Language is important. It matters. It matters what we say. It matters how we say it. And while this does not mean we need to go crazy and analyze every-single-word-we-have-ever-said, it means that whatever we say to (and in front of) our children will also matter to them. We get emotional, we say things we later wish we hadn’t, sure. But there are certain areas, where disrespectful words are not a matter of emotions, are not necessary, and are harmful.
We’ve said that before, and we’ll say that again – we love diaper changes around here. Really. We think they are truly valuable times, times of connection. So hearing comments like these makes us really sad, and here is why:
‘Ewwww, your diaper is smelly.’
Yes, poop smells. Mine does too, by the way. Wouldn’t it be oh-so-lovely to have our poop smell like roses? Sure it would! Imagine though how embarrassing it would be if someone walked into the toilet after you and commented on the smell. Not so nice, right?
The hidden (well, not so well-hidden) message our child might be getting is that his bodily functions are not pleasant for us. That somehow the way his body works is ‘smelly’ and so he should be ashamed of it. This sends a powerful message about the body and how we treat it – we all want our children to respect their (and others’) bodies, to know that they are respect-worthy – here is where we can really have an impact on how our children see themselves.
‘Oh wow, look he is pooping, look at that funny face he’s making!’
Seriously, put a mirror in front of you when you are on the toilet – yes, we all try to look our best most times, and there is a reason (well, more than one reason) why we sit on the toilet behind closed doors. Yes, it is private. Yes, it is something you would not really want to do in front of other people. Our babies don’t have that luxury yet – let’s support them, not ridicule them.
Making fun of a child is one of the most powerful ways to break him. To make him feel really badly about himself. Above all – it is plain cruel.
‘Oh no you pooped again, now I have to change you.’
We love diaper changes around here. Really, we do – have a look at our previous posts if you don’t believe it :) There are times when it’s not the best timing, sure – we are in a hurry, almost out the door and of course that’s when the diaper needs to be changed. But with all honesty – hasn’t it happened to all of us one time or another? We need to catch that bus and suddenly we also need to go to the toilet really badly.
We take care of our children because we love them so much. Because they cannot yet do it for themselves. Because too soon they will be able to do it all by themselves and changing diapers will be a sweet memory.
The message our children might be getting hearing disrespectful comments like the ones above, is this: Taking care of you is not pleasant for me, it is annoying. I wish I didn’t have to do it. Powerful, right? Also, a little scary…
Language is important
[P]eople will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. (Maya Angelou)
Considering our diaper-related language is important. We send powerful messages to our children, messages that our children treat very seriously, that might stick with them for life. Talking about body, its functions and the way it behaves, leaves a mark on how our children will see themselves and how they will build their self-image. It will influence how they feel about themselves, and how they think others should think and feel about them. Talking about this in an unpleasant, disrespectful way might also create problems with future toilet use.
So yeah, mamas and papas – let’s all respect the diapers!