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How has your summer been going? Good? I hope so. If you are a parent of a school age child then I'm sure your summer has been just as hectic and draining as mine has. Even on days when we aren't going out of the house - it's hectic. My kids mean well I guess, but sometimes they just don't know any better.
"I'm sorry, correct me if I'm wrong but is that banana on your ceiling?!?"
Yep. That really happened....
So I was rightfully upset right? I should have let that vein that pronounces itself whenever I get mad just do its thing correct? Give them my classic face melting stare that I inherited from my Dear Ol' Dad?
foto courtesy gisellehudson.com
Things are different these days. We need to speak to our kids kinder so as not to crush their little spirits. They are like little people with their own thoughts and daily pressures just like you and me. "Which wall shall I color with my crayon today? What color should it be? How big should I draw my masterpiece? Should I go to the bathroom at home on the toilet or in my pants while mom is at the checkout line in the supermarket?" So yes, these young'uns have alot on their minds.
I read this great article on CNN.com titled 9 Things You Shouldn't Say to Your Child by Paula Spencer and whoa and behold she had some great tips on what not to say and what to say to your kid during tense situations. Here is the gist of it.
1) 'Leave me alone!' - For me this happens right around 4:30 when the kids are up from their naps, underfoot and I'm in the trenches of cooking dinner and all touched out (you know what I'm saying? Like I cant take anymore physical contact because they have either been tapping me all day long or asking to be held). I might not say it like that, but I might think it. Dr. Suzette Haden Elgin said that when you constantly say 'don't bother me!' to your kids then they internalize that and take it as "Mom/Dad don't want me around so why bother anymore?" and then as they grow you don't see them as much and as teenagers they don't come to you with anything - good or bad. Makes sense right?
2) 'You're so...' - Mean, Lazy, Dumb, Slow, Clumsy, etc. Kids are very perceptive. Plus they aren't born knowing who they are so they look to us to find that out. If we are constantly labeling them something, then they are going to attach themselves to that and make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. So when when you say "She/He's my shy one." you aren't doing them any favors because then they will think "Well mom says I am so I must be."
3) 'Don't cry.' - Guilty...I grew up with all brothers and all their male friends so I have become a mom that is of the 'toughen up, tis but a flesh wound' variety. But not completely. I do it more with my son to be honest. I know this isn't a good thing and I am seeking support for it. Well she says we shouldn't say this because it minimizes their emotions and makes them feel like their feelings aren't valid. Instead we can say "Honey I know you got scared just now. That was scary huh? Sometimes I get scared too, so why don't we sit here together for a little bit until you feel better. I'll hold your hand until you're ready." Great spin right? ;o)
4) 'Why can't you be more like your...?' - Brother, sister, annoyingly perfect cousin....enter whoever comes to mind. I have seen first-hand what this can do to a child. I knew two brothers very close in age that their parents told them that all the time and down to this day they don't get along. I am positive that that is the reason why. They were always basically pitted against each other, trying to outdo each other all the time. So it's not a good thing to do, it will backfire, and no one wins in the end. Just say no. Comparisons must go!
foto courtesy journal of a mom blog
5) 'You know better than that!' - Don't waste your breath. Because they don't. I read somewhere (not this article) that it takes around 3 seconds for our words to register in a childs brain. I tested it out on my daughter and watched her for 3 seconds and I actually saw when the words hit that part of her brain that must process obedience. It was freaky weird but cool all at the same time! So yeah, don't be surprised if they do the exact opposite of what you want.
6) 'Stop or I'll give you something to cry about.' - Oh come on, she's taking away all my good ones! Haha! Her reasoning is that if you overuse empty threats or never follow through, then they lose their effect and the kids just look at you like "Go ahead, make my day." All because they know you won't do anything and you're all talk with no walk.
7) 'Wait till Daddy gets home!' - Firsthand, my mother used this so much when I was growing up. I think that's why I still have a healthy fear of my father down to this day. I know it kills him that he can't tell me what to do when he visits me in my house. Haha! <--- (one day I am going to have to post a sound bite of how I say my Haha!'s - it's classic....lol....sigh....) But if you constantly put the discipline on the father then that takes away any effectiveness you might have during the day while he is away. Also, the dread you put in the kid for the day is probably punishment enough.
8) 'Hurry up' - Now I'm kind of at a loss as to why this one is really bad. Can any of you show me the light? I really feel like kids have to learn how to hustle sometime.
9) 'Good job!' or 'Good girl/boy!' - A recent study said that American kids are behind in many subjects like Math and Science vs. the rest of the world. But our kids do excel in one arena - self-esteem! You can dew it! So here's the catch...when you praise your kids for something that they normally would do or should do like closing the door behind them, drinking all their juice - then you minimize being good. Everything is good to them then. Nothing is extraordinary. They will think "Yeah, you say that to all the girls and all the guys don't ya?" To avoid that, Paula has some really helpful tips for this last one. So go and click on over to her article and chime in.
Which one of the 9 are you guilty of doing? Do you agree with all 9 things? Am I a horrible mother for saying "Hurry it up and hot step it kiddo!"?
Song of the Week: Feel like dancin'? Well this will surely get you to that groovy place.
"Ain't Nothing Wrong With That" by Robert Randolph & The Family Band. Heard it on So You Think You Can Dance and I can't get enough of it now.