When kids say the darndest things

All Woman

When kids say the darndest things

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

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IT'S true: Children do say the darndest things, and oftentimes parents forget their innocence and label them as problematic, sassy or rude.If you're a parent, you can certainly identify moments in which the words your child uttered stunned you to silence, made you angry, or left you in complete shock.

But how do you deal or manage your child's uncensored views?

Dr Ainsley Deer, psychologist and chief executive officer of Training Dynamics and Consultants, says the first step is to deal with our own limitations as adults.

“You have to get rid of some of the values you hold on to, like 'children should be seen and not heard'. We also need to get rid of some of the myths we tell children and believing that certain topics, like sex, are off limits,” he cautioned.

Dr Deer added that parents are often dishonest when trying to get children to “behave”, and warned that in the age of technology where your child can easily find answers on the internet, if they pick up on lies, it causes distrust.

“A typical example is parents saying 'the Bible says so and so', when in truth the views they are trying to convey to the child are not biblical. So we first have to really deal with ourselves,” he explained.

And when that's done, the psychologist said parents need to understand that in their innocence, children will question things or speak their mind without fear.

Parents should be careful not to characterise certain actions as mischievous or rude.

“A typical one is a child going to school or church and hearing about sex, then going to their parents to ask about it, or they may say something they heard that is sexual. Understand that they are not coming to you with it because they want to be mischievous or rude; they just don't know,” he said.

Below he shared three other key points parents should utilise when dealing with their children's uncensored views.

1. Condition yourself to understand your children and stop thinking it's because they are bad, rude or the devil is in them.

2. Learn age-appropriate responses and stop brushing them off or “shutting them up”.

3. Be open. “Instead of waiting for them to ask the question, share information with them at an appropriate age. That will open the door for when they come with real issues. Then, they won't be afraid of mummy or daddy because they feel they'll get in trouble and be punished,” Dr Deer said.

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