…I am NOT!!
I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it’s the fact that I have, in my life, run across some down-right mean ass people. But whenever I tell my daughter something she doesn’t want to hear, that’s what I get. “You’re Mean!!”.
I always tell her “No, mean would be to scream ‘NO!’ then punch you in the throat”.
Getting your kids to understand the power of words can be a difficult thing. And getting them to understand the meaning of seemingly similar words can be near impossible. Take dumb vs stupid, for example. Dumb is doing something you know better than to do. Stupid is not being able to comprehend something you should be able to at a certain age/grade/skill level for no other reason than you didn’t care to learn.
There are a few words that carry a lot of hurt that kids are unconscious of. In this day and age, we are having to correct society’s “acceptable norms” on a regular basis between all of the different media that assaults them. So it’s a large job, keeping it all together. Here, these are the words (put towards someone) that will get you a good talking to. Sometimes a dash of Franks, depending on the situation. Cause I put that shit on everything.
(You’re) Stupid ~ No one in my house is stupid. That’s dumb/silly/dopey/foolish. Not You’re. And not Stupid.
Fat (in regards to a person; he/she/you) ~ People who are overweight know it. And there are more than enough mean people in this world that will make sure they know people notice. Even if it’s general dumb kid statement “See that fat guy over there? I like his shoes”. People can get royally offended. I used to.
Jerk ~ We are a bunch of dopes who call each other names all the time. So even when upset “Gosh you’re a turd!” just makes us laugh. And usually the person that said it. But jerk holds venom. Everyone in the house has agreed on that.
Shut Up ~ There’s just better ways. Be quiet, go away, leave me alone, knock it off.
Hate ~ I do not ever want my kids to hate. Real hatred is like a crippling disease. Let’s not get in the habit of thinking we hate. Dislike whatever you want. But don’t hate.
Of course, the swear words are an immediate dose of hot sauce and a trip to their rooms, they are well aware of the unacceptability of those words. And I’m sure there’s more than just those 5 up there that I don’t want my kids using. But, well, it’s been a while since I’ve had those conversations 🙂 That’s a good thing.
Trial and error resulted in my oldest being completely oblivious to it, my next slightly conscientious, and the other one who’s old enough to get it really gets it.
As with anything + kids, a lot of talking, in terms of moms/dads opinions and feelings, only hits home until about 5. Then the kids become rather self-centered, and that only grows. 🙂 The best thing is to “show” the guilty party.
When Boo is having a day, she’ll pop off with “What does it matter, that’s not what I meant”. Whether your kid says it or not, pretend they did. It’s a perfect way to bring into the conversation “Hey now! I remember you talking to me about your feelings when ___(whomever) did ___(whatever their offense) to you. It made you feel ____. Now why would you want to do that to your brother??”
By doing this, you will bring back that moment. They will feel the hurt they felt. It might make them cry. And that’s OK. A hollow “I’m sorry” only patches things until next time. To a kid, they’re just words. And some seem very benign. So who cares if I call you mean?
Because when I hear mean, I think of cruelty, anger, violence. And people like that have hurt me. I’m not one of those people. And then tell her of one. She remembered him. And got it.
How do you teach your kids the power of words? Let us know in the comments below!