Morning friends and welcome to a new week. I am here today to discuss the 11th Commandment of Rights-Based Communication with Children: Do not Employ Sarcasm. The truth is that it is in the character of many caregivers to speak to children with sarcasm. From my research, I have found that there are three major reasons, why caregivers speak to children in sarcasm. The first is when the caregiver is frustrated or angry. The second is when the caregiver just wants to play the game of mischief and the third is when the caregiver believes, he is helping the child to think for himself or decode complex things.
All the three are not acceptable and they do not help the child at all. In fact they mislead the child. What do you do when you are angry or frustrated with a child? You employ discipline and hold yourself and reschedule the discussion with the child. In most cases, we resort to sarcasm in communication with our children, when they ask us questions at a time when we are frustrated or angry. The children are not even the cause of our frustration. They just happen to be at the receiving end. I advise that we take it easy with our children. We should endeavour to answer their questions properly and if for whatever reason, we are not able to answer their questions immediately or we believe we are not in a good frame of mind to answer their questions, we should reschedule the discussion. As I have postulated before, we should not only reschedule, we must make it a point of duty to have the rescheduled discussion.
We cannot afford to be sarcastic with children and claim to be playing mischief. The unfortunate thing is that the children always believe us. While we think we are joking, they believe we are serious. Let me share this story with you on a lighter mood: a boy of 4 years old asked the father, ‘daddy, what does it mean to urinate?’ The father responded, ‘it means to whisper.’ The boy believed the father. One day they were in a party together. Then the boy went to the father and said, ‘daddy, I want to whisper.’ Without blinking the father said, ‘whisper to my ears now.’ Immediately the child urinated into the father’s ears.
We cannot also speak to children with sarcasm, believing that we are teaching them to think or decode complex issues. If we want to teach children to think, we teach them to answer the questions for themselves, which they asked us and we believe they should be able to answer considering their age and exposure. I have discussed that in this series. On a more serious note now, I will like to share with you a true life story that nearly cost a teacher his job. The teacher had come to the class to teach the children and give them instructions on their forthcoming examinations. One of the pupils asked him, ‘should we show others our answers in the examination hall?’ The teacher responded, ‘yes now, show your friends.’ That particular pupil was caught during the examination showing her answers to her friend. When she was asked why she did that, she simply said, ‘our teacher said, we could show our friends.’ The teacher was immediately invited and he denied ever saying that. The pupil requested to call her class mates as witnesses. All of them were called and they testified that the teacher said so. The teacher had himself to blame.
You see, to children, we must always find the wisdom and the skill to communicate what we mean and mean what we communicate. This is very important. If the teacher in our story was trying to be mischievous, he was playing the game with the wrong set of people, who are naturally at home with mischief. If he was trying to teacher them to know the obvious, he employed the wrong method to teach a group of people, who do not understand such method and even when they understand, they pretend not to.
Lastly, when we speak to children with sarcasm, we teach them to do same. Children are very good at one thing: they are very good at following examples. They do not process the example they follow, they just follow. Therefore we must beware. We must MIND OUR LANGUAGE.
I think I should sign out here. Thank you for visiting today. Sure you learnt one or two things on how to Think the CHILD…Think TODAY and Think the FUTURE.
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