Don’t be a jerk to your kids

December 9, 2014 — 23 Comments

I was at a store today and bumped into the mum of a boy in my sons class who has often been one of a few riding in my car on class trips.

He always rides shot gun.
He winds the electric window up and down while he talks about how cool his mum and dad are.
I know that he considers his dads best friend as a good and kind mentor because he literally used the words ‘good and kind mentor’ in his description of him.
He is articulate, polite, amusing…just a really cool kid. 
At the store today I told his mother that it had been a pleasure meeting her boy, that he had always behaved respectfully (he has), used exceptional manners (he does) and how proud she must be to have a son who was turning into such a fine young man.
He was standing next to her as I said this and was still at her side when she responded with this:
‘Pffft, I wish he was like that with me, he’s nothing but terror at home haha’

Nah, dont do that to your son.

I always try to make a point of complimenting a child to their parents if they have shown beautiful character in any way. Almost every time I get a flippant, sarcastic ‘funny’ reply along the lines of ‘well you don’t see them at home when they are being X, Y, Z (insert flippant, betraying comment here) hahaha’
I don’t think thats funny. I don’t think thats funny at all.

Back your kids man.

This world is going to have more than enough criticism, judgement and hurtful words to sling at our sons and daughters without us joining in with the chorus of it.
Even if you’re just being flippant or trying to be ‘funny’, its not cool.

Kids are trying to get by in this world just like we are.
I know for example, that I have irritating, imperfect parts of my own character that I’m trying to work on and deal with. If someone praised something good that they had seen in me in a remark to someone I trusted only to hear that trusted person tear me down with a sarcastic and cutting remark, id be devastated.
I’d feel betrayed.

I am a mother of two young men and my job is to stand by my sons, to give them strong and marvellous descriptions to grow into. So as far as anyone else is concerned? My sons are: Strong, Brave, Polite, Considerate, Insightful, Generous, Sharp and Beautiful human beings.
The times they struggle is safely kept between me and them, its not fodder for me to use to embarrass them or brush off a compliment of their character from another person.

Please don’t betray your sons and your daughters.

If someone compliments the character of your child: Tell them that you already know it. Tell them that your son, your daughter is not only what they have said he/she is, but that they are also brave, funny, a fast runner, a high jumper… the love of your life.
Children hear the words of the people they trust the most and those words move beyond their eardrums and settle deep into their spirit.

Don’t betray them.

23 responses to Don’t be a jerk to your kids


    I couldn’t agree more. Even a thankyou to the person complimenting your child goes a long way.
    People say I have great girls. I say yes, I’m very lucky. And I am.


    That’s true. All the parenting books and stuff from the ‘professionals’ say really make a bigger deal out of good behavior.


    I think I needed to read this today. I could do better in this area with my kid. You’re absolutely right.


    Thanks for the post Vanessa. It was enlightening and something that many parents do unintentionally. It takes someone as insightful, kind and sweet as yourself to stand up for the little ones who don’t know why they were just put down for something they did right. Your boys are blessed for having a mom like you. Cheers and God Bless.


    Such great advice! As a Mom of two grown children, I was always stunned when parents were so quick to be critical & negative in regards to their children. We all have good & bad days, days when are behaviour just doesn’t quite measure up. Parents included! I can’t tell you the number of times parents said to me, “just wait til they’re teenagers, they’ll drive you nuts”. I am happy to say that the teenage years were so much fun. Oh yes, there were some challenging days but isn’t that just part of life?

    At 27 & 29, our children continue to be our greatest source of joy, bringing a richness to our lives I could not have ever imagined.

    Thank you for sharing this piece.


      Oh yes, you really understand where I was coming from! It makes me so sad! I just adore my children and I know that the parents making these flippant comments also must adore their own children but like you said, its more of a social awkwardness than outright cruelty but we need to be better with our words. Kids are either 10 foot tall and bullet proof or small depending on their affirmations of their parents. I believe in backing my kids.


    You are absolutely right! It is part of selfconsciousness on the parents part, so they do0 not know how to accept a compliment gracefully, but they do not realize the harm they do when their children overhear them. I am so glad you are back. Missed your blogs.


    Lovely post. I totally agree with you on this. I can’t seem to view you blog anymore, it keeps redirecting me somewhere else, did you change your address? kindly send my the new one if you did, I love reading your posts


      Hi there! Due to taking a hiatus from writing (my life got crazy crazy for a few months there) I forgot to renew my subscription for my website hosting so my website has been parked until I can learn how to speak ‘computer’ and get it back online. Thanks for hanging in there with me, I missed writing, but I needed the break. So glad you waited 🙂


    You have hit the nail on the head, and it is so refreshing to read this. Recently I read a blog by Mia Freedman who said exactly the opposite to this, she reacted the way the parent you are talking about did, and went further on to say that praising your child makes them weak. And so many people follow her, thinking what she says is wise, but she and those following her are very misguided. I always praise my son, and people always comment on his good manners and behaviour, and how smart he is, and it makes me proud. He’s doing alright considering I am a single dad.


    Thanks for calling me out on this. I’m guilty of it myself. I have wonderful kids (mostly all adults now), and I think they know my feelings, but just because I don’t take compliments well, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get my support, especially when others say positive things. Thanks for the post. – Mosk


    As a teacher of younger children I couldn’t agree more with this!!!! Bravo!


    Absolutely brilliant…wonderful piece, every word


    Nicely said! So easy to dismiss positive things…


    Excellent post! You are a smart Mommy!!


    You shouldn’t ever betray anyone, especially those who are beloved.

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