Google+ Authentic Parenting: How Do We Speak To Our Children (rerun)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How Do We Speak To Our Children (rerun)

Language seems to make up a lot of parenting. Words really do have meaning when we talk to our children and can leave lasting impressions. Especially the ones we choose when we are angry or try to discipline them. It seems only logical to consider the way we speak to our children and the words we use when we do.

As we spent a fortnight in Turkey, I got to witness other people's parenting in actions, and overheard a lot of parent-child talk.

I must say that French parenting conversations are really mindblowing. The things francophone parents say to their children have yet to find a translation in English.
Here are some of the things I have overheard:
"If you put your hands down, I swear I will push your head under and not let you up again." By a mother tryng to teach her child to swim.
Other things I frequently heard was parents calling their kids "vilain", "mechant", "con" (nasty, bad and stupid, but the way I feel it, in French it is much worse).
Another great episode of parenting was when a father saw his daughter playbiting another kid, he dragged her through the little pool by the hair, screaming at her: "Oh, you're biting? Maybe I should bite you then, how would you like that?"
Other things said to kids were phrases like "Tu m'enerves, tu me fais chier..." (You're getting on my nerves, you are pissing me off - again, it sounds so much more harsh in French).


As a little side note: I don't speak Turkish or Russian, so I don't know what these parents say to their children. And seemingly Flemish parents aren't that much better, if I can base my assupmtions on the way my friend treats his daughter (You're annoying me/ If you keep whining about how your hand hurts, I'll cut it off...).

Is that the way mainstream parents speak to their children? Seriously? And everyone is ok with that? And still we want to harrass women for breastfeeding in public, but we stay quiet when shit like this happens.
And people still wonder why people do turn out obnoxious and nasty? People wonder why children 'talk back'? We just can't figure out why people don't allow each other the light of day...



Image: Bhumi Finding Herself on Flickr


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7 comments:

  1. I've heard worse than that in my local Walmart. I was at the pool early last summer, and there was a three year old confined in a stroller on the side of the pool, yelling at his mother, down on the other side of the pool having a good time, that he wanted to play in the pool. She yells back to him to shut the hell up. The poor child cried the whole time I was there, I left eventually because I couldn't take it anymore. I made some comments before I left, but it fell on deaf ears.

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  2. that really bugs me. :( I've heard some American parents that aren't much better. My own BROTHER in particular. He's always advising me that 'tough love' works best... yeah right...

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  3. I'm with Brenda - I've heard worse than that. But also, having lived in France, I have to say that my experience with Francophone parents was completely different. I suppose that in any culture or language, it all depends on who you know. The French parents that I know remain, to this day, the most compassionate and gentle I know in terms of language, discipline, and interactions with their children.

    Honestly, health decisions bother me more than ignorant language. I know a woman who blends up fast food to feed to her baby if that's what she and her husband are having for dinner - and apparently, that's what they have five or six nights a week. I'd rather hear a kid berated and belittled for playbiting, something they can ultimately rise above as adults, than see a kid force fed Big Macs. You don't get a second chance with your body's physical functions.

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  4. I disagree with Sarah about the health decisions being worse than harsh words. Verbal abuse is a form of emotional abuse, and it often has a lifelong impact and most certainly leaves psychological scars, which are much harder to heal from than anything physical.

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  5. Con doesn't literally mean "stupid", though it is usually used in that context. It means "cunt".

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  6. Wow, that sounds horrible. I can't imagine saying that to a child - it's unfair on so many levels. I know stress, worry, and lack of sleep as a parent can make you feel like you're burning the candle at both ends, but those words infuriate me. I think having a few moments of absolute silence when you’re that angry is far better.

    Another thing that annoys me is when a parent hears their child is being bullied and they get upset saying things like “Why don’t you stand up for yourself? I taught you better than that!” But if you don’t respect your child, how will they learn they deserve respect from others?

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  7. Wow, that sounds horrible. I can't imagine saying that to a child - it's unfair on so many levels. I know stress, worry, and lack of sleep as a parent can make you feel like you're burning the candle at both ends (another reason parents need strong supportive communities!), but those words infuriate me. I think having a few moments of absolute silence when you’re that angry is far better.

    Another thing that annoys me is when a parent hears their child is being bullied and they get upset saying things like “Why don’t you stand up for yourself? I taught you better than that!” But if you don’t respect your child, how will they learn they deserve respect from others?

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