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​Pet peeves, Criticism, and Children

A little girl, the sun shining behind her, making a halo form around her.
Photo by Edward Cisneros on Unsplash

Pet peeves

We all have them, and everyone criticizes something now and then. Pet peeves are things/stuff/situations we do not like, things that get under our skin more than others do. They’re annoyances we might consider rude or thoughtless in others.

For example, I wouldn't say I like it when I’m standing in a doorway or narrow passageway, holding a door open for, say, a mother with a stroller to pass through, or I’m standing on a sidewalk waiting for someone else to pass. The person behind me comes and aggravates the order of what I see as an act of kindness on my part. Of course, the person coming along behind me is oblivious to what’s going on in front of me or my heart. Nonetheless, I feel my temperature rising when this happens.

It’s my pet peeve

I might criticize that person with unkind words, speak in an unnatural tone of voice, behave offended, or glance over at the person with a piercing stare. All these forms of behavior convey criticism.

My child, my sensitive child — because they’re all sensitive — sees my behavior, subtle as it may be, and slowly starts imitating it in one form or the other.

What should we do?

Reining in our feelings of annoyance is not an easy thing to do, but when we have little eyes soaking up everything we do, we must learn to tame our impulsive reactions. A good approach would be NOT to condemn anyone. Not with words, not with hostility, not with glances.

My advice is that we refrain from falling into a critical pattern of complaining. When we complain, we are showing our little ones how to condemn. We’re teaching them to zoom in on the parts that are wrong with our world and its people when what we should be doing is help them see what is right with our world and its people.

Complaining has a place in this world, but that is not the topic I want to tackle. Here, I want to steer the conversation into a positive place for parents and children.

Here’s a story:

One sunny weekend afternoon, The Lambs are awaiting visitors — the kids’ grandparents. The table is set, and everything’s in order. While she changes into a clean dress, Mommy sends six-year-old Milly and four-year-old J.J to the garden to pick up the fallen petals of flowers in the garden. The children diligently obey, and when they re-enter, they have enough petals and flowers to please Grandma and Mommy.

Milly goes to the sink, fills a small bowl with water, and transports it carefully to the table. But as she’s setting it down on the table, it spills over, and … … yes, that’s what happens!

Mommy walks out into the dining room just then. “Oh no! How could you be so clumsy, Milly?” she says, annoyed. Oh no! We’ve all said things like this. But many times, we react without thinking, sometimes even surprising ourselves. We are human, after all.

Calling little Milly clumsy damages her sense of self-worth.

Hold your tongue, Mommy. Change your tone. But if the words have spilled out too fast already, stop and apologize. Kids take well to apologies. And please calm down; there’s no need to let such a mishap ruin the day, especially for Milly.

Milly is anything but clumsy. Compliment her for trying to please and help her with the cleanup. With a gentle tone and calm, Milly will feel appreciated and loved. And little J.J? He will be soaking in the situation as well. He will be learning. You can be sure of that!

Do you have any pet peeves you want to share with me today? Is there anything that resonates with you in this post? Please let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading. A few claps would be nice too! *wink*… Blessings, Selma.



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‘Ordinary’ INFJ. Slow-Reader. Learner/Enthusiast. Nature-lover. Lives reverently in healing frequency. Believer: Miracles & Kindness. Writes for YOU 💗 No bling