Do You Fight Dirty with Your Kids?
OK, fighting is a harsh way to say it. Discipline. Boundaries. Rules. When your child breaks them, and you’ve got not one nerve left to handle it calmly, what verbal weapons fly out of your mouth?
My mother’s go to arsenal was a mass of starving children in Africa and “just wait till your father comes home!” So, in my little brain I was surrounded by hungry eyes or I was quaking in fear till 6pm when Dad came home.
The thing is - and often we don’t realize this until we become parents ourselves - parents need a break. Only we don’t get one. So, mom, I’m just apologizing again for…well…everything, OK!
But back to our word daggers. What are your verbal weapons, because c’mon, we all have them. Weapons that prick and poke out through our language. Ways in which we jab our children into listening to us.
Think about your children imitating you in 12 years; what they will say while they roll their eyes or worse when they are imitating you: there are your weapons. What nonsense do you spew when you reach for your verbal daggers? Ouch.
Often we invoke sarcasm, like “Thanks for dumping the blocks out after I just picked everything up in here.” What we really mean is no thanks.
Or the rhetorical question that effectively shames, “Why did you color on the couch?” If you say it as if ‘stupid’ could be attached to the end of it, then it’s a weapon.
Sometimes, things fly out of our mouths only to sting our children when in reality, we don’t want to sting them, we just want them to cooperate! Or listen!
I’ve been listening to myself and I’ve hear a lot of “I need this” and “I need that” and “I need you to…” Apparently I’ve got a lot of needs that aren’t being met. Interesting.
To be clear, I’m not talking here about verbal abuse or any broad sense of using words to attack. Nothing like that. I’m just putting forth the idea that our words call tell us what’s in our hearts and minds. They are a window into our souls as much (if not more) than our eyes.
And one more thing about weapons. Those starving children in Africa didn’t make a nightly appearance. No. Weapons usually don’t. They are kept in their arsenals until diplomacy no longer works. Same goes for your verbal weapons. So channel your inner diplomat while you can still talk. Are you the ambassador to crazy town or do you represent the interests of a benevolent dictator? Or both?!?
photo credit: ~Brenda-Starr~