Monday, October 7, 2013

Watch Your Language

   And I don't mean 4-letter words. While there are some swear words I'd rather Perrin not use because of the connotation (i.e. the sexual implication of f*ck), cursing is waaayyyy down on my list of concerns for my son. So what kind of language am I talking about? Well...

   Gendered language. I have already lost count of how many times some one has told me about what to expect from Perrin or how Perrin will act or what kind of child he will be solely based on the fact that he has a penis. Stop it. Just...stop. There are no...I repeat...NO differences between boys and girls, other than anatomy, that are biological. Everything else is learned behavior. The only reason he will ever be black-boxed into any of those behaviors is through having it drilled into him by all of you people. So cut it out.

   Sexualized language. Perrin is not "flirting" with the little girl at the grocery store. He is being social. The girl in baby group is his friend (I guess, he could hate her guts for all I know) not his "girlfriend". He is not a "stud" or "hot" or anything else. He is 3 months old. Not only are you applying an adult sexuality to my INFANT, you are assuming heterosexuality. Stop it.

   Valuated language. Don't ask me if my baby is a "good" baby. Don't tell me he is spoiled. Don't tell him he did a good job or congratulate him for being quiet in any given situation. He is a baby. He could scream his head off for an hour straight in the middle of your great-grandmother's eulogy. He is still a "good" baby and he is behaving normally. His self-value is not dependent on your opinions of what infant behavior should be. My parenting skills are not judged based on your evaluation of his behavior.

   Shaming language. Don't be a bully. Period. Don't tell my kid he should be ashamed or embarrassed or feel silly or any other drivel that people come up with because you have an opinion on the clothes he wears, toys he plays with, things he likes, whatever.

   I know, I know. His brain is tiny. He doesn't have a clue what we are all saying, so I just need to come off it, right? That would be great, but I have a few problems with that type of thinking. Habits are hard to break. If you are saying these things around him now, it's going to be harder to stop saying them later. Practice makes perfect, so get to it and stop saying dumb shit in front of my kid. Also, it's not like he is going to wake up one morning and be all "Oh, I understand what you people are saying now! Right on!" The shift will be gradual and there it will not be apparent when he starts absorbing these types of social cues. And children are ALWAYS absorbing these cues. I remember, verbatim, some of the comments that adults made to me when I was very little. They probably forgot seconds later but some of those things stayed with me. So, I would like to rein in the bad ones and give him some more well-rounded material to work with. Okay?

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