“Oh, you know, I’ve got to give them a hard time.”
It’s not funny. It gets tiring for kids to stand up for themselves time after time, year after year. Your jokes, your teasing, it doesn’t show them the love you say you have after someone calls you out, acting like a first grade bully. Joking about how your child always screws up, or always waits until the last minute, cuts each time. It may not be deep the first time, but each negative remark makes that first cut deeper. That negative remark you made – you thought it was nothing – now that is the child’s inner voice.
“You will never do it.”
“You’re so lazy.”
“You’re actually on time?”
“Just couldn’t get all A’s, huh?”
You think it’s cute, but it isn’t. You laugh jokingly after saying it, but it isn’t funny. Every person has their own negative voice they need to battle. As a parent, it’s your job to support your children, through thick and thin. I’m not saying unconditionally say “yes” to any whim and desire they have, but be a positive force, not the one they have to prove wrong when they do something right.
Instead of saying, “You’ll never be able to do that”, wouldn’t saying, “That’ll take a lot of hard work” get a similar message of having realistic expectations? Don’t you think your child will experience disappointment when they miss reaching a goal? It’s fine for your child to experience that disappointment, but it doesn’t help anything for you to be disappointed before they start.
Giving your child a “hard time” doesn’t show love. It just shows them they need to stand up for themselves against you, along with the rest of the world. Wouldn’t you rather be their respite?
[…] week’s post about parents who give their kids a hard time in jest got me thinking in general about how parents can be a positive influence in their kids’ […]