Friday, March 21, 2014

7 Things Never to Say to Your Kids

I read a lot of blog posts and tweets by moms who are in the trenches. Parents who are trying to figure out the whole parenting thing and are sure they are Mother Theresa one minute and that mom on the six O'clock news the next. "Oh, putting him in a cage was a bad thing. Well, officer you should have been here, you'd understand." Some days are treacherous like that. You want a freaking nap, or 5 minutes in the bathroom to yourself, or sex without thinking you hear someone crying and then realizing  it's just you because you want to go to sleep and you cannot believe anyone wants one more thing.

Along about middle school age you start wanting a little appreciation and understanding from them and you may say things you shouldn't. As a mother of grown kids I can tell you that you'll get the thank-yous you are so desperate for in a few years, but don't start feeling sorry for yourself and saying stupid things.  

Here's why:

It's not having the effect you think.

You sound like your mother. 

They'll remember it later and resent you for it.

You sound like a martyr and that's not really admirable unless someone is going to burn you at the stake later. Plus, while you are saying these kinds of things they are thinking that's a pretty good idea.

It's just the adult version of whining (and you know how you hate that).

Now that you know the why, here's what not to ever say...EVER:

1. "I sacrificed (fill in the blank) for you." Well, first of all that was your choice. Just own it. And second, your kids don't care. They might grasp that as adults but right now you just sound crazy. And they weren't there and didn't ask you to give up your career, freedom, lifestyle so just move on already.

2. "Someday I won't be around and you'll miss me then." Not if you keep saying crap like this.

3. Any version of "You don't appreciate anything you have." Oh, has someone given them everything and now they don't value hard work or the the satisfaction of paying for things themselves? I wonder who we could blame for that?

4. Anything inappropriate about your personal life. That's what girlfriends are for.

5. Any version of "You never spend any time with me." When the kids are grown it sounds like "You are leaving? You just got here." or "Don't run off" or "We never see you." You know what your adult child is thinking as he heads out the door? "This is why I don't come by more often." Get a life. Read number one on this list and stop whining about how no one visits and go out and do all those things you were so anxious to get to when they were 3.

6. "I'm your mother, it's my job to embarrass you." I've never understood this one. You honestly think a 13 year old needs anyone else to embarrass them?

7.  Things that make you sound superior because social media didn't exist when you were young. "In my day we never would have posted all that stuff on Facebook." Yes you would have. And you'd probably be in jail.

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