Watching Our Words
I used to read baby advice books voraciously. I wanted to make sure that I was doing everything I could to make sure that my babies were getting what they needed from me so that they could grow up to be brilliant, self-assured adults. So I read a ton of advice books, perused a wide variety of online advice, and subscribed to a bunch of parenting magazines. I took everything I read to heart and tried my best to incorporate it all into my parenting.
It wasn’t until recently that I started to get a little sour to some of the advice. I don’t know if it’s because I’m becoming more confident in my parenting skills, or if the parenting advice I’m running into is just not as good as it should be, but I’m starting to read it all with a grain of salt.
It seems to me that we’re being told to watch our wording to a silly level. I can understand not telling a baby that they’re “bad” and not screaming at the top of your lungs at a child, but if you ask me it looks like some of these experts have a little too much time on their hands to think up new ways to drive parents insane. The latest bit of advice I read was this one: Don’t tell your kids, “I’m proud of you,” but instead say something along the lines of, “You did it!” If you say that you’re proud of your child then you’re taking the focus off your kids and putting on yourself and your feelings.
In what world am I discouraged from telling my children that I’m proud of them? I can only imagine trying really hard to make sure I didn’t word anything along the lines of “I’m proud of you,” to my children, and then when they turn around thirty or so I’ll get a phone call from one of them telling me, “You know, I worked hard my whole life and all I ever wanted was for you to tell me that you’re proud of me.”
I think sometimes we try too hard to word things just perfectly so that we aren’t psychologically damaging them, but I wonder if this sometimes stops us from saying the things we should say. If I’m proud of my son or daughter, I tell them so. If I get the urge to tell them how special they are and how I thank God every day for them, I do. I shouldn’t have to consult an advice manual before bestowing praise upon my children.