On an online forum for parents of high school and college students I’m reading wonderful and not-so-wonderful posts. There is definitely valuable information and tons of support for parents. On the not-so-wonderful side are a few posts where parents use derogatory language to describe their children. Parents, watch your language! One parent described her daughter as a ‘moron’ because she left her college apartment key at her parents’ house (and her apartment was two hours away). Another parent refers to her son as an A$$hole. He was upset with her for not washing his favorite shirt the way he wanted. (This same parent is doing her 18-year old’s laundry and is now resentful, if she wasn’t already.)
If you’re angry and disappointed, say so. But watch your language and don’t call your child a moron.
What’s so terrible about speaking this way on a closed forum? Why should these parents watch their language? 1. Using that kind of language to talk about the people you love is distressing and sad. Be angry, be disappointed. Say you’re angry and disappointed, but don’t call your child a moron. 2. The fact that they write it makes me wonder how many parents call a child an A$$hole to his face. How distressing it is to think that the people who are there to help you be your best could use language that makes you feel worthless. 3. It’s said that the traits that bother us in other people are often things we need to look at in ourselves. If you’re supposed to be the person who models the behavior you want to see, you’ve now essentially said that it’s okay to talk about people this way. Change begins with you. Just saying… 4. My daughter used to get upset when I shared with a friend the difficult times we were going through. I needed the support, and I also understand how uncomfortable it is to know you’re being talked about. My child already felt down about her struggles, and embarrassed that others knew. Now imagine a child’s horror to wonder if he or she is being called… pick a nasty word, any word. I know that sometimes kids can exasperate even the most patient among us. Talking about our kids can feel hurtful without the ‘bad language’, and is compounded with it. Thoughts and words not only create our reality, they can hurt or heal, and they are a reflection of us in our best and worst moments. Please, watch your language.
Fern Weis is a certified life coach who learned that caring and good intentions are not enough in parenting. In fact, they are often the problem! Fern supports parents of teens and young adults who are going through difficult situations, including addiction recovery. She helps parents release guilt, end enabling and confidently prepare their children to thrive through life's challenges. Her articles are featured in Thrive Global, Medium, Motherly, The Teen Mentor, and Bergen County Moms. Learn more about coaching and classes at www.fernweis.com. And then download your free guide, "Five Powerful Steps to Get Your Teen to Talk." For information on Family Recovery programs, visit www.familyrecoverypartners.com