There is no shortage of “How To” parenting articles. The world’s foremost experts spend all of their time researching what happens to kids when they grow up under the care of less-than-perfect parents. They give seething advice on the topic. Their words sting most of the time, because none of us are perfect. None of us do it right EVERYDAY. Here’s an article I found about 9 things you shouldn’t say to your children. Read it if you want. But it’s very depressing. Just read this instead, so that I can make you feel better.
No. 1: “Leave me alone!” Yeah. I said it. And I meant it. I am not at your beck and call. I am not here to cater to your every whim. I’m your mother. But I’m also a human being, with my own needs. So bug off, kid. Scram. Mama needs to finish watching this episode of Real Housewives real quick. We’ll talk about your friend Evan’s new haircut in twenty. Got it?
No. 2: “You’re so…” Yeah. I said it. Granted, I didn’t say what the article warns about. I didn’t say “You’re so worthless.” Outloud. To the kid. I said, “You’re so lazy.” And I meant it. I meant that when I say “Hey, go take out the garbage please.” I meant ALL of the garbage. Not half of it. And not halfway TO the garbage cans. I meant take all of the garbage ALL THE WAY to the garbage cans. I’ve also been guilty of saying, “You’re so cute.” I meant that part too.
No. 3: “Don’t cry.” Wha?! Why the hell should I tell my kid NOT to cry? I mean, I’m not a monster. If she bashes her toe into the wall on accident, I’m not going to ask her to suck it up. On the other hand, if she asks me for a 16th brownie, and I deny her request, I’d better not see an ounce of saline fall out of her face. Better. Not. And she knows this. So why not reinforce this knowledge just after her face scrunches up? That’s my job. I’m her mother.
No. 4: “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” Seriously. I don’t even have this problem. My children are pretty much flawed in their right equally. On the other hand, their strengths and weakneses do seem to compliment one another, which is a definite PLUS to having four kids. You people with only one are pretty much screwed. One of my kids really sucks at spelling. Another is really good at spelling. It’s not necessary for me to call the first out and say demeaning things to him about his lack of spelling prowess as compared to the other. When he asks me how to spell, for example, “WHITE”, I just say, “Go ask B.” Little B spells the word for his brother. If having your 6 year old brother spell a word that you, a Junior in high school can’t spell, isn’t a motivator to do better, then I don’t think insults will do much good either. [True story, by the way.]
No. 5: “You know better than that!” The article says that maybe the child DIDN’T know better. I think that it’s much more damaging to assume that your kid is stupid than to assume that he’s made a mistake that he should have known better than to do. For example, Little A should have known better than pour a LARGE glass of milk, and then dance around in the living room while holding said glass. The result should have been obvious. She is familiar with gravity. She knows that without the protection of the glass, the milk would be on the floor. She knows that jumping up and down will remove a large portion of the milk from the protection of the glass, and thereby will end up on the floor. She’s not stupid. She knew better. Period. And yes, I said it.
No. 6: “Stop or I’ll give you something to cry about!” Please see No. 3. I don’t think that many people use this as a threat to stop doing something other than crying for no reason. Because yeah, that’d be bullying. I prefer, “A, do you really WANT me to spank you?” That’s how that goes down.
No. 7: “Wait till daddy gets home!” Yeah, I said it. And I’m certainly aware that it’s not the best parenting and/or discipline strategy. This sentence is born out of sheer desperation. On days when I’ve been pushed to the brink. When–even though my eyes have already physically come out of my head and the vein in my neck has bulged to the point of near explosion no less than 5 times–and yet, I’m still being blatantly ignored. As a rule of thumb, I try not to say this unless their daddy is actually on his way home. But as another rule of thumb, rules of thumb don’t really go very far in my house.
No. 8: “Hurry up!” Nomygoodness. You can’t be serious parenting.com. I mean, come ON. When it’s 7:55 a.m., and I still have drop the ankle biters off at school and drive 10 minutes to work and I’m supposed to be there at 8 a.m., I think it’s okay to stress to my children who are bickering about what order you are supposed to put your socks on, that it’s actually pretty important that they HURRY THE HELL UP, by saying, “Hurry up!” I can think of no less than 14,000 other examples where it’s okay to say this.
No. 9: “Great job!” or “Good girl!” Okay. Let me break this down for you: In a world where uttering the words “Great job!” is a mark of a bad parent, then let’s be honest people, I’m officially the world’s worst mother.
Get a grip, parenting.com. Fire your writers. That’s crazy talk.