I was standing speaking to a lady as her children were standing behind her. The children became a little noisy (I thought perfectly acceptable since the mom and I had been yapping for sometime), but the mom turned to her children and said in a very frustrated tone, “Why are you all so rude? Can I not have one conversation without my children acting like wild animals?” Her children just looked down, obviously humiliated, and then she turned to finish the conversation with me. She then said to me, “My children sometimes have manners but you would never know it today. They embarrass me quite often.” I told her I was impressed that her children stood quietly as long as they did and quickly told her I must hurry off. We then went our separate ways. Now before you say, “What’s the big deal?” let me plead my case. It is never, never, never OK to embarrass or humiliate our children, especially in front of others. I know we’ve spoken about not correcting our children in front of others, but that also means we never speak anything but praises about our children to others when our children are present.
This world we and our children live in today is not always the nicest place with the nicest people. I know that our children are faced almost every day with ugliness, rudeness, teasing, bullying, and many more unpleasant things. It is our obligation and pleasure to everyday think of how we can “build up” our children. One way we do this is always speaking kindly of them to others. Now I don’t mean that you’re going to go around “bragging all day” about all your child’s accomplishments but YES, let your children hear you praise them. NEVER tell others when your children our present of how you are disappointed or frustrated with them. These conversations should be private between you and your children in the spirit of correction with love. Remember, it’s OK to correct, but it must be done in private.
I’ve heard moms say in front of their children things like:
“Oh, he’s not my smartest child.” or
“I do wish she didn’t have her grandmother’s nose.” or
“He’s not very athletic but we’re hoping he excels in music.” or
“She can be very manipulative, but we’re really watching her these days.”
Please stop!!!! Please don’t ever speak unkindly or announce your children’s faults in the presence of your children. Children want others to believe that they are perfect in the eyes of their parents. They know they’re not really perfect and they know that you know they’re not, but it is a betrayal if a parent announces these hurtful comments in front of their children.
We have to guard our children’s hearts as if they are the most special, the most fragile, and the most lovely thing about our children. Please be so careful with your words. I am guilty of this blunder myself as I’m sure we all are. Let’s just be more careful and strive to find and announce all our children’s strengths, so that they know we love them and that we are so proud of them. This gives them the confidence they need to face the world. As we strive to build them up, they will strive to continue to please us. It’s the true nature of parent/children relationships.
Have a great month!
a.k.a. Mary Manners