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Raising kids in a world of mixes messages

Words children live by:

"Rise and shine! Get up. Get out of bed right now!" ... "Get in bed. Get in bed. Quit talking and go to sleep. Get in your bed and go to sleep immediately!" "You need to love your brothers and sister. They are your best friends forever.

Always take care of each other." ... "Get away from each other. Stop touching each other. Move away from her. Don't look at him again!"

"Don't hit him! Why did you do that? You could have hurt him. I never want to see you do that again!" ... "Why would you let him do that to you? Hit him back when he does that."

"Get in the car! Go get in the car and buckle into your seat. Are you all buckled in? Get in your car seat and buckle in! I'm leaving whether you buckle in or not!" ... "Buckle out. Everybody buckle out and get out of the car. I'm getting out. Anyone who plans to come with me needs to buckle out and get out of the car this instant."

"Put your shoes away in your closet. Hang your backpack on your peg. Go hang your jacket in the coat closet. Put your homework on the counter for me to check." ... "Why aren't you ready to go? Where is all of your stuff?"

"When you hear me call your name, you come here directly." ... "Oh, I didn't mean for you all to come running, I just wanted to find you." ... "Don't yell for me! Come find me! When you need to get my attention, say îexcuse me, Mama,' and give me a chance to answer." ... "If you say îMama' one more time I am going to scream! Cease saying my name over and over again. Ask me whatever it is you want. Just say it!"

"Stop tattling on people. Do not tell me again what she is doing. You both need to work it out with each other. Take care of it yourselves." ... "Who did this? Did you see what he did? Tell me. Why didn't you come tell me in the first place? Next time come tell me."

"Hurry up. We've got to go right now. Hurry up. We're running late. I need you to go a little faster." ... "Slow down. Quit running. You need to wait a minute."

"You are too loud. Don't yell when you talk, I can hear you fine. Use your inside voice." ... "Speak up. I can't hear you."

"Pick that up. Don't drop that there. Pick it up. Don't walk by that without picking it up. Pick it up!" ... "Put that down! Drop it. Drop it. That's yucky. Walk by it without touching it. I said put it down!"

"What did you say? What did you say? What did you say?" ... "Don't ever say that again."

"You can't just do anything you want! We have rules, you know." ... "You can be anything you want, don't let anyone tell you that you can't." Is it any wonder that they stare blankly at me 50 percent of the time I am talking to them?

Web posted on Thursday, August 5, 2004

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