Children. Children are vulnerable people. They are easily destroyed by our words and our actions. Often children are not treated with respect and expected to behave in a manner beyond their years. They are punished, yelled at, and torn down. If, as an adult, people were treated the way children are, they would most likely remove the person tearing them down from their lives. Children often don’t have that choice.
Instead of talking to children on their level, we talk down to them. Make them feel like less of a person. If they make a simple mistake, like spilling their glass of milk, we make it out to be the end of the world. But why? Why do we spend so much time making our kids feel like they are not good enough when we should be making them feel they can do anything? Instead of praising them and letting them know that we are proud of them any chance we get, we are making sure they know every mistake they make and every flaw they have.
When you talk to your kids, do you ever think of how your words are impacting them? A simple “Oh you’re okay.” when they feel hurt can just add to the pain. Dismissing the child’s feelings as if they don’t have any. You certainly wouldn’t do that to an adult. Most people don’t mean it that way, but that’s what it says. A better way to say it is “It will be okay, I’m right here.” Validating the child’s feelings and comforting them to help them past this moment in time.
Don’t get angry with them because they are upset for, what seems to you to be, no reason. Adults get upset all the time. Sometimes they don’t even know why, but they aren’t told to “get over it”, “better stop that crying or I’ll give you something to cry about”, Oh’ you’re fine. Quit being a baby.” Those words hurt. Those words sound like the words of bullies. Why are parents being their child’s first bully?
I guess I just don’t understand how a parent can tear down their child so much. And I don’t understand how they can’t see that they are doing it. When your child comes up to you all excited about something, take a moment to listen to them. Be excited with them. Don’t justify it. Just be excited.
You go to the kitchen to find them trying to make you breakfast in bed. The kitchen is a mess with milk spilled on the floor and eggs shells and yolks everywhere. Don’t get mad. Remember, it’s the thought that counts. Join them in cooking and cleaning up. And request that next time, you would love it more if they came to you for help so you can cook together. Very simple and it doesn’t dismiss they had good intentions, they outcome just wasn’t what they had planned anymore than you. But coming in yelling and screaming is just going to make them think doing nice things like that always ends badly.
And this doesn’t stop with the kids. These kids grow up. They become adults. And as adult, many of them can’t shake the idea that they aren’t good enough. They are still trying to please their parents whom, often times, are still tearing them down. But instead of removing this negative person from their life, they feel they can’t. It’s their parent. They have to make them proud. They have to keep trying.
And they surround themselves with negative people. They feel that what these people say about them is true because it’s how their parents make them feel. And their parents do it out of love so this must be what love feels like. It’s a never ending cycle of negativity. Slowly tearing us apart. Making us feel worthless.
My MIL is one of these people. My fiancee is dealing with cancer and deals with things in his own way, alone. Instead of accepting that and being happy that he is keeping her up to date and that the news is good, she makes sure he knows that what he is doing his killing her. He is fighting a cancer diagnosis and mom is guilt tripping him. Something she does everytime he makes a decision she doesn’t like. How do you think this impacts his life? I can tell you. It takes me days, weeks, sometimes months to build him back up. To make him feel worthy again. That’s just not right.
It is possible to move away from this. Many people do. But many others continue to feel trapped. They have no idea how to get away. Every decision they make is wrong in the eyes of their parents. The people who, for so long, were the only people that mattered in their lives. They have literally spent their whole lives trying to please these people just to come out on the bottom, EVERY time.
Words matter. The way you say something. The way you word a sentence. The tone of your voice. Your body language. It is all saying something. But is it saying what you want it to? Or is it telling people they will never be enough for you? That no accomplishment in their life will ever help them win your love? Make you proud of them? Next time you speak to a child, think about your words carefully. It can make a difference.