‘Work on yourself so much so that years from now he will look back and realize what a great mistake he made’- Christy Atako (c), 2008
“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”
― Margaret Mead
There’s really no perfect parent, so if you are guilty of this, try as much as you can to find better ways of saying certain things to your daughters. Some of the things we tell our daughters are as a result of what we were told or what we hear people tell us, this doesn’t mean they are quite right to repeat but we do them most times out of ignorance.
- You can’t do that – the word ‘can’t’ is an extreme word to describe an impossible situation. I hear this a lot especially when the child is trying to do things that are seen as ‘for boys’, like climbing, jumping et al. Who says a girl child cannot jump or climb or just do things we feel are for the male child? if there is anything in particular you wouldn’t want your daughter to do; lets say like climbing- a better way to put it should be, you shouldn’t do that so you don’t get injured. with this you have explained exactly why you think the child shouldn’t engage in such an activity. Try as much as you can to avoid the word ‘CAN’T’. Do not limit your child’s ability with words just because you think its impossible doesn’t make it impossible. let your daughter know she can achieve any heights.
- Big Girls don’t cry: the day i heard this statement I marveled- who’s says big girls don’t cry?. Even we moms have times we cry so hard. Rather than make such a statement- why don’t you try to find ways to help them cope with their emotions. I remember when I experienced my first break up as a young adult- I cried to my mom and I won’t forget what she said to me- instead of her to say the things I expected such as He doesn’t deserve you, he isn’t good enough for you (exactly what a lot of us like to hear when we are heart broken. My mom said to me and I quote- ‘Work on yourself so much so that years from now he will look back and realize what a great mistake he made’. In this statement was a lot of wisdom written down; in just that sentence I learnt the was always room to improve, I learnt that the future was more important, I learnt I could be anything without him. I have lived with those words, words like -it is OK to cry, it is OK to express how you feel, its just OK to feel down. My mom made me believe in myself with just the words she spoke.
- You talk too much: this is another thing that i feel isn’t right to say. I have a daughter who can say a thousand things in just a minute and even when I am tired I listen. If you do not learn the habit of listening to your kids, you will loose them to the society. To you it feels like what she’s saying in insignificant but to them those tiny things are the very things that matter to them. Don’t shut them out, that may just be one huge mistake you will end up regretting. There are better ways to pass a message to your kids- even when I am so tired I try to listen. We live in a world were it is hard to find someone who truly listens. listening may just be one best gift you can give them.
- Leave Me Alone: the truth is every mom craves time for themselves, you deserve it so much. It is frustrating to see that you are so stressed out and frustrated and your daughter wants you to do something or seeks your attention. This has happened to me so many times, when I am so stressed with so much on my mind and she’s beside me asking for attention, I snap and snap and snap and i know we all have that moment were we snap at our kids. I learnt a better way of doing it, when I see you need attention I direct your attention towards something else. Like listening to her favorite song together while I rest or letting her have a drawings or write. My daughter loves writing so I take advantage of her hobby and i let her do them with that it takes her attention off me for that period until I can sort myself out.
- Why can’t you be like your sister/BROTHER: I hear this a lot. Do not make the mistake of comparing your kids, even though it looks like one is doing better than the other, Please do not be frustrated to the point of making such a mistake. Every child is different and unique. Just as no two brains are the same, you should expect that your kids may never have the same strengths and drives. Comparing them makes it even worse. You will end up creating hatred between your kids which isn’t what you want at the long run.
- You are ugly: no matter how you feel your daughter looks do not create inferiority in her. More over we are all uniquely made. A mom should not say this to her daughter. Every girl deserves to know how pretty they look and if you don’t start building that confidence in her from now you have something else coming. Never say to your daughter she is ugly, it sounds weird to me. Under no circumstance should you make such a mistake. Because coming from her mother may just be what she will hold unto all her life.
- Words like you are mad, stupid et al.: words are very powerful and the last thing you want to destroy is your daughter’s life with your words. If you are so angry or upset always learn to take a deep breath and walk out of the scene. You can redefine your children’s life with words so use them wisely.
- You are so fat: this isn’t even funny on a good day I take this too personal when I hear it but when a mom says this to her daughter, it is highly sickening. Even if you feel your daughter is on the big size, there are ways to go about it to find solution rather than insults. Even though your daughter is obese, no body likes hearing the obvious.
- I do everything for you: this statement has no truth in it. You may provide for your daughter but that doesn’t mean you do everything for her or them. You end up making them feel they really haven’t taken part in their own lives. No matter how hard you try to be a good parent you cannot teach your kids everything or actually do everything. So keep calm and take the frustration away from the child
- Why can’t you have an A: I heard this while growing up but funny enough thinking back I have never heard my mom say this. But I have heard it a couple of times. Every one mustn’t get an A. Appreciate every little effort your child makes.That she isn’t an A student doesn’t mean she doesn’t have unique and enviable features.
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I am Dr. Christiana Stephen, a wife, a mom of 4 under 4 year old kids, a photo lover, makeup artist, a wellness coach and a lecturer. Motherhood for me is ongoing, its a period of learning and unlearning. I am passionate about a lot of things but most importantly helping mothers around the work reach their wellness goals comes as top priority. Hence, I have created this community for every woman out there. Feel free to be part of this amazing journey of motherhood and wellness. I will say raising this community is inspired by my experience and learning process. The main essence is to empower moms on the benefits of healthy living as well as the need to create a life work balance.
I am nice so a lot of people say and I believe I am very approachable even when there is a lot to be done. I love teaching. I can teach on a lot of things including time and stress management.