What to Avoid Saying in front of your Children
The first year after my daughter was born, my husband and I didn’t pay much attention to the way we were talking to each other or to other people.
I remember complaining of my belly after leaving the hospital, swearing to my partner after a sleep deprived week, and commenting on a friend’s behavior in front of my child (guilty as such).
Then my little love grew and started to understand the meaning of some words. She could point at her belly when hungry, she waved her hand when my husband would leave for work, and she would become hyperactive whenever we had a heated conversation in front of her.
It didn’t take me long to realise that I had to weigh my words and mean what I said if I wanted to give her the best chance to live an emotionally healthy life.
As parents, we have incredible power on how our words and actions can shape the future of our child. Every time we tell them they are not capable, every time we judge other people based on their looks or behavior, every time we engage in gossiping, we are sending a message. That message will be sucked in by their little brains, and it will be incorporated in their behavioral system, which will then shape their adult life.
For the above reasons, the three following topics shouldn’t be discussed at the dinner table (or ever):
We all have limiting beliefs; sometimes they are acquired from others (Family, siblings, teachers, peers), sometimes they are self-imposed. An example could be “I can’t build my own website because I’m not clever enough”. Do you see what I mean? Maybe you don’t want to spend your time building a website because you have other priorities in life, or you can build a website as soon as you learn all the coding, but putting yourself down by telling you unkind words won’t help you, or the people that are listening.
You need to teach your child that the world is full of possibilities, and almost everything can be achieved with persistence, resilience, hard work, passion, and creativity. Make your child believe that the world can be changed and avoid dumping your own limiting beliefs on his little shoulders. The world is already tough as it is, and there is no need to take all the magic away before the beginning of someone’s journey.
Racism should be banned; not only it is pointless, but it hurts people and it has shed too much blood throughout history. It is impossible to define and know a person by the color of its skin, or by the length of the beard or the quality of the dresses he/she is wearing.
Don’t make racist comments at home, and not only your child will understand they are not ok to make, but he will also feel less prompted to think of them to start with.
The future of this world is a mixture of color. People from all races are finally coming together and they get to know each other from a tender age; you are not better because you are white, or black. There are no colors in this world, but people, with their own feelings, beliefs, and lives. Having a dad that kept commenting on the laziness of other people, I grew up thinking that if I didn’t hassle for 80 hours a week, I was unworthy as a human being. Be aware and attentive of what you say, as your words are powerful and can shape your child’s future.
Learning to accept the differences, to leave judgment at bay is the only way to move forward if we only want to give a chance for our children to grow in a peaceful world.
From my humble point of view, I don’t think dieting should be a topic of conversation. As a nutritionist, I’m interested in what people have eaten and I see if there is room for improvement in order to help them achieve their goals; outside clinical hours, I don’t care if a friend of mine is following a keto diet, or if a model in the latest issue of Women’s health swears by intermittent fasting. In most cases, unless there is a specific condition, I don’t believe in dieting, and I definitely do not support the diet mentality. Which brings me to the bottom line of this introduction: don’t make dieting a topic, so your child (hopefully) won’t talk about it.
Imagine a world where human were not defined by the size of their bodies…wouldn’t it be great? Unfortunately it is too late for us, as we have embraced a diety way of thinking somewhere along the way, but we can teach a different way of thinking to our kids.
Next time you look at yourself in the mirror, or you are caught checking your belly rolls, or you see a woman walk past you…don’t comment! As simple as that. And if your child asks you questions about his/her body, see if you can compliment him/her in a different way “Your eyes look really lively today, did you do anything that sparked your imagination?” “Your hairs look shiny, have you spent time at the beach?” “ You are phenomenally chatty today, I love listening to your thoughts”.
Remember that when you change your approach and the way that you talk to your child, not only you are changing your family, you are also changing the future generation.