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Home » Advice and Tips, Toddler

How not to talk in front of your child

Submitted by on Thursday, 18 September 20083 Comments
Fear not the power of the drill

Fear not the power of the drill

I recently made a big mistake.  I am telling you about it in hopes that you won’t make the same one.

The other day, my father-in-law was getting ready to do some drilling for us… nothing major, just making a few holes in a cabinet.  He was preparing Smarty Pants to help him out.  Smarty Pants was excited and ready to go.  When I came in the room and saw this, I said to my father-in-law, “He might get scared, he is scared of the loud noise drills make.”  I said this because in the past, when I have drilled, he has run out of the room crying.  I was trying to avoid a repeat of that.

I realised, after I said this to my father-in-law, that I was reinforcing his fear.  As soon as I made this comment, my boy got scared, but before I said it, he wasn’t scared.  I reminded him of this fear, and he wanted to leave the room.  If I hadn’t said anything, he might have stayed and helped with the drilling.  He might have learned that it is not so bad and his fear might have been reduced.  So instead of reducing his fear, I reinforced it and maybe even made it stronger.

The lesson to be learned is that we really have to be careful with what we say in front of our kids.  They pick up on everything we say, and what we say is gospel.  We are their points of reference for the truth, and whether consciously or subconsciously, it gets stored in their brains and stays there.

Think about this the next time you talk about your child with a friend or family member while your child is present.  Try to avoid saying things like “He is so bad sometimes” or “She hates vegetables”  or “He never wants to share” … your child hears these things and takes them as truths.  Try instead to talk about what your child does well, and if you must discuss things that annoy you, try and do it when your child isn’t in the room.

Have you ever caught yourself in a similar situation, and how did your child react?  Join the jam and share your thoughts by leaving a comment!

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  • Pam says:

    I TOTALLY agree with you on this subject! I also think that it is extremely important to NOT compare your children out loud. It is nearly impossible for parents to not compare their kids, for example my oldest started talking at 9 months, and my baby (who is 14 months) still doesn’t talk at all… I can’t help but compare notes on my kids, but it is so VERY important for me to keep those comparisons away from their fragile ears. My parents made the mistake of comparing my good grades to those of some of my siblings, and not only did it cause bad feelings and anger with my siblings, it made me embarrassed and ashamed of my GOOD GRADES! Sorry- I guess this is a bit off subject. Thanks for the awesome post!

  • Head Jammer says:

    Thanks for the comment Pam, good point about the comparisons of the kids… it is hard not to, but is totally something that should only be done when the kids are not present. I also hear ya about the grades, that’s really frustrating!

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