6 Things My Kids ARE ALLOWED To Say To Adults
First Things FirstThe other day, I read a terribly heartbreaking post at http://www.imperfecthomemaker.com/2015/01/kids-speak-to-adults.html titled "6 Things my Kids Are Not Allowed To Say To Adults." I was shocked and saddened, and was inspired to write about 6 things my kids ARE allowed to say to adults.
First, for those of you who don't know me well, I used to be more of an old-school parent. I'd yell, I'd spank, I'd yell some more. It was horrible, but it was all I knew. Then, I discovered positive discipline, and my world changed. It has brought a tremendous amount of peace and respect to our home, and has been the best thing I have done so far. One of the most important things I want to do is teach my kids how to make correct decisions on their own. I have found positive discipline a great way to facilitate this.
Don't Hold Your Kids To A Higher Standard Than You Hold Yourself
I don't set the bar higher for my kids than I set for myself. I find it odd that it has become a standards default for children to have respect all adults. First, do you have respect all adults? I know I sure don't, and I don't expect my kids to either.
Second, you can't force somebody to respect another person. Kindesss? Sure. That's an action. But the feeling of respect? You just can't. My kids naturally respect those they have earned it, just as I do. My boss who was always kind and encouraging? I showed him the utmost respect. A co-worker who would go out of her way to make my day a little bit worse. Zero respect.
And, just to clarify, not respecting people doesn't mean you're a jerk to people, you can and should be kind to people. You just shouldn't pretend to force your kids to "respect all adults"... they're either respecting already or they're not.
6 Things My Kids ARE ALLOWED To Say To Adults
Some see this is the ultimate defiance toward authority — when a child outright says they will not do what they’ve been told to do. I see it as a sign a child my be stressed, confused, or sad, and needs more attention. I'll figure out what the problem was.
Mom: Could you clean your room honey?
Mom: *Gives full attention to child* You seem upset, is everything okay?
Daughter: You said you would play Barbies with me, so I have all my Barbies ready to play.
See? Makes sense. My children are never outright defiant. They have reasons. Figure out their reasons and work with them.
Kids need to learn to talk, to speak up for themselves, to negotiate. This is a great way to teach them this valuable skill. When a boss offers my girl a salary $15,000 below what the job is worth, I want her to feel confident saying "no", and to negotiate for what she feels she deserves.
2. "Just a minute.”
Think “Slow obedience is no obedience.”? Think again. Kids like to have autonomy just like any other person, and thrive when it's to them.
Me: Can you clean up your bedroom?
Son: Just a minute.
It's as simple as that. Maybe he was in the middle of building a Lego castle. There's no sense in stopping him from building and learning so he can perform a chore than can just as easily wait an another 10 minutes. He's happy, becasue he gets to finish his project. I'm happy because he still accomplishes what I had asked.
Opinions on this may vary depending on your geographical location, but where I’m from, "yeah" is definitely a word often used in casual conversation, and my kids are more than welcome to use it when talking to anyone. (Except during taekwondo, where it is a rule to address higher ranks using the formal sir or ma'am. ) To parents that demand to be addressed as "Yes sir", "No sir", "Yes ma'am", "No ma'am", I would ask if you address your kids this way. It's not an us vs them mentality. If it's a way you talk to them, then I don't think it's unreasonable for them to address you with the same greeting.
4. “I don’t want to.”
When my kids are told to do something, it's okay for there to be a discussion. As an adult, there are a lot of things I don't want to do. Is that bad? No, it's just how they feel. Many adults don't want to eat right... or exercise... or stay under the speed limit. Until you do EVERYTHING you should as an adult, don't complain because your kids say they don't want to do something.
5. “I don’t like this.”
This was another baffling one. As an adult, have you ever tried something you didn't like? How would you feel about being forced to eat it for every meal until it was gone, as the author suggests? As parent of 3, I understand that kids can be picky eaters. Rather than forcing them to "clean their plate" (the last thing our obesity-laden country needs to do), I allow my kids to eat as much as they want. If they don't eat much, that is their decision, and they will not be served food until the next meal time.
When an adult speaks to my children, hiding behind mama and refusing to speak is okay. I understand that some children are shy, or slow to warm up to new people, and that's completely okay.
Adult: “Hi Susie. That’s a nice dress you have on!”
Me: “Susie, if you want, you tell Mrs. Jones thank you.”
Me: “Thank you.”
What would you add to this list? Is there anything you would never let your child say to an adult?