Lately I have been feeling like I’m one of the few parents who cares about instilling respect in her children. When I refer to respect, I don’t only mean respecting adults and others, I also mean the way that children speak. More and more I am observing the harsh and inappropriate way that children not only speak to each other but to adults. This leaves me wondering why they weren’t taught that it is not okay to talk to others that way.
Case in point, a few weeks ago my son shared with me that one of his cousins told him to “shut up” and referred to him as an “idiot.” My children are not perfect and they do the things that kids do but, one thing I can say with certainty is that they have been taught not to use those words in their conversations or towards others. How do I even begin to address that with my sibling or any parent for that matter? Let’s be completely honest, most parents don’t respond too well to parenting constructive criticism, myself included.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those “Fuddy Duddy” parents who preaches parenting techniques and pretends to be “Holier than thou.” Believe me, I swear like a truck driver on most days and I definitely don’t always speak the way I should. However, since we are supposed to want better for our kids, I have taught mine not to speak the way that I do. Those of you who are shaking your head right now, “Do as I say, not as I do” definitely does work. I am the parent and not the child, after all. I digress…
The point is that it’s not okay for little kids to use those kinds of words toward others, in my opinion. Apparently, those of us who feel this way are in the minority because, have you heard the mouths on some kids these days? I’m wondering where their parents are when I hear them speak this way. It causes images of children being raised by a pack of wolves to run through my head.
I even carry this philosophy into my classroom and encourage my students not to use profanity or to not tell each other words like “shut up” or “stupid.” If inner-city middle school students can change their bad habits and learn to speak to each other in a positive way, it’s not too late to change these behaviors in your children. I’m not judging but you really need to do something now if your children are speaking this way.
Some of you might even be wondering what the big deal is, after all, kids will be kids right? Wrong! If you think the way your kid speaks isn’t going to affect them long-term, you are delusional. It could mean the difference between getting hired for that dream job or not, gaining acceptance into that top-notch university or being denied entry, or even meeting the person of their dreams or being alone. I believe Rudyard Kipling said it best when he stated, “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
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