There are three words that you will never hear in our house…
“Just Wait Until it Happens to You”
“Just wait until it happens to you. It might. And it’ll bring you to your knees in all your self righteousness.” — this is a reader comment I received a few months ago on this post.
Funny how a blog post about teaching kids to speak kindly to each other can sometimes bring out such nasty responses!
I originally wrote this blog post in 2015. I was a new blogger and a semi-new parent.
My stepdaughter Lilu was 7 at the time and we’d just added a new baby to the family earlier that year.
Y’all I’m nowhere near a perfect parent. Sometimes I feel like I’m just winging it!
But I do have certain convictions, and this is one thing I feel very strongly about. And I’m here to report that 6 years later, our kids (there are three of them now) STILL do not say these three words…
I HATE YOU
Nope. That’s a hard no.
We do not say those three words in our house.
As a teenager, I’m pretty sure I told my mom I hated her a lot. Of course I didn’t mean it. I just said it to hurt her feelings.
Looking back I recognize that was pretty lame.
I know it would crush me if my kids told me that they hate me. So I’ve made it a point to keep those three words out of our vocabulary and out of our house.
Why My Kids Don’t Say “I Hate You”
I am confident that our girls won’t say that they hate us because it is not something my husband and I say to each other.
We don’t even say that we hate other people, or places, or things, or whatever.
I won’t claim that I’m perfect and I’ve never slipped, because of course I have! But only in private. (The car is a wonderful place for venting!)
I am careful not to even whisper that word “hate” in front of the girls because I know they are listening to every single thing that comes out of our mouths, even if it doesn’t seem like they are paying attention.
I’m sure that our girls have heard other kids speak inappropriately or use mean language — didn’t we all learn the “bad words” at school?
Occasionally the kids will test the waters at home to gage our reaction — and a gentle, but firm reminder is all it takes to remind them that certain words are not acceptable in our house.
Well, actually my oldest daughter did say the word “hate” once…
“Mom, I only want an Elsa birthday party this year. I hate Anna.”
Even though it was so innocent and I wanted to laugh, I did insist that my then 7-year-old find a better way to express her preference for her favorite Frozen princess.
And that was all it took. I have yet to hear her say the word since.
To Each Their Own, But in Our House “Hate” is Not Cool
Every family has different expectations of acceptable language and behavior.
Perhaps I’m dating myself, but I remember when Ozzy Osborne’s reality TV show first aired and being amazed at how they cursed ALL the time and at each other. It was no big deal to them, but it was something that we just didn’t do in my home, and that is something that carried with me to adulthood (minus those few rebellious years).
Speaking with respect and without foul language is something that is important to my husband and I, and we hope that by setting an example with each other, it will “stick” with the girls.
“You Just Wait…”
So back to that original comment…
Look, I can’t promise that my girls will never say that they hate something. Or me.
I mean, I hope not… but the teenage years are coming so who knows. My girls are their own people, with feelings and opinions that may not always match up exactly with my own.
What I DO know is that my husband and I have laid the foundation for speaking with kindness. And I hope that by seeing our example, my girls will choose kindness too.
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