Do sentences like “Finish your food so you can grow big and strong!” or “look around you, is anyone else doing what you are doing?” sound familiar?
These sentences are the two most evocative assertions I struggle with when observing my family interacting with my child.
The second most challenging aspect I encounter is “observing”.
I never merely observe. Mostly, I interfere a lot, simply for the sake of having my child’s back and assuring him that I always will.
As a result, I have grown used to speaking on my son’s behalf, even when he can express his thoughts for himself (makes mental note to change this*).
How Could Assertive Sentences Have a Long-Term subliminal Impact
Pressuring a Child to Do What Is Good for Them in Order to Get They Want
When we take a deeper look at the very first affirmation, the one about food – it is clear that it could easily be the root of diverse emotional eating issues and resulting in acquiring an unhealthy relationship with food.
I am sure many of us can relate.
So, this is how it went for me.
Having been told as a child that eating was necessary in order to reach a bigger destination or goal, a connection was built within me, making the idea of growing up an ultimate life goal.
The neural pathways making the connection between a desired outcome and eating remained active as I made my way to adulthood, where I still dealt with the guilt of not eating enough; therefore, I made up for it as an adult. The latter caused me to develop an eating disorder as a teenager.
I’m 32-year-old today and when I look back at my childhood memories, I laugh/cry as I lived most of my it wanting to grow up instead of living the moment – simply being a child.
I also remember how I had to struggle with the pressure to eat until I removed my chronically inflamed tonsils which were giving me a hard time swallowing, hence I ate so little, so slowly.
These struggles I’ve been through are some of the main reasons why I never want anyone to pressure my child into eating, or doing anything thing they might believe is “beneficial to him”!
On a deeper level, pressuring a child to do something such as eating makes them lose their own sense of agency and autonomy. A child growing with such an imposed disorder could become an adult who is continuously experiencing a sense of perpetual confusion.
Making a child Self Conscious in Public
“look around you, is anyone else here doing what you are doing?” Which is usually followed by: “No. So?” or “Yes. So?”
I mean, what is the point of such a critical observation?
Should we all be doing the same thing anyone else is doing anywhere we go?
Is fitting in and behaving in accordance with “etiquette” the ultimate goal of our existence? Especially as a child…
I disagree, and I have a list to support my disagreement.
- People, children in specific, should have the freedom and space to do whatever they want to do; so long as it does not bring them or others around them any harm.
- Making a child self-conscious about their own presence and behavior, by pointing out what other people might be thinking about them puts the child on a very tough road for the rest of their lives. A person who leads their life depending on what other people expect of them will never be at peace.
- If a child can’t stand on a table or be spontaneous when they’re three when else could they? Seriously!!
- Honestly, reflect on these questions:
- Are we worried about our child’s image or our own image?
- Why does it matter what a stranger would think of our kids or us?
- What hold does that stranger have on our lives?
Sometimes, mothers point out how “Foreign” kids are “Happier” – while their own kids are whining and crying almost all the time.
In fact, I believe all kids are happy by nature; they still have the explorer and experimenter aspect within them active.
The difference between a happy child and an unhappy one is parenting, regardless of where the child’s geographic origins.
So next time we find ourselves in a place where we feel critical and with a tendency to controlling the kids’ actions, we better take a reflect on the following instead:
- Is this affecting my kid’s safety?
- Why do I want them to do what I want them to do?
- What would change for ME as a person and parent whether they do it or not?
I still challenge myself to observe more and take mental notes every day, as opposed to continually commenting whenever I encounter an unexpectedly unacceptable behavior.
I find the act of directly communicating these notes to grown-ups later to be more fruitful in adverting their way of behaving with my child.
This is all in an effort to model and provide better, more compassionate and respectful communication.
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