he can't have any, he thinks you're an asshole.
  3. Play on the iPad or iPhone -- If he can't have it during dinner, how come you can? It's so unfair. You're guaranteed to piss off your toddler every time you reach for it.
  4. Take a roast out of the oven -- How many times have you told him not to go anywhere near that thing? And then he sees you go and stick your hands in there even though it's H-O-T! You must be a real moron.
  5. Spill water on the floor -- Every time he knocks his drink over, you freak out. But then you go and get a big bucket full of water, dump it on the floor, and swish it around with a mop, making an even bigger mess. What gives?
  6. Cry when we're having a bad day -- If he can't have a temper tantrum over the fact that he'd rather wear a red shirt than a blue one -- why are you allowed to sob about the craptastic day you had at work? Get it together, already.
  7. Talk to strangers -- You tell him time and time again he's not to speak to anyone he doesn't know. And then you go and chat up the cashier at the grocery store you've never seen before like you've known her for years and confuse the hell out of him once again.

What kinds of things leave your toddler with a very confused look?


Image via GIRAND/BSIP/Corbis

discipline, learning, toddler development


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Well...when things are put in that perspective, it gives me pause.

nonmember avatar melody

Seriously? Is it not your job to teach children boundaries? My children have never thrown a tantrum over not getting to do what i do. They know that when they are bigger they get more rights and responsibilities. A toddler is not an adult. Duh.

nonmember avatar totmomma

Our house is different I guess. If you spill something and it is truely an accident, then we say "Opps! Accident! Let's clean it up!" None of us are allowed to play with the Tablet while eating. My son, whose 3, can help with cooking as long as mom or daddy help him. We explained he can get really hurt if he reaches in the oven, and once he saw me burn the piss out of myself so he doesnt question it lol! He is allowed to cry or get mad as long as it doesn't get excessive. He's a human, he is entitled to his own emotions as much as I am (but if it gets into flat out yelling, screaming, or tantrum mode he is reminded to calm down or he will be put in time out to calm down.)

Lol there are a few times though he has had to hear: That drink is only for big people, it can make kiddos sick. Or that he is just too little to play. But we always try to explain it our best, even if he doesnt understand.

amazz... amazzonia

about number 7...averyone is always telling their kids not to talk to strangers and that they get mad if the kid doesn't say hi when you tell them too, or you freak out when your kid is not being "social"

Einyn Einyn

@totmomma, way to overreact. It was a cute article.

CharmandHappy Carmen Tellez

my 4 year old goes nuts when... 1. I perform a Magic Trick for him and then don't tell him how he too can master it. He knows some, I give in sometimes. 2. TV goes off during dinner. 3. He's not a fan of "You get what you get and you don't fret" 4. Drives him bonkers that I don't let him eat in bed.

Proud... ProudMommy51006

My son asks me about number 7 all the time. He's only 3 and he's says, "Mom, they are strangers, why did you say hello to them?" He just doesn't understand it.

antfa... antfarmer101

#7... My older daughter is very social, to the point that she has never met anyone she won't talk to. We are trying to find a healthy balance teaching her that it's okay to be polite, friendly even, but you don't need to tell your entire life story to the lady in front of us at the grocery store.

Most people she talks to are VERY nice, and will hold a conversation with her. The rare few who won't, for whatever reason, get called out on it. She will turn to me and say "Momma, that wo/man is not talking to me. That is not very polite". It's a little embarrassing to have to explain, in earshot of said person, just WHY you think they may not be answering.

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