How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Wrong 101 (Kid Responses to Accusation)

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Wrong 101 Kid Responses to Accusation

On the journey to teach kids the difference between Right and Wrong, they seem to learn something else you didn’t necessarily intend along the way. All on their own, without any flashcards or kidstructional videos. Wrong 101.

They learn the wide and varied rainbow of responses to any accusation or confrontation of Wrongness. Kids learn quickly by default, but they break the sound barrier when it comes to learning about Wrong 101 and how to deal with a parent glaring down a pointed finger at a broken pile of Wrong on the kitchen floor or scribbled onto the cushions of a sofa.

My two older sons, Max and Cody, have this subject down pat at ages 11 and 13. They’re both pretty close to a Master’s Degree in Fault Avoidance, so I could easily write a really long and detailed essay, filled with nuance and intrigue, but let’s just have a look at the early stages of learning. Let’s look at it from the perspective of a toddler, my son Lucas’ age (three years old). It’s a simpler more formative look, and it’s also super fun to write dialog the way a toddler talks.

Proud Ownership

Parent: What’s up? Why do you have flour all over your shirt?
Kid: Come! Come! Wook whu I do!


Parent: Did you do this!?!
Kid: Yes! Hee hee! I do it!!!

Clueless Reassurance

Parent: Not the dryer!!!
Kid: Is’okay!!! We can get a new one!

Incriminating Denial

Kid: I did not do dis. NO I did NOT!
Parent: Whu? What do you mea-OH NO! Not the new curtains!!!


Parent: Ohmygod!
Kid: I sowwy!

Practiced Apologies

Parent: Ohmygod, not again!
Kid: I sowwy I sowwy. I not do again.

Stale Apologies

Parent: OHMY-
Kid: I sooooo sowwy. I not do it again aaaaaany more.

Bad Lying

Parent: What was that? Did something break?
Kid: Ummm… Uhhhh… Not me. I not bweak it wiv my hammer. In da bafwoom.

Better Lying

Parent: What was that crash in the living room?
Kid: No. Da neighboh cat jump on da twash cans again.

Redirecting Blame

Parent: Come here and look what you did.
Kid: I fink… uh… [sibling/pet/cartoon character] did it!

Playing Dumb

Parent: You have to understand this doesn’t come off!
Kid: Cwayon? Wha’s cwayons?

Diversionary Tactics

Parent: Have you seen the flower vase?
Kid: I fink I need a baff! And fo wash my haiw! Wet’s go! Wight now!


Parent: Did you do this?
Kid: No no no. Did YooOOooOU did it!?!

Weak Alibis

Parent: Where have you been, little one?
Kid: I pwaying wiv my bwocks in my woom all day. And yesserday. And tomowwoh. Not on you waptop.


Parent: Agh! You put my phone in the TOILET!?!
Kid: I wuv you [Mommy/Daddy]. You my favowitest [Mommy/Daddy] evew.

Fake Innocence

Parent: Look at this mess!
Kid: Ya! Das a MESS! Who do dis? Whu happen?

Insanity/Cute Plea

Parent: Where is Great Grandma’s ern… what’s that on your face?
Kid: I wike wainbows! On my butt!!! Dey make my tummy wiggle when I waff! An da buttew-fwies fwapping!!! Hee hee hee hee!

This is just a sampling of some possible toddler responses to owning up (or not) to a hefty chunk of Wrong. It may seem cute, and it is a lot of times, but we all know that there are days when it’s as cute as a fish head in a microwave. For a rare few, it isn’t even like that, it literally is an exploded fish head in a microwave.

We, as parents, are not trying to teach them to dodge blame or toss responsibility alongside the clothes that missed their laundry basket. But still, they rapidly graduate up through the grades of Wrong 101. Especially when there are siblings. Ugh! If you’re not familiar with the blame game, just know that IT IS NOT FUN. After a while, they may get so good that they can make you wonder whether YOU did it.


It’s not a popularity contest. But I’m only saying that to gain popularity.

Instructional Diagrams
If this didn’t make you laugh, these should do the trick.


32 Responses to “Wrong 101 (Kid Responses to Accusation)”

  1. Thank you for this mini-handbook of parenting gold. A good dose of clever, truth, and hilarity.

  2. Sarah says:

    I’ve gotten all of these and then some. My oldests favorite response is to turn into a puddle of tears on the floor and has been adding a dose of guilt trip (“My mommy doesn’t love me!”) when she gets busted.

    • Andy says:

      That’s a good one. All my boys have done the inverted guilt trip, dang!, I can’t think of a kid that I know who hasn’t! Touchรฉ!

  3. Christina says:

    It’s official. My husband is a toddler.

    *Redirecting Blame*
    Me: “Oh!”
    Husband: “It was the cat that slapped your behind.”

    Toddler has a very good teacher.

    • Andy says:

      Ha ha! I had meant to add a footnote on this one that you could correct the pronunciation of the Rs and Ls and you’d pretty much have any given adult, to one degree or another.

  4. Katie says:

    My daughter hasn’t gotten to most of these…we have the usual quietness is probably not good, followed by “what are you doing?” and replied to with “Nooothing”


    Flat out denial “Punkin did you color on your wall with the Sharpie?”…”No”…”Why is there Sharpie all over your hands and why is the sharpie in your pocket?”…”Nuh uhhh”

  5. Monica says:

    So my son is not quite old enough for this, but I love it when my niece runs up to me with the “My Mommy is being mean to me” and I know my son will learn this before long. Or if you say something that she doesn’t agree with then you get the “You’re not my Best Friend Anymore” or the ever popular “You’re not coming to my Birffday party” in which I respond with, “Well, I guess I will keep your present.” Suddenly I am her Best Friend again. (she uses the Birthday party one even if her Birthday is 10 months away – hehe)

    • Andy says:

      Oh dammit! I should have added blackmail. “I don’t love you anymore” and โ€œYouโ€™re not my best friend anymoreโ€ are practically whole strands of DNA in kids. Ha ha ha ha!

    • Saemon says:

      “Not My Best Friend Anymore ™”
      I need that on a t-shirt for my kids … geeeeez … lol

  6. Karen says:

    Oh yes….

  7. Kimberly says:

    Oh my gosh, I’m in tears from laughing so hard. My 3-year-old has already perfected many of these. She broke my iPod a few days ago and reassured me, “It’s okay, Mama. We can go to the store and buy a new one. I sorry, Mommy. It was an accident. Not on purpose. You should not be mad, because you’re the best mommy. I love you!” Later that day she bit her younger brother on the shoulder (leaving teeth marks above his shoulder blade!) and tried to tell me he did it to himself. Sadly, she’s done that exact same thing once before. Sigh.

    • Andy says:

      Ha ha ha ha ha! Priceless! She did a potpourri of responses. Smart girl. The best offense is a strong defense! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Evonne says:

      gotta love the sudden compliments…I forget what it was for now but once (a few years back) when I sent the eldest to his room, he took two steps up the hallway and then turns around showering me with compliments ‘you know, you’re really pretty Mum. I think you’re so beautiful’. Me – ‘I’m glad you feel that way but you can still go to your room’…I won’t repeat what he muttered under his breath after that!!

  8. Ryan H. says:

    I am laughing so hard at my desk right now, confident that I used every one of these when I was a Kid!


    • Andy says:

      I know right!?! It felt autobiographical for me to write. And I’ll tell ya, I could have gone on and on and on. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks!

  9. Louise says:

    My baby just turned 9 months and just turned evil. Before if she was doing something wrong we would say ‘No!’ and she would ignore us. Now if we say ‘No’ she turns on her biggest smile and giggles at us… and then continues tugging on a power cord. Evil!

    • Andy says:

      There always that point! Man! I know exactly what you’re talking about, the little one is a little bundle of wiggling sunshine, honey and butter and then Hssssss! The fangs come out.

      My wife was in tears the other day because Lucas had his first full day of evil. Ugh.

  10. MotherDuck says:

    Yesterday, my 10 year old said to her 6 year old sister, “Jasmine, I can always tell when you’re lying. Your eyes get big.”
    I saw that she was trying to make us think that her sister did something that she herself was involved with and I quickly stepped in to say, “Lily, I can tell when your lying too but I’m not going to tell you how I know or else you’ll change it.” Her eyes got big, I turned and walked away. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Andy says:

      LOL! That’s genius! Cody and Max do a restrained smile. I once told them I knew they were lying because I could tell they wanted to smile. They had these really frozen looks on their faces, holding it back. Cody would say “BUT I’M NOT SMILING!!!” he’d normally burst out laughing.

      Unfortunately, he’s gotten very very good now and could probably make a lie detector machine commit suicide.

  11. As an only child, I was often the only name on the list of “usual suspects.”

  12. Is this something I have to look forward to? So far at almost 4, my daughter doesn’t seem to have this issue. She has tried to lie but admits the truth when I explained that telling a lie is not good etc. It also helps that her world stops until the truth is admitted so hopefully, she is learning that a lie gets you nowhere and that the lesson will stick. Time will tell I guess.

  13. Erich says:

    Man… Some of that is verbatim of my daughter!

  14. Kate says:

    We definitely have this to look forward to… yikes. Our son is almost 15 months, and has already started laughing when we say no, tests ALL the boundaries, etc. Sigh. What’s that old nursery rhyme? The good is very good, but the bad is very bad? (And am I a terrible parent for not knowing all nursery rhymes by heart?!)

    Keep up the good writing! I’m new to your blog (clicked over from Prudent Baby) and I’m really enjoying it!

  15. Saemon says:

    On a different, but related matter, my favourite punishment has been brought on by my daughter on herself …

    “Go to your room”
    *quietly, lip slightly quivering* “For ever and ever?”
    *screams as she runs into her room, slams the door, and tantrums for a straight 20mins*

    It shouldnt be so satisfying, but seriously, it makes you feel like the punishment was WORKING … sometimes ๐Ÿ™‚

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