On Sundays I go to a Parenting class at church. Instead of going to Sunday School. Because I usually havent done the scripture reading assignment for Sunday school. Because Ive been too
lazy busy. Anyway, its a great class where we learn lots of great stuff about how to be better parents. Yesterday’s topic was “Effective Communication in your family.” Oh goodie, i thought. This should be fun. Im a great communicator in my family!
First the teacher went through examples of NEGATIVE communication. And as each example was read out, I grew increasingly uncomfortable and disbelieving. Because not only do i say just about ALL those things, I also couldnt see what the heck was wrong with most of them?! Check out these examples:
Eg 1 : ‘Why on earth did you do that? What’s wrong with you?!‘ Umm, just said it this morning. Child blocks toilet with entire roll of paper. For the zillionth time. Who can decipher the logic behind child’s actions? Not I. Instead must resort to asking the unanswerable question…Why did you do that!
Eg 2: ‘It’s all your fault!’ Hello! It usually is. – Who else drew on the wall. Threw all their clothes on the floor. Left their shoes outside in the rain and ruined them and now thinks Santa Claus is going to fork out for some more. In May. Who didnt bring their PE uniform to be washed and now has nothing clean to wear today? Who didnt finish their homework and now its due and theyre stressing? WELL IT WASNT ME!
Eg 3 : ‘Stop your complaining. When i was your age I had to do this, this and that…‘ Damn straight! These kids have no clue how good they have it.
Eg 4 : ‘You better stop that or you wont be able to sit down for a week!’ Well, I’ve never said that. Because i say, Stop that or I’ll kill you. Figuratively speaking of course.
Eg 5 : ‘You always get upset about the littlest things. You’ve got to toughen up!‘ Do I not say that to the Princess every other day? The child insists on crying at everything. Even if the teacher is telling off some other child, she comes home crying about it.How is she going to handle the teenage jungle years? Isnt it my job as her mum to make sure shes tough enough to handle all the rough stuff in life?
Eg 6 : ‘You drive me crazy!’ Okay, so I’ll admit I was a little unbalanced BEFORE i had the children. But its totally their fault that I’m a raving lunatic now. They push me further over the edge. Everyday. Is it my fault Im being honest with them?
Yes, according to the principles of good family communication, I have sinned many times. I threaten, criticize, pass judgement, berate, belittle, and dismiss. But I didnt want to accept that conclusion. I came home and told the Fab Five about my class. And they couldnt stop laughing at the examples. And they had more to add…
“How about when mum says, You better wipe that look off your face before i slap it off!
“Or my favourite, You better get down from there or you’re going to fall down, crack your head and die!”
“No, the best one is, You’re such an ungrateful brat. I gave you life and now you cant even do this one thing for me!”
“Or this one – Stop bugging me! Stop hanging around like a bad smell! Youre worse than a mosquito. At least I can squash a mosquito..”
“Its so funny when she says, I dont care what your brother did to you. Just go back and punch him. I’ve got better things to do with my time than referee you people! “
“And that time I fell out of the tree, I told you not to go there. You didnt want to listen and now you’re hurt. Serves you right. Now go cry to someone who gives a damn.“
Their examples went on and on and on. Until I told them all
to be quiet before I tape their mouths shut that yes, I suppose I was kind of a terrible communicator. I had to admit that hearing my words come out of their mouths was very enlightening. And humbling. So I promise ( and you can all be my witnesses) that I will speak MUCH nicer to my children from now on.
What things do YOU say to your children…that you probably shouldnt?