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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. 


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...
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.



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