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Reckless Words

May 22, 2009

It really bothers me when I hear people being so reckless with their words when speaking to their children. Interestingly enough, it is usually someone who complains about how reckless their own parents were (or still are) with their words and how much it hurts them. My sister-in-law is one of these people. She complains all the time about her father and how tactless and thoughtless he is most of the time in choosing his words, but then she will turn around and scream at her children for accidently dropping their popcicle on the floor (or something else just as lame).

The other day she decided at the last minute that she wanted to take a picture of her son for his “acting class” (which thankfully they finally dropped since he HATED going). They were running late, so now they were going to be even later. My nephew is six and told his mom that he wanted to fix his hair. Now, I realize that there are times when a six year old will say this in order to stall or get out of taking a picture, but we, as parents, must also realize that having perfect hair in a picture that you are told is very important is a big deal for a six year old. All she had to do was say, “Go, quick, and fix it so I can take a picture.” But, alas, that would have required some general thought in her word selection and thinking about someone else other than herself. Instead she screams at him to grow up and smile for the Damn Picture. He pouts, she screams more, he throws himself ont he floor, she screams some more, he starts to cry, she screams some more. Finally my brother comes into the scene and asks what is going on, that they are late. She blames my nephew for making them late and says she is trying to take his picture. My brother frustratingly tells his wife that perhaps she chose the wrong time to do that and walks outside to get the other two in the car. She ignores her husband, yells at my nephew to smile, which he finally does, and snaps the pictures.

The pictures turn out terrible because he has red, puffy eyes and my nephew is now very upset. He goes into the bathroom to check his hair and when he comes out my sister-in-law seizes and opportunity to give him a lecture. “You think the world revolves around you, well let me tell you buddy, it doesn’t. And it’s going to be a bad day when you finally realize that.”

I wanted to scream, “Shut-up, already!” Seriously, what did she think she was accomplishing? Her six year old has no idea what she is talking about, first of all, and second of all she is bringing up a touchy topic once again when she should just let it go.

All her six year old heard was, “You annoy me, I’m the mom so I get to scream at you and constantly remind you that you are bad. You are good enough, never will be…etc.”

Believe me, that is what he heard. That is what I used to hear every time my stepfather did exactly the same thing.

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