One mum shares why she doesn’t believe in “magic words”.
Tracy Gillett is a mum of one, she calls herself a nature-loving, adventure-seeking natural mum.
She has lived in four countries over the last decade. Originally from Australia and New Zealand her family now call supernatural British Columbia home.
“What’s the magic word?” said the shop assistant, waving his new purchase in front of him.
Are you serious? I thought to myself.
His expression turned from excitement to confusion. Moments earlier he confidently approached “the lady”, smiling and greeting her with a cheery “hello”. He placed his chosen dinosaur carefully on the counter and proudly paid for his new toy.
“We don’t do the magic word”, I interjected, “can you just pass him the toy, thank you.”
My instincts wouldn’t allow my almost-three-year-old son to be spoken to like that.
Children are often treated as second class citizens, as somehow less than adults. Adultism describes the bias for adults over children. It leads to a phenomenon of “little adults” where the belief is children are “adults-in-the-making” rather than who they really are, which is spontaneous, playful and fun-loving children. This discrimination precipitates manipulation of children and fuels society’s expectation of a parenting approach centred on adult’s wants rather than children’s needs.
It would never have entered the shop assistant’s mind to ask me what the magic word is. Ironically, if she’d paused she would have heard a resounding thank you from my son – freely offered of his own volition. Holding our children to higher standards than we would hold ourselves to is hypocritical and provides yet another avenue for adults to exert their control.
“Knowing what we stand for and, more importantly, what we won’t, and having the courage to respectfully defend our children sends a strong message. It lets our children know they’re safe in this big, wild world, that we have their backs and they needn’t be fearful. It gives them the courage to grow into their full potential and a freedom to take risks as they learn to navigate the choppy waters of society.
So, I’m never going to teach my son manners, at least not in the conventional sense because children learn more from what we do and who we are than what we say. I’ll teach him manners by modelling kind and respectful behaviour and in doing so, I hope I’ll become a better person too.”
Tracy adds, “If I’m being honest, my son bursts with infinitely more compassion and kindness than I ever could and all I need to do as a parent is encourage it to take root and flourish.”
I can totally see her point. Of course actions (or in this case modelling good manners and spirit) always speaks louder than words. Do you agree?
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