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6 Things I Refuse To Say To My Two-Year-Old Daughter

6 Things I Refuse To Say To My Two-Year-Old Daughter

Kids hear everything. Even when they pretend not to listen, they are taking in every word and tone and nuance that comes out of our mouths as parents.

I have a two-year-old daughter, and it becomes more and more obvious to me every day how much she is soaking up the world around her like a sponge. It is truly magical to watch her learn and explore and develop as she becomes more independent in her own little toddler body.

It is also really scary, because I’ve realized that I’m a huge part of that development.

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Everything I say gets repeated back to me right now in a beautiful, two-year-old voice. It may be a phrase I only said in passing, but she holds tight to it and repeats it over and over again for practice. She mimics my tone, my personality, my expressions. She is forming her own personality and views of the world, and, whether I like it or not, my words have a huge impact on who she will become and how she will see herself.

Here are the six things I refuse to say to my two-year-old daughter.

1. You won’t like that

I don’t want to decide for my daughter what she will and won’t like. I can assume she may spit out that bite of raw broccoli or spicy curry she’s asking for, but I want her to make the decision on her own. The same goes for listening to new music or reading a new book. Too often we make decisions for our kids, assuming we know what their preferences are. Unless it’s a safety issue, I will let my daughter explore and try different things so she can develop her own tastes and ownership over her decisions.

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2. Your daddy forgot to…

Maybe it was daddy’s turn to wash her favorite pajamas or pick up her beloved crackers from the store, but nothing good comes from me putting blame on my partner in front of my daughter. If there is something my husband and I disagree on, I’ll tell my daughter, “Daddy and I will talk about that and make a plan.” Our daughter needs to know our home and our family are constant and safe. When I talk to my daughter about mommy and daddy, it is always “we”.

3. That makes mommy look fat

About six months ago I was doing a quick check in the mirror and, without thinking, said, “Mommy has to change clothes really fast, honey. This makes her look fat today.” I wanted to pull every word back in as soon as it left my lips. I will never again say a disparaging word about my body in front of my daughter. Our society promises to inundate her with plenty of visions of what she “should” look like physically. I want her to see a mommy who loves her own body, appreciates women of all shapes and sizes, and works out to be strong rather than skinny.

4. Act like a big girl

Just this morning my daughter was crying and whining at the table, and my husband and I said, “Honey, do big girls cry at the table? Does mommy cry at the table?” Well, I have, actually. Does that mean I’m not a big girl? If I don’t know what big girls do, then I shouldn’t be asking my daughter to be one. Instead, I’ll use words and explanations with her to explain why I want her to change her behavior. “Honey, we are done eating breakfast now. There is no need to cry, because we aren’t having any more food. Let’s go play with our toys, instead.”

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There are days this will work, and days it won’t, but at least she won’t have a confusing image of some other “big” girl she thinks I want her to be.

5. You are growing up too fast

While I may spend my days wishing I could slow down the clock and soak in this time just a little longer, I will not tell my daughter that. She is too young to understand the sentiment attached to this saying. Instead, she will simply think she is doing something wrong and that I want her to change. Time is moving perfectly in her world, and she is progressing exactly as she should.

6. I love you more than anything in the world

I knew my parents loved me, but I never really understood how much until I had my own child. I think this is the way it’s meant to be. My daughter needs to know she is loved, that she is my priority, that I would do anything to protect her, that I believe in her, that I support her, and that I am always here — no matter what. She doesn’t need to think she alone is responsible for my happiness. She doesn’t need to think it is her job to make me happy. Instead of saying the truth of “I love you more than anything in the world”, I tell her “I love you this much!” and spread my arms as wide as they will go. Then, I hug her tightly while she giggles in my ear and asks for “more, mommy!”

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The words and communication styles I use with my daughter will evolve as she changes and matures. I’ll openly discuss body image and eating habits with her when she’s established her confidence and love of her own body. I’ll be open with her if her dad and I disagree, so she can see that a difference of opinion has no bearing on our love for her or our love for each other. I will look forward to the day she holds her own child and finally grasps how much I really love her.

Until then, I’ll keep these phrases tucked away and out of reach of little, hungry ears. I’ll continue to do my best to navigate this crazy world of raising a daughter. And, after she falls asleep at night, I’ll happily whisper to her, “I love you more than anything in the world.”

Featured photo credit: Greg Westfall via imcreator.com

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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

1. Always Have a Book

It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

3. Get More Intellectual Friends

Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

4. Guided Thinking

Albert Einstein once said,

“Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

5. Put it Into Practice

Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

6. Teach Others

You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

7. Clean Your Input

Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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8. Learn in Groups

Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

9. Unlearn Assumptions

You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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11. Start a Project

Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

12. Follow Your Intuition

Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

13. The Morning Fifteen

Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

14. Reap the Rewards

Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

15. Make Learning a Priority

Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

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Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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