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DEAR CHRISTINE: Speak kindly to all children

Dear Christine

DEAR CHRISTINE: Speak kindly to all children

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Dear Christine,

RECENTLY I WAS standing in a store when I saw a young boy, who appeared to be about ten years old, with his mother and a young girl.

The mother said something to the boy, and he failed to respond correctly. Then she yelled at him: “Are you stupid or dumb or both?” It was evident that the child was embarrassed.

Christine, I know exactly how he felt. When I was young, my mother never missed a chance to tell me how dumb, stupid or unattractive I was. Although she told me often how much she loved me, she undermined my self-esteem with her cruel remarks.

I know she doesn’t recall making such remarks, but here I am 50 years old and those words are still ringing in my ears. To this day, I am reluctant to attempt anything new or different for fear I will look stupid.

I have been to a fine counsellor who has helped me deal with this, and I have a wonderful family of my own now who encourage me and assure me I can succeed at anything I want.

My point is: parents should stop and think before saying things to their children that can traumatise them for life. The words may not cause physical harm, but they hurt nevertheless.

– S.D.

Dear S.D.,

I understand your concern about that incident. I’ve seen incidents like the one you described and I know how embarrassed the child feels. We should use our mouths to speak life into the lives of children – whether or not they are ours.

Children grow up with all kinds of emotional and psychological scars because of the harsh words from adults or family members.

I hope the seriousness of matters like this will allow adults to see how much harm they inflict on our young people just by their words.


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