Have you ever found yourself constantly apologizing for your child’s behavior—even when they’re simply just being a kid? Yeah, I find myself there a lot. But I’m here to tell you (and to remind myself) this one thing: let kids be kids. Because that’s what they are, so why do we (or anyone else) go around expecting them to behave like grown adults? 

I was on a Zoom meeting with a colleague of mine one day and I had my son in his playpen. His babysitter was out of town for the week and I didn’t have anyone to fill in for that specific day. 

When I logged into work that morning, I made it known to my team that I was also managing my son during my work hours and that he might make an appearance in any meetings I had that day. All of my colleagues totally understood—yet in every single one of my meetings, I constantly found myself apologizing for every little thing that my child did, assuming it was an inconvenience. 

Related: The developmental benefits of letting your kids be messy

He laughed? Whoops, sorry. 

He banged his toys together? I’m so sorry. 

He whined just a little? I’m extra sorry.

He was doing nothing wrong, simply behaving like a kid and for some reason, I felt the need to constantly apologize for how he was acting.

You see, my work meeting wasn’t the only time that I caught myself apologizing for my kid’s child-like behavior. It was whenever we had company, in any social setting, at any gathering. It was whenever he was behaving like a kid and I felt like it was bothersome to anyone else. 

But why was I apologizing for my kid just being a kid? And why was I assuming that others were expecting anything different of him? 

Because kids will be kids—and they deserve to be while they have the chance.

I don’t expect my child to behave like an adult when he’s still learning himself and his emotions and this big world around him.

And if it should be an inconvenience to anyone, it should be me—the woman who spends 24 hours of every single day with this kid. Not the stranger who gets a mere two seconds of his behavior or the colleague who perhaps completely understands because she has kids of her own and she’s been there.

Related: 3 ways to get your kids moving through family activities

So you know what? I’m not going to act like it’s an inconvenience anymore. Because it’s not. I will no longer apologize for my kid simply being a kid. This doesn’t mean that I won’t correct his wrong behavior or check him when he’s acting out—but it does mean that if he’s screaming at the top of his lungs out of pure fun on the playground, I’m not going to say I’m sorry. And I’m not going to stop him, either. Because kids will be kids—and they deserve to be while they have the chance.

We spend so much of our lives wishing for the next thing, saying we can’t wait until we’re grown and we can make our own decisions. And then bam— we enter adulthood and realize that we never truly spent time appreciating our childhood enough. 

So in this time, I’m going to let my kid be a kid. I’m going to let him make messes—perhaps even encourage them. I’m going to let him make noise—and sometimes join in. I’m going to let him whine when he’s tired, all while trying my best to acknowledge that he is growing and learning and with time, he will understand how to manage his behavior.

Related: How to work from home with kids around—from babies to teenagers

But I’m not going to rush his childhood away. I’m not going to sit here and beg him to act like an adult when he hasn’t even had a chance to live a childhood yet. I'm tired of us apologizing for kids and the behavior that makes them what they are—children.

Because we always talk about how they grow up so fast—too fast even. Well, perhaps this is my way of slowing time down just a little. In letting him be a kid, I’m existing in the moment. In the giggles and cuddles and temper tantrums. In the interruptions and mistakes and mess-ups. In everything that makes him a kid.

Because I can deal with it. And for my child’s sake, I hope that everyone else can deal with it too. Because my son is unapologetic in his character, and so I’m going to be unapologetic as well.

To the parents of young children, let kids be kids—and don't apologize for it any longer.