Like most moms, before I became a parent I had read all types of parenting tips, and I knew exactly what type of mom I was going to be. I knew I would breastfeed for sure. Then I had a baby that refused. I knew I would never, ever co-sleep. Then I had a baby that would not sleep without being next to me. And of course I would never, ever, never tell my kids to “shut up.” (*ahem*)
Cue to present day Jennifer with two kids aged eight and almost five. My plans have not managed to stand up to the bickering, noise, whining, and a limited amount of patience. You can often find me not only saying, “shut up” but yelling it with the hopes of being heard above the bedlam.
I try to justify my use of the phrase. I mean it isn’t really that bad, and that works, until I hear the same words being said by one child to the other. Ouch. Also there is the fact that I would never say that phrase to anyone else. So why say it to my kids (man, self examination sucks)?
Empowering Parents offered this:
Parents tell kids to shut up for a variety of reasons. But ultimately, it’s to exert their control over the conversation. Sometimes they want backtalk to stop, sometimes they want complaining to stop, and sometimes they’re just tired of listening to their child. No matter what the context, saying “Shut up” is rarely helpful and never appropriate.
Yeah… That’s pretty much what I thought. We do have the rule that some words are for grown ups, but really, is this a phrase that I ever want my kids to say? Not really. I would not want them to say it to me, I do NOT want them to say it to each other, and I for sure do not want them to say it to anyone else.
I think one of the best parenting tips is to model the behavior you want your kids to follow. I haven’t been doing that when it comes to saying “shut up.” Going forward I’m going to be more conscientious of when I say it, what is going on, and how I feel when it slips (or thunders) out of my mouth. Hopefully then I’ll be able to turn it around to something more positive.
What about you? Do you ever tell your kids to “shut up”?
You can find Dr. G on her blog where she answers parents’ questions, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and pretty much all over the web. Be sure to check her out. She has some really great, practical parenting tips available.