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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 September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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