I love my kids, flaws, terrible tantrums and all.
To me, they are obviously perfect.
As every parent should feel, right?
One important responsibility we have as parents is in building modest confidence and self-love in our children. We need to be there to teach them that flaws are beautiful and that they’re exquisite in their own unique way and to embrace their imperfections.

It’s nice to constantly build our children up, complimenting them and rooting them on.
But obviously there’s a fine line between false praise and honest commendation.
The last thing I want is my child turning into either a narcissist or a really insecure individual.

Today I experienced something that I see occasionally and almost always find disconcerting and bothersome.
This irks me more than too much flattery when it comes to parent and child.

I was at my local Chapters, green tea latte in hand, sans kid enjoying some quiet time browsing and decided to check out the children’s area to see what my kids may like.

I couldn’t help but overhear a mother chatting with what seemed like her friend or family member (who was also a mother) while their kids played in front of them. They were discussing their children’s eating habits and the one mother started laughing and saying her child was a “little fatty”. She also used the word “porker”. Followed with fits of laughter.
Her probably 5 or 6 year old daughter she was referring to was right in front of her and didn’t look too impressed. You can tell that even at a young age, she was already starting to feel flustered by those words about her.
How awful!
I’m sure this wasn’t the first time she probably poked fun of her child in front of her to others.

This reminded me of another parent that I’ve seen constantly telling other parents that her child wasn’t very bright. Once again, right in front of their tween.
And this was more than one instance.

Another horrible example I’ve heard of is of this father that constantly makes fun of his daughters nose. Yes, her nose!
He would tell others that when she grows older, his gift to her would be to get her plastic surgery from the best surgeon in town. UGH! Can you believe that?
And to him, it’s suppose to be funny. They even have a nickname for her.
I’m sorry but that’s just absolutely repulsive.  And far from being even close to funny.

Somebody please tell me how on earth is it okay for a parent to say such things about their child, right in front of them, TO OTHER PEOPLE?! Equally detrimental when they constantly say this right to the child.
I’m no expert or psychiatrist but I would presume that this type of behaviour could be very damaging to a child’s self-esteem as they get older.
Life is already hard and will only get more tough as they get older. They’ll be faced with mean kids, tough teachers and their own personal demons as they learn to understand who they are better as the years pass; so hearing their own parent call them a “porker” or “dumb” or whatever else they may call them, whether it’s meant as a joke or in their own absurd way, some sort of gagged up stimulus, it’s not right. And you need to stop immediately.

“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” ~ Peggy O’Mara

We play a significant role in molding these little people. Sure we are not perfect parents (there’s no such thing) and I’m not expecting you to refrain from laying down some “truth bombs” every now and then to introduce your child to the real world, but always think first before you speak: “Is what I’m saying to my child or about my child to others beneficial for them or is it damaging?”

I’m sure these parents have no bad intentions, most parents don’t of course — they love their kids to the moon and back.
But that’s exactly why you need to understand that you need to protect their hearts and their dignity.
Name-calling of any kind is never okay.
Especially from a parent to their child.


9 Comments on Sticks and Stones: When Parents Are The Bullies To Their Kids

  1. Sometimes I’m hard on myself (ok, often) and I think I am SURE to be messing up my kids…. but then I hear about stories like the one of that father joking about his daughter’s nose and I think…. ok I’m not perfect, but OVERALL I’m doing a pretty good job raising my kids. 🙂

  2. I feel so sad for the children who have to go through this,i believe bullying starts at home and its a cycle that needs to be broken.

  3. Common sense people! Kids listen more than think, I vividly remember my mother doing this here and there, the laughing is what got me the most. I swore I’d never do this to my kids, and when my mother does something like this around them, I totally call her on it! She means well, but sometimes just doesn’t think.

  4. some parents can be so mean! they don’t realize that kids pick up on these things and their feelings get hurt

    • I agree, Ivy. Some don’t even realize that they’re doing more harm than good. I know the love is probably there but they just need to choose their words carefully. Kids really take what their parents say to them to heart.

  5. Oh my God… I can’t believe that father teasing about his daughters nose! So appalling.
    Makes you wonder what’s going on in these parents heads to think it’s okay or even remotely funny.
    This was a really good read and I agree that it’s never okay to call your child names or say anything that will bring them down. Build them up!

    • Thanks, Christine, for reading. I think what saddens me most is seeing the kids reactions, or worse, lack of it. Showing me that they’ve actually become immune to the name-calling. These instances I’ve seen have been very disheartening. I’m not saying I’m a perfect mother because I certainly am not but yes, we need to tread very carefully when it comes to how we communicate or what we say to or about our children.

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