Family Life

I absolutely can’t stand absolutists

A dad and his son begin to argue — and soon the antlers are rattling

It started over Minecraft, moved on to how best to lace football boots, and finally, we got caught up in the relative merits of Chinese food versus Indian.

Well, how one is shit and the other isn’t.

A father and son barney.

Hardly a typical recipe for a quarrel but really, they can be about anything can’t they?

Me, the Boss Stag, challenged in my own habitat, and before I know it, my antlers are tingling. And so are those of the one who would be the Stagmeister.

stags (1)

So ridiculous when I think about it now: a couple of male bucks going head to head, circling around each other first (wondering is this really worth arguing about), a couple of fades and rattles to begin with.

Not much behind them but they start to sting a bit. You move in closer, the adrenaline is pumping now, heavier stuff starts being thrown, the antlers are banging now, voices are raised and inhibitions are lowered …

Back to where it began.

We were running a bit late on this particular school morning Friday, and 12-year-old O had showered and was drying his hair.

As he does, he called up YouTube on the computer while he sat and blow-dried his long hair. Doing what loads of kids seem to do: watch other kids playing games online.

He was watching a lad playing Fortnite.

Fortnite (1)

Something about the way the soldier-type character in the game was running through a landscape, chopping, hacking and building stuff as they went — and blowing other players away with massive guns, of course — reminded me of Minecraft, which O used to love.

I had recently read how one young Irish YouTuber, known as Little Kelly Minecraft, had made over €700,000 in the last two years from her subscribers.

I started to tell O about this. He cut me off: “Minecraft is finished.”

“Well it can hardly be finished if she was over a million people watching her videos, and she’s making all that money

“Dad, you don’t know what you’re talking about, trust me, no-one plays Minecraft now ….”

“Maybe not kids your ages, but younger ones …”

Maybe it was the way O was sat there, never even taking his eyes off the screen as he summarily dismissed what I was saying.

Minecraft was dead, and that was it. And I didn’t know what I was talking about and should just stop digging.

So anyway, we’re downstairs and O is having his breakfast. He has a soccer match this evening. His boots are ready but his laces have been washed overnight. They are not quite dry, so I offer to have the boots laced for him for when he comes home.


So I ask does he want them laced “properly”, meaning the classic bar across.

He is appalled.

“No way, Dad, crossed, the way everybody does them …”

“Crossed? Sure that’s just the easy way to do it …

“It is not … everyone does it … all the guys on the team … it’s way better …”

“What do you mean, way better? The other way is classic, crossing is just the simple way, the kids way …”

“No it isn’t … it’s wa-a-a—y-yy better … Dad you don’t know what you’re talking about …”

I’m a bit fed up with this certainty thing, this absolutism, and I admit my voice is raised. Not shouting. But definitely raised.

“Are you serious? Your’e just trying to justify the fact that you guys can’t be bothered doing them up the right way. The classic way looks way better, but it takes too long for you guys ,…

“No it doesn’t … you haven’t got a clue, you’re so wrong, Dad …

Of course this gets on my goat … again I’m thinking it’s the way he says it, so dismissively, no point in even arguing … he’s right I’m wrong.

Typical me, I read so much into what others consider minor stuff.

It’s also voting day in the Eight Amendment proposal. We’re voting on whether to retain or remove an amendment to the Irish Constitution, inserted in 1983, and which recognised the equal right to life of the mother and her unborn child.

Repeal the 8th pic (1)

We’re really voting on the right of the mother to choose abortion, or for the State to continue to determine her choices.

It’s a complex issue, but for the purposes of this vote, it has been reduced to a simple Yes or No vote. Yes to accept the primacy of the mother’s right to choose by voting to remove the amendment, and No, to retain the amendment, and thus continue to make abortion illegal, except in very restrictive circumstances.

So restrictive that hundreds of women leave Ireland every year to have their pregnancies terminated.

This issue has divided people here for years. I have long ago reached my own opinion, and hate the selective arguments and the mudslinging on both sides that has characterised public debate on this most sensitive area.

I hate absolutism on any side of an argument … and it sounds to my over-sensitive ears exactly like what O is engaging in here … my opinion is not just wrong, I am stupid to even think I am right.

O carries on .… his voice raised now too

“It’s just the same as that time K tried to say that Chinese food was disgusting, and there you were (he’s imitating me now) ‘No K, that’s only your opinion, Chinese food isn’t disgusting’

“But that’s my whole point, O, it’s her opinion. If Chinese food was actually disgusting, nobody would eat it, and there would be no Chinese takeaways …”

At this point sensible Mom intervenes and draws attention to the time. We’ve got to get K and O out the door and on to school.

O and I park our disagreements and a quick kiss on his head from Daddy Stag and Mom, K and Number Two Stag … I mean O … are gone.

My wife has bought bread rolls and I am irked with her choice.

Why did she get those Tesco baguette ones?

“They’re so doughy … bloody awful,” I say to myself.

And then I laugh.

‘Awful, are they?’ says I to myself

‘That’s just your opinion’.

Who’s the absolutist then, Dad?

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53 comments on “I absolutely can’t stand absolutists

  1. That was a brilliant read and had me smiling all the way through. I can totally feel your pain on this and I’m dreading the day my Daughter gets to this phase, as I’m sure she will. #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Firstly, you should know that as a parent, you are wrong and don’t know anything – and NO ONE ever does/says that anymore. It should only encourage you to do/say it more often.
    Secondly, you aren’t voting on abortion, you are voting on the individual right. Do you have a right to say what your neighbour can or can’t do? I was very uncomfortable with our vote in Australia on same sex marriage – why should my hetro opinion be relevant on the rights of the LBGTQI community? To me this is the same issue with your vote.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Lydia


  4. Great read – gave me a glimpse into my near future too 😩😂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. He he. Maybe you’ll crack the code and it will all run smoothly … maybe🙏☺


  6. Daydreamer mum

    Oh my goodness , perfect yet again. That everything has to be black or white in this house is as much my fault as it is the teens!!!#globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I had the same issue with my lad last night! He was determined to tell his sister and me that we didn’t know what we were talking about, we had no ‘reason’ to explain what we meant. I agree, it’s the dismissive arrogance and the unwillingness to engage in debate, accept the other’s opinion or allow for differences that gets to me more than the fact of whether we are right or wrong. This abortion debate has upset me on many levels – the way people have spoken in hurtful ways or been arrogant and plain rude has just added to it all. I’m glad it’s all over (I hope!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree .. I haver hated this debate for so long … not the issue … but how it brings out the bad on both sides of the argument. Doesn’t make it easy to find common ground when one is trading insults. Like listening to teens “arguing”!!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The problem is that those kids grow up and some of them become politicians – the ones who believe everyone is wrong but them, even when there is copious evidence to the contrary. Our referendum was similar to the way you describe yours, but at least you got the right result – absolutely!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ha, ha — I saw what you did there! Funny thing it was largely the young voters who made it such a landslide Yes vote. Sometimes certainty makes a difficult choice easy


  10. We’re all absolutists in our own way. It gets a bit grim though and it doesn’t always help solve problems or get things done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am not always the quickest to recognize this in myself. And, you are so right, it doesn’t help un solving problems. The.opposite of course!


  11. Teens are absolutely nightmarish. Everything is black and white to them. In a few years the grey will sneak in and you’ll be able to have an actual discussion with him. I hope. #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

    • In fairness Heather he’s not usually like that … but, let’s say he does believe in his logic sometimes and there’s no convincing him. Absolutely not!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This took me back several years when my son’s were teenagers #mudpiefriday@_karendennis

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Kids know everything, don’t they? I have very similar discussions with our 10-year-old – and often the arguments are over something utterly trivial. For what it’s worth, our kids (10, 8, 6) all still play Minecraft – not least because we won’t let them play Fortnite yet. #fortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

    • Everything, yeah. It’s one thing to be so sure you are right, but then they have to be so BLOODY DISMISSIVE!! That’s what really gets me the most!!!😠☺


  14. Sounds like my 9 year old. Never mind my teenagers!

    Hopefully they will come out of the right/wrong black/white phase and into the warmth that is reasoned debate and argument.


    Liked by 1 person

  15. At 7 and 10, I’m already hearing it from the kinder… You had me smiling. #dreamteam xo

    Liked by 1 person

  16. You still have me here, at #triumphanttales xo Happy weekend, Enda!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Ultimately, it is difficult when your kids starting answering back isn’t it? I know my none year old will listen to what I say (…for the time being anyway) but, wow, when she has an opinion I know it. It is difficult being challenged when you have knowledge gathered from years of experience (….and often making wrong decisions!). I so get this. Oh, and lots of kids do still play Minecraft! headed over from #thatfridaylinky


  18. And a big hello to you, from #ThatFridayLnky xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  19. diynige

    Another awesome read mate Kid’s know all’s of the world haha! Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Where does it say in the parent guide that they will one day talk back?? Just asking : ) #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Pingback: #GlobalBlogging linky week 63… | Shank You Very Much

  22. Great post. There are certainly days when if I said the sky was blue that my daughter would insist it was red- against all logic. To your bigger point, I’m right there with you. The world isn’t black and white, no matter how much easier it would be if it was. Learning to appreciate the fact that others see different shades of grey is an important lesson for us to be teaching #thatfridaylinky

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is. But it’s amazing how hard it is to shake off the curse of absolutism. It’s maybe just more obvious with teens!!


  23. I’m back with #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

  24. My kids disagree with me on most things but they cannot see anyone else’s point of view EVER! #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

  25. #thesatsesh I think your last few lines are really powerful, as humans we all believe we all know. One of the hardest things as a teacher is to ask the class for opinions, share mine BUT try an explain that it doesn’t mean I’m right and that there’s are still valid. As always Enda, pass on any top tips for raising sons my way. *I tried to repost this on twitter but can’t find your handle any longer?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for picking that up … the fact I was seeing this fault so easily in my son but not so easily in myself!!! My twitter handle is @endas1896. Thanks for your comments


  26. Lucy At Home

    Grrr this would get me so wound up! I absolutely can’t stand absolutists either! I am generally a person who keeps my opinions to my self but in uni, I had a friend who always made sweeping statements in such a matter of fact way, it used to really wind me up – he would declare it as a fact when it was clearly just an opinion (and often a wrong opinion to my mind! Haha) – we would butt heads a lot over trivial matters, but I guess it was a learning experience for both of us as I learned it was okay to voice my opinion and he learned that people have different opinions to him…! #blogcrush

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah it us a learning process Lucy, this give and take thing … It’s just annoying that some people dont learn it and others, like myself only think we have learned it!!😬😱☺


  27. Great bit of self-analysis here Enda! I remember similar conversations with my (now) 16 year old a few years ago. Basically, whatever opinions I held, she would automatically take the opposite stance. We clashed several times. I could cope with her agreeing with her friends but it was when she quoted other parents as being right when I was in the wrong that really wounded me. Things are very different now, she’s stopped kicking back against everything I say and we agree on just about everything – although I have changed my standpoint on a few things too and I credit her for that. The problem is, I’m starting it all over again now with my youngest who is 12! Thanks for sharing your great post with us at #TweensTeensBeyond

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sharon. Thanks for your lovely comments. I have come to realise I am a bit absolutist myself … and there I was calling the pot!!!


  28. Great article! Thoroughly enjoyed it. My little man is already very opinionated – at 5! I have a lot to look forward to! I can’t wait to start using the phrase ‘that’s just your opinion’! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing with #TriumphantTales!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Hilarious.This tale I am sure strikes a chord with parents everywhere. My 19 year old son is the worst in this regard. I bought him a cushion years ago for his room that says “I am always right!” It was just too good an opportunity to pass by. We have spent years trying to get him to accept that there is an alternative view to his own to no avail unfortunately but we remain ever hopeful. Love the Tesco baguette story – it reminded me of a similar chat with my husband this weekend which turned into the most ridiculous argument about the pros and cons of various bread. Ridiculous really. Hey ho. #TweensTeensBeyond


  30. Ah, I am so there with my 11.5 going on 15 year old, so this made me smile, and I am glad it’s not just me at this stage!!
    #tweensteensbeyond sorry for this comment being late. I have been ill!

    Liked by 1 person

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