Should I shouldn’t I?

I have been reflecting a great deal recently on the language we use. I have been thinking about parenting and the language used in regard to children. I will write more on this in a future post, but for now I just want to share a few initial thoughts.

Should is an interesting word. You should do such and such a thing to me isn’t a helpful way of speaking to someone. It implies one person knowing what is right for another. The same with shouldn’t. At the end of the day, I think what is right is to learn to make up our own mind.

Wisdom is a word that is not used much nowadays, however I feel that parenting children who make wise decisiions is paramount. And in order to do that, parents need to make wise decisions for themselves, to model this.

So how does this happen? I think using language with children that is kind, empathetic and generous is a good starting point. Instead of ‘ you should’, how about ‘have you thought about this?’ Or ‘if you do that then maybe this might happen?’ Or ‘shall we look at some of the consequences of doing this?’.

Of course children need to learn that to be safe is paramount, however this safety can be gradually internalised. So teaching a child that fire will burn is of course vital, but also teaching them about safe boundaries in life is also vital. And teaching them how to make wise well thought out choices comes from a lot of conversation and positive modelling.

No parent is perfect, however in my view wise parenting is the way forward. Wise parenting also involves a level of vulnerability, maybe sharing when we get things wrong and showing we all make mistakes and that is okay. Perfection isn’t possible and it is unfair to impose this on children. But aiming to be a good person and a wise adult is in my view a great thing to apsire for/.

As always I would welcome your thoughts and of course feel free to comment or disagree.

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