Please Stop Saying That to My Kids!

Here’s what I need people to do: stop telling my daughters how gorgeous they are and my son how strong he is UNLESS you can also come up with something else to discuss with them.

Have you noticed this?  Adults seems to lack an ability to enter into discussions with kids beyond A) what grade they are in, B) their favorite subject, and C) how pretty the girls are and how strong the boys are.

If the child in question is homeschooled, there is also  D) Can you tell me what 8 times 9 is?

You, you adults not clever enough to engage a child in conversation, are dumbing my children down.

My girls ARE pretty.  My 11 year old has a smile (dimples included) and a set of eyes that are beyond gorgeous.  She also has strong opinions about the historical lack of women in the White House, a blue belt in karate, a love of the fiddle and aptitude in classical violin music, and she reads about a book every other day.  Oh, and she’s writing two novels.

Yes, the color of my 7 year old’s hair is stunning; those red and orange and golden streaks seem impossible.  And her freckles make you want to kiss that teeny tiny nose of hers.  She wants to be a doctor when she grows up, watches videos of medical procedures regularly, is quite the budding artist, is currently obsessed with the music from “Wicked”, also plays violin, and has an astounding vocabulary.

My son IS strong, though not nearly as strong or fast as his big sister.  He is also sensitive, sweet, and attentive.  He wants to hear everyone’s stories.  He thinks you’re interesting and will listen intently to your history.  He is building a car engine, loves to draw, is a Lego fiend, and has a thousand stories to tell about his own adventures.  He is also very concerned about justice issues.

See there?  Was that so hard?  Not really.  Currently, though, my kids think many adults care only about external factors over which they have very little control.  My concern is that eventually they will forget that anyone cares about all their interests and abilities, the ones they work so hard to develop.

That’s the dumbing down part.  And it’s just not necessary.  And it’s not a problem for my kids alone.

Here are a few suggested questions for kids whose parents have not provided a list of topics:

  • What do you like to do in your spare time?
  • What is your favorite thing to learn and how do you go about it?
  • Tell me a a little something about yourself?
  • What did you think of (insert event here)?
  • When I was your age, I loved to (insert activity here); what do you love to do?
  • Did you hear about (insert appropriate current topic here)?  I would love to hear your thoughts on that.
Please feel free to add more suggestions in the comments section.
My youngest, suturing a chicken.