Thursday, June 30, 2011

Parenting Pet Peeve

Kids are people too. Even when they're really little people. Some are shy. Some have language barriers. Some are goofy and flip. But they're all people!

I always tried very hard to resist the temptation to answer for my kids (or on their behalf) while they were standing right there! Even if another adult asked them a question and they just stared blankly. Or mumbled. Jumping in and "talking for them" never helped anyone learn how to speak up or speak for themselves. I always imagined that chiming in, correcting (or embellishing) their stories or cleaning up the grammer or style of their front of others!!....MUST communicate to them that I don't consider them capable of expressing themselves. OR, that somehow I'm using them to impress others. Parenting, is, after all....NOT about us (the parents and how well we are or aren't doing our jobs) but it's about the kids. And they're people too! And will speak for themselves when given the chance.

I also stopped telling pee, poo, food, sleeping, sickness, behavior, and embarrassing narratives about my kids while they were anywhere within hearing distance at a very young age. Way under one year. THEY KNOW YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THEM!! And they're people too! I tried to ask myself...would I want someone to be telling everyone in the room "this" about me? If was time to button up. With silly, fun, happy stories...or tales of accomplishments...I tried to remember to ask them if it was ok to share the story before I did.
We all need parent support - friends with whom we can share our parenting challenges. But let's talk when our kids aren't around to hear us discussing them (goes for moms and dads too!!) I'm sure I failed to stick to this ideal at times...but this was a goal I had...and listening to parents talk for or about their kids right in front of them...well, that's truly a pet peeve of mine!

"Careful the things you say
Children will listen
Careful the things you do
Children will see and learn
Children may not obey, but children will listen
Children will look to you for which way to turn
To learn what to be
Careful before you say 'Listen to me'
Children will listen"

Stephen Sondheim


  1. This bothers me too, but almost because it seems like the parents think their children are too dumb to answer. I feel so bad for those children sometimes.

  2. Great Post. It is hard not to answer for your kid but when you get it right and don't answer, I find the one asking with 'give them the answer'. It drives me nuts. I have to say, They will answer. Great Post.

  3. This is a great reminder for me, Adrienne, because my nine year old son is so easily embarrassed lately. I don't tell pee and poop stories, but I see that he really doesn't want me telling any stories, which is a little sad for me because I love sharing with others the cute things he says. Oh well, I guess I'll just stick to sharing it on Facebook.

  4. Fantastic post, and a good reminder for me. I slip up, tell a story, and then realize they know I'm telling a story. Ugh. And most of the time its something cute - a mispronunciation or "kid-ism", but you are right. They know.
    (By the way, found your comment on my Six Words Friday - got trapped in Akismet! Fixed that and it shall never happen again!)

  5. ooohhhh the things we have done wrong by trying to help them, what a great post!!!

    love your pages, you really have a nice, clean style that i love!!!

  6. Adrienne, I completely agree with not talking about your kids when they are within earshot! You have to give respect to get it.