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What I Learned By Giving In To My 3-Year-Old’s Demands

The following was syndicated from Medium for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at

Kids. They are what I would consider to be the most spectacular, unpredictable, frustrating, destructive, beautifully loving souls on planet earth. They do and say some of the most hysterical, outrageously thoughtful, and even embarrassing things of all time; things that make you want to stare at them in a way that time will hopefully freeze forever. On the other end of the spectrum, they do things that make you wonder why people are still populating the earth.

Weekends usually consist of me, and my 2 children (Lucia, 3, and August, 1). My wife, Ashley, is almost always working all day Saturday and part of the day on Sunday. This past Saturday, 4:00 PM rolled around faster than I wanted it to (this is when the children wake up from their nap, most days). I had woken up from a nap myself, and frankly, was not looking forward to getting them up yet. We have all been sick with colds, and knowing that I needed to get into dad mode for the evening was not something that sparked much interest.

Especially when they are not the best behaved in the evenings.

When I walked into their room, Lucia was already awake. She stood up quickly, and with much urgency in her voice said,

“Dad! I want to watch the sun go down!”

I replied with, “Sure. Let’s go on the back deck and watch it tonight.”

Undeterred, she replied again, and this time said, “No. Downtown Nash-a-ville!”

Parenting is hard. But it’s even harder when you do not position your kids to be kids.

Keep in mind that we have never taken her to watch the sun go down before, so this new explorer daughter of mine is new territory for me.

In a congested, stuffy voice I replied with,

“Sure Lu, we can go downtown Nashville to watch the sun go down.”

In all honesty, I had no desire to go downtown. I had no desire to walk up this massive pedestrian bridge with 2 little ones when I knew that they would both get tired before we got to the top and I would get stuck carrying them. All the while not being able to breathe out of my nose.

But we went.

We packed up and took a drive into the city.

And guess what? It was perfect. Even when I had to carry both of them and thought my lungs were going to explode.

Here is what I walked away with from that night.

Parenting is hard. But it’s even harder when you do not position your kids to be kids.

What do I mean by that?

If I chose to keep them locked up inside because I didn’t feel well, I would have had angry, screaming, needy, misbehaved kids up until I had to put them back to bed again for the night. In fact, that night would have been so bad, that I probably would have put them to bed early just so I could relax. Now, I am fully aware that we cannot say yes to every little thing our kids want to do. But what I was challenged by is, if I was to say no to her, was I saying no because we actually could not go? Or was I saying no because it would “benefit” me? Do you ever say no to your kid(s) when they ask for something, and then ask yourself why you said no? The “why” matters, and here is why …

Because a lot of times we are to tired to go anywhere.

A lot of times we are too frustrated to want to have fun with them.

Or we have way to much to do around the house.

We will always have “reasons” behind our “NOs.”

The challenge is making this decision, forcing yourself to go outside of what you “feel” like doing.

But is it possible that every time we say no for our own selfish reasons, or for things that can wait, that we are stripping them from an opportunity to be a kid? Stripping them from the opportunity to be free to have fun, while making incredible memories. We tend to tell kids not to grow up quickly, but if we are not showing them how to live like a kid, what then is preventing the desire to grow up from taking root in their life?

I was committed to making Saturday night a good night.

I sucked it up, and took them downtown.

That night was fun. It was filled with excitement, adventure and joy for all of us.

Most of all, I learned that we need to let kids be kids. I was already frustrated that night because I was sick, and tired. But I chose to do something that would transform the future of our night. The challenge is making this decision, forcing yourself to go outside of what you “feel” like doing.

Once we got on top of the walking bridge, I couldn’t help but watch them in amazement. I couldn’t help but watch them try and stretch out their tiny bodies so they could see over the railing to watch that sun sneak behind the Nashville Skyline.

They were happy. They were making memories. They got to see the beautiful city that we live in. And they got to experience the beauty that living on planet earth has to offer.

And for me, I got to watch them in amazement as they watched our beautiful sun set behind the skyline. I got to see their minds being blown by all that was around them. And the perk was that I escaped a night of angry kids.

Once it got dark, we made our way back down the bridge, got to our car, drove home, and I tucked them in bed.

After I prayed with them, Lucia gave me a big hug and said, “I love you, Dad. You are my best friend.”

David Scribani is a husband and father of 2.