Do you know what parents say to their children when they are small could have an impact on the future of the children?
I do. However, to the shock of my life, the impact is bigger than I originally thought.
This revelation dawned on me when I heard two true stories. Both gained enlightenment on their underlying problems after attending a workshop.
I hope, after reading these stories, it’s enough to convince you that you must be very careful with what you say to your child. As this has a huge relationship how your child handles himself in the future, whether at home or office.
Nothing less than perfection
My friend is a mother of two. I didn’t know about this until she told me the other day. As a mother, she always thinks she’s not done enough for her children. Including day-to-day tasks like cleaning her baby’s bottom. Her strive for perfection stops her from getting her hands dirty. She gets her husband to do everything to take care of the children except nursing. The problem is if she does, she’d think she’s not doing it well enough.
She gets upset with herself for not doing perfectly including trivial matters.
After attending a workshop, she now realized that her need for perfection traced back to what her parents said to her when she was younger.
When she came home with 95 marks from school one day, her mother didn’t say any good thing about her marks. Instead, her mom told her 95 was not good enough, she should have worked harder to get 100!
On the surface, it seems like a fair statement. Who doesn’t want a child with perfect results?
But little did her mother realize her high expectations of my friend created a perfectionist daughter. Sometimes being a perfectionist is good but over demanding yourself to excel in everything you do (big or small) is something that is definitely not healthy either.
By having known the root cause of her perfectionism, she now learns how to be more relaxed and easily satisfied with what she’s doing. In short, she lowers down her impossible-to-achieve expectations to a more practical level.
Being treated unfairly
Here’s the second story, it’s about my friend’s friend, let’s call her Mary for easy reference.
Mary is a working professional. And she has deadlines to meet. Whenever her boss gives her an assignment with a very tight deadline, she begins to have the feelings of unfairness creeping through her body. She would cry in private and wonder why she’s being treated unfairly.
She always blames herself for everything that happens to her.
On some occasions, she wanted to rise up to her unfair treatment and stand up for herself. But she just couldn’t do it. She felt weak and helpless.
Why does Mary have such feelings?
Again, when she traced back to the root of the problem, she found out that she was the less favorite child in the family because she’s a girl. In a traditional Chinese family, most parents prefer boys than girls.
Because of this belief, her parents treated her differently from her brothers. Her parents, especially her mother, criticized her even though she did the right things. Nothing she did was right in the eyes of her parents.
Mary gets nothing but scolding no matter how hard she tries…even until now.
This treatment she got when she was small gave rise to the feeling of unfairness in Mary. The feeling stays even though she does not live with her parents now. Now it is even affecting her life and career.
Is it a coincidence for these two stories? I don’t think so.
That’s how powerful it is what a parent say can do to a child’s well being when he grows up.