I wish you and your families a Very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanza, or whatever holiday is celebrated in your home.
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Today’s article came about after an interesting radio interview with Gary Doyle on 570 News Radio. Read along and enjoy.
Because I said so, that’s why.
Almost all prospective parents have a list of things they will never say to their children. They will not use the phrases they heard growing up. Then imagine their distress when, one day, when their child is a toddler they hear their parent’s words come out of their mouth. Oh dear.
I was recently a guest on a radio program in Kitchener, Ontario and the host asked me about the phrases we heard as children and were certain we would never use. The first expression we discussed was “Because I said so,”. Our generation was clear, we would explain, negotiate and ensure that our children were absolutely clear on every decision we make. Problem is, a savvy child with time on her hands (and let’s face it, children aren’t at all concerned about our busy schedule) can bring us to a complete standstill while they negotiate, question and argue every decision we make.
What parent has not faced the barrage of “whys”?
Sometimes, when you’re in a hurry, because I said so, is the correct answer. The trick is to use it sometimes, not every single time.
And then there are the smart aleck kids who catch us when we aren’t perfectly clear on our wishes. Take this story told by a Dad on facebook. (name changed to protect the innocent). Olivia is three years old.
Me to Olivia, “If I let you out of the car will you stay close and listen to me?”
Olivia, “I will stay close and listen.”
I take Olivia out of the car and get her coat ready to put on her.
She crosses her arms to prevent me.
“Olivia, I thought you were going to listen to me”
I am listening, I just don’t want to wear my coat.”
Another all time classic is, “Wait until your father gets home.” I believe this is not being used by today’s parents. Parents I speak with are working together to raise their kids. But for those who are still using this expression, my advice would be to resist. In the first place, discipline is best handled at the time of the problem. Young kids don’t even remember what happened three or five hours ago. Turning one parent into the enemy does nothing to foster positive parent/child relationships. Do you want to be remembered as the bad guy?
And a final expression we have hopefully dropped is, “Come and give Aunt Hilda (or Uncle Harold) a kiss.” We are teaching children that they have control over their bodies, they can say no to unwanted touching. And the relatives need to respect that. I suggest to parents that they teach their kids to shake hands. There is nothing like a child (or adult for that matter) confidently reaching out a hand ready for a shake to stop an unwanted kiss.
On the other hand, many of us have great examples from our childhoods of conversations and expressions from our parents that inspired us, encouraged us and taught us. To turn to another old expression, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Keep what is wonderful from your childhood. Honour your parents and the job they did raising you.
And oh yes, do you want to know the genesis of the expression, “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,”?
Well in the days of weekly baths in a tub the baby was often the last to use the water. So, the expression alludes to the fact that before you dump the, now dirty, water out of the tub you ensure that the baby is safely in his crib.
So what expressions do you find yourself using? Have you ever heard your parent’s words, voice and inflection come out of your mouth?