So, what about all those other times during an average day when you aren’t feeling like you need a time out. It has just been a long day or the morning after a long night, you have just started your period or are just plain irritable. That said, it is nothing your kids or anyone else did it’s just one of those days where you have to pin on a smile and “fake it until you make it”… through the day that is. We all have those days and those are the days in which we have to be very careful of what comes out of our mouths because without meaning to or even realizing it, we could be saying some really damaging things to our children and we need to be aware of those things because they are the things that even the best of parents say. These can be especially detrimental for our kids because they are things that are not particularly said out of anger and be acknowledged with an apology. These are things that we can say that can be said often and definitely send the wrong message.
1. “You shouldn’t feel that way”. Sometimes as parents we may feel a little uncomfortable with our kids distress and instead of making them feel better, we are trying to make ourselves feel better by minimizing our child’s pain. Afterall, what is more heart breaking to a mother than to see their child uspset? By doing this, we may feel like we are helping our child calm down but All parents love and want what is best for our kids. There is no doubt about that. Even when we are at the end of our “patience pole” and we are one more whine or “Whatever Mom!” away from sticking our heads in the oven I think it is fair to say that even than, we would never want to say or do anything that would hurt our child’s self esteem or cause any kind of real damage, right? I know I have had many moments when I had to literally walk out of the room or even the house for a moment because I literally feel like I am going to throw my kids, or myself out the window. what we are really doing is inducing guilt and invalidating our child’s feelings.
2. “You are exaggerating!” This is a common one, especially since children do sometimes have a tendency to exaggerate at times. But not always, so as parents it is our job to find out a little more about the situation before making that claim becauae when we are so quick to tell our child that they are exaggerating, essentially without meaning to we are telling our children that they are misinterpreting reality. As a result, children learn to distrust their own perceptions and as a result instead of teaching our kids how to regulate their emotions, we are encouraging the opposite. How to suppress emotions.
3. “You are just like your brother (father, sister, uncle, etc… ) In general, when we use the comparisons to another family member or family friend, they are not meant to be flattering. This sends a loud and negative message that invalidatessssss their very identities. In effect, this inhibits their growth and their capacity to believe in their own identities.
4. “I wish you were more like your brother (father, sister,etc uncle… ) To the other extreme, this sends in my opinion an even unhealthier message, that you’re not good enough because so and so is better than you. A child hearing that from their parent, the person that is supposed to love you unconditionally, sounds more like “If I were more like (that person) Mom would love me more. She loves them more than me.” It is easy to show how this would be damaging to the self esteem of a child. I mean, it would hurt my feelings to believe something like that about the way my parents had felt about me when they were still alive.
5. “Grow Up!” Kids are kids and they can be annoying sometimes. There is no other way to put it. But, that is just the way kids are. I mean really, how creepy would it be to see a seven year old child that was always behaving themselves? Shoot, show me a 17 year old kid that is always playing by the rules and under their best behaviour? How about 27 even? Come on. I know this one I use a lot. I caught me telling my three year old daughter the other day to “Act your age” at the grocery store the other day. I remember shortly after saying that t oher, I actually giggled to myself and apologized to her something like, “Awe… sorry Lee. You were acting your age. Your 3!” It probably would have been a better plan to wait until we left the store before saying that because it was pretty much giving her permission to “Act her age” and in my mind, “Terrible Two’s is an exageration. “Trying twos” more like it but by three it’s the “Terrible Talking Terrorist Tots” phase( Of course, I love every second). She did it in true Kylee form.
Basically kids are kids and that’s absolutely okay. Let them be kids. We don’t want our kids to feel like they have to feel guilty about just being kids, do we? Of course not.
5. “Tell me something good that has happened?
Again, one of the most heartbreaking things to see when you are a parent is your child feeling distresss in anyway. So in a loving and caring attempt to make your child feel better by redirecting their feelings, Instead of focusing on the negative thing that has made them upset presently, you are just redirecting their feelings by thinking of a happier more positive memory. Again, learning how to properly regulate our feelings is a skill that is important for each one of us to be taught and learned ourseslves through our life experiences. Teaching a child to redirect their feelings rather than regulate them, when really all parents are trying to do is what everything in our minds and bodies are tellling us to do and protect our children.
6, “You are being selfish”
Like annoying, all kids are a little selfish. I can actually remember being a young child, pre-school age, and not understanding that the universe did not spin around mt wants and needs. Kids have yet to develop the ability to appreciate the needs, wants, opinions and ideas of other people yet. I am sure we all know at least one or two adults that have yet to develop that skill yet or how to balance these with their own needs. Unfortunately, just telling them “You are selfish”, and leaving it there just isn’t enough for a child to understand why it is they are being selfish. This, like many things, is something that you need to talk about it more detail for them to understand what they are doing, why it is selfish and most importantly why it is important in life to not be selfish. The way you have this conversation would definitely depend on their age and what you feel they have the capacity to understand.
7. “You are way too young to do something like that. You could get (___________)! Ask me before you do anything!!Again, this is another tough one for m`. I get butterflies in my tummy when I take one of my kids to the amusement park. When he was four he was tall for his age so he was let on all the scary rides. Ones I would never ride!! It was torture watching him. I remember saying something to the above effect before every single ride because eben though I knew they were safe, the thought of my first born baby falling out of that roller coaster or something terrrible like that was more than enough to scare me out of letting him ride anything but the ‘Twirling Teacups’… at first, But looking at him longingly watching the other kids having the time of their lives on rides that his mom was too scared to let him ride was just more than I could take. It probably would have been easier if he had been a little opposional and put up a fight but of course this time he decided was the time he wasn’t going to give me a hard time and just sadly said, “Okay Mom. Maybe next year?” Ugh! Just working that guilt and he probably knew because I gave in in a matter of a couple minutes in a big way. I bought him one of those bracelets that would allow him on any ride he wished for hhfour hours, I believe it was, and he used up every second. As Mom’s we all just want to keep our child safe and their is obviously nothing wrong with that. It is our natural way. But watching my than four year old and only child sadly look at all the other kids having the time of their lives on these, in all reality very safe rides, and the only reason he couldn’t join them 1asn’t because he was frightened, but because I was scared just didn’t seem right, and it wasn’t. It was selfish of me. And seriously… again, can you remember ever hearing about an incident when a child was actually killed or even injured because of a ride at an amusement park? Chances are you haven’t. I remember one time about s ago hearing about one girl that was fourteen or so at the time being hurt because her and some friends were at the front of the line for one ride and I guess they were goofing around and somehow the girl was pushed or something and was hit by one of the rides and I can’t remember the exact details but she broke her arm, I believe. It was a minor injury that she recovered from, received a generous setlement from the company that owned the amusement park and at the was probably better off in the long run with the settlement and all, I was a kid when this happened so it was at least 25 years ago and I remember it well because someone being actually hurt because of one of those rides was so rare that it was on a morning show called Canada AM which is shown nationally. It really was a big deal at the time.
Looking at most of these examples of things hat even the best of parents sometimes say all g. come down to one thing. Kids will be kids and as parents we have to allow them to be. I can remember my Dad used to say to me, “Gee, Kelty. What is your hurry to grow up? Take your time because believe me when I tell you, you will be old sooner than you think and when you are old, you are old a very long time.” It really wasn’t that long before I understood what he meant by that and now I find myself often saying the very same thing to my kids. However, on the other side of it all, there are several things on the list that I also find myself saying to my kids and like most parents who say some of these things, I love my children more than life itself and I am in no way trying to say anything that would hurt them in any way.