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and say what you really mean.

Overheard at the park today:

Mother, speaking to her 5-6 year old boy: Children don't have the right to say "no."

Really?  They don't have the right?  Because they are children?

Do you really mean that?  No, I don't think you do. I think you mean, "I am the parent, my say goes, and I say it is time to leave, so come on."  I *think* that is what you meant. Still some things wrong with that, but nothing close to what actually came out of your mouth.

Instead, what you risk instilling in your child is:

You are a child, so you don't have the right to say no if someone is hurting you.
You are a child, so you don't have the right to say no if someone is abusing you.
You are a child, so you don't get to have opinions/choices.
You are a child, so your opinions don't matter to me/don't matter as much as mine.
You are a child, so you can never have a better idea than I, the adult.

And the list goes on.

I know I don't say the "right" thing every time--far from it--but hearing that mom speaking to her child really brought home the importance of weighing my words and being mindful of what I'm leaving unsaid before I speak. 

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
asakiyume
Feb. 2nd, 2013 07:09 pm (UTC)
Out of curiosity, what language was the mother speaking?
mnfaure
Feb. 2nd, 2013 08:03 pm (UTC)
:P I almost specified which language. She was speaking in French. So, her exact phrase was: Les enfants n'ont pas le droit de dire non.
asakiyume
Feb. 2nd, 2013 08:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

I figured that was the most logical answer.

judo100
Feb. 2nd, 2013 07:37 pm (UTC)
That's so sad. And it certainly does send the message that the child cannot say "no" even when being abused.

When my son was small, I tried to give him a couple of "acceptable" choices (i.e. acceptable to ME) rather than simply telling him, "Here's how it is, like it or not!" Of course sometimes I had to act quickly and couldn't line up choices. But most of the time it worked well. He felt "in charge" and we still got what we needed to done. (Works pretty well on adults, too.)
mnfaure
Feb. 2nd, 2013 08:11 pm (UTC)
I heartily agree that acceptable choices are a much better bet. And yeah, sometimes we adults don't always have the time to give a choice. That is okay. It is just important, I think, to give a choice when we can instead of saying something has to be a certain way when the certain way serves no purpose other than "because," "it's the way it is," "this is what I remember being done to me as a child," etc.
queenoftheskies
Feb. 2nd, 2013 08:25 pm (UTC)
There are many times a parent really needs to consider the way they phrase what they tell their child.
mnfaure
Feb. 3rd, 2013 07:40 pm (UTC)
nods

And I know it isn't easy to do all the time. Not easy at all. :P
frigg
Feb. 2nd, 2013 10:40 pm (UTC)
My guess is she meant "because I say so" - which is slightly better, but boy did I hate that sentence when I was a kid. I wanted a REAL reason.

At least I hope that's what she meant.

And you definitely don't have to worry. Soelie does not strike me as a child who doesn't know how to say no - or speak up if something is wrong.
mnfaure
Feb. 3rd, 2013 07:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm pretty sure that is what she meant, too. As you say, it is a hated sentence when you are young--or any time you feel you are not being treated as an equal.

S strikes you right, I see. /:)
sunflower_sky
Feb. 4th, 2013 01:46 pm (UTC)
Ugh. As a self-defense instructor who specializes in kids' personal safety, I find that line deeply disturbing.

~D
mnfaure
Feb. 4th, 2013 08:02 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it gave me the creeps right away. I know my list up there might seem melodramatic, but a lot of drama has its roots in small moments, unnoticed mistakes...
sunflower_sky
Feb. 5th, 2013 07:14 am (UTC)
It's not melodramatic at all. I'm not a perfect parent and I definitely say things sometimes in the heat of the moment that I regret, but I would never, ever say what that mom said. And even if somehow it came out like that, I would quickly correct myself. I hope that the line came from her own lack of awareness of its impact on her child, and not as a purposeful attempt to make the child feel powerless.

~D
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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