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Respect your elders. We were all taught to do that, but what
happens when the elder who influences our children's lives is someone wreaking havoc more than helping? My two sons—who are fabulously perceptive—had the insight
to bring to my attention an authority figure in their lives who was insulting
"She said we were pathetic," my son told me.
"Yes, and she called me fat," my other son mentioned. "Why
does she do that?"
I couldn't believe it. I know how the words we whisper to
our children becomes their self talk in later years, and I have bent over
backwards reminding them that they are kings and awesome and worthy of love
just the way they are. The one affirmation I repeat to them every year on their
birthday is, "I am so glad you were born."
But that wasn't the case with this woman who was a big part
of their lives. I reminded them that they were the authors of their own lives
and no one's opinion matters more than their own. "You define who you are," I
asserted, but they were harboring resentment toward her, and I didn't know how
to handle it.
Kids won't remember the reason you hurt them or what they did to provoke it; all they will remember is the fact that you hurt them.
After speaking with her about it she explained that she used
the tactic of hurtful words to get their attention. "You have to make it sting
or they will keep doing it," she explained, and I sighed. I informed her that
kids won't remember the reason you hurt them or what they did to
provoke it; all they will remember is the fact that you hurt them.
After our little talk I sat my sons down and explained that
some people try to hurt others with words because they are hurting inside and
they can't help but release that pain through trying to make others feel the
same way. The more you notice someone
belittling others, the easier it is to assess that they are really unhappy
inside. I explained to them that even though she is an adult she still hurts
too, and they don't have to respect her opinion if it doesn't line up with who
they know they are.
I reminded them of the "Me-First Rule" I had created: "No
one's opinion matters more than your opinion," I repeated.