Mark Richards TSM

We sure did have nice weather Monday afternoon and so it was another bouncy-house Monday for Dylan and his friends. This morning I was talking about a situation where my 3 year old hurt the feelings of a playmate. The neighborhood kids came over to bouncy away with Dylan and one of the kids came to me and said, "Dylan told me to go home and never come over again." As she cried I asked Dylan if he said that and without hesitation, he said "Yes". I called him over and eye to eye I explained that it's not nice to hurt feelings, you should apologize. He looked at me with a blank face as I asked, "Are you going to say your sorry"? "Nope" he replied. Well within a minute it blew over and I realized, he's only 3 and doesn't really grasp the concept yet. To make sure, I did some research. Read the full article of  things we should not say to out kids according to Yahoo. Or skim through my Top 5 list.


"Don't you get it?"


I'll toss the football to Dylan five times and show him how to hold out his hands to catch it, but, no luck. I'll tell him over & over that hitting causes boo-boos so don't do it, yet it continues. The one thing not to say is "Don't you get it?" It's like saying, "What's wrong with you for not getting it?" While I do not mean to send that message, that is the message Dylan receives.


"Say you're sorry!"


This is the one I spoke of earlier. After Dylan made his playmate cry, I could not understand why apologizing means nothing to him. I read that forcing a child to apologize does not teach him or her social skills. According to Bill Corbett, a parent educator, author, and producer/host of the parenting TV show "Creating Cooperative Kids." If you force a child to say they are sorry, "it could delay the child's natural acceptance" of apologizing.


"Act your age!"


Why is Dylan screaming every time a playmate wants his toy? Why is he spraying the tree with Febreze? I often hear a parent yell to a child. "Act your age!" Then is occurs to me that they are, in fact, acting their age.


"We're going to leave without you!"


My wife and I are guilty of this one. The car is packed and we're ready to go shopping and Dylan says he wants to stay home and play. We'll use that dreaded phrase and he panics. Perhaps it's because we're trying to send a message that we mean what we say. For a child Dylan's age, the fear of parental abandonment is very real. What we've just said though is obviously false. We'll never leave without him. Soon Dylan will learn that we don't mean what we say.


"I don't care."


Dylan loves to share details. "Daddy look! I've got a green one and a red one!" "Mommy come see what I made out of clay!" Funny thing, when he is a teenager he'll tell us nothing. I've learned over the years what's small potatoes to me is a big deal to a child so go ahead, let them go on...and on.