Be careful how you speak in front of them

Posted by Samantha on January 3, 2011 in Character, Feelings, Respect, Thought for the day |

… every word spoken within the hearing of little children tends toward the formation of character. Let parents bear this ever in mind.

Hosea Ballou, US clergyman and writer (1771 – 1852)

Every word they hear adds - or detracts - from their character

I used to like telling stories of bath-time battles and school-run woes.  I liked hearing them too.  It helped me to feel normal.  I enjoyed discovering that I wasn’t the only mother who’d had a difficult morning or that my kids weren’t the only ones who took 15 minutes to put their coats on.

But then I got concerned about the effects of all this talk – much of it negative – on ME as well as on my children.

I began to realise that what I was actually doing was moaning – no matter how “funny” I made it.  And I began to be very concerned about the labeling aspects of this kind of chat too.  Every time a parent refers to their daughter as “a little madam” or “a real pink princess” they are helping to make it happen.

So I made a commitment to stop talking about my children this way – whether they were present or not!

I don’t manage that all the time.

Like every parent, I still need an outlet for all the emotions that tend to come up when you’re raising small people.

But I can choose healthy outlets for my emotions.  I can journal.  I can write “no-send” letters or emails.

I started to call a friend whose parenting style I admired when I had a problem.  She usually helped me to see that I was over-reacting and encouraged me to just LOVE my kids.

I started to put ME in Time Out instead of the children!

Today I like to remember that everything – every little thing that they hear – helps form my children’s character.

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