During the 15 days period of Chinese/Lunar New Year, many Chinese families will pay a visit to family and friends (traditionally known as 拜年, translated as pay respect).
About a week back, an elder auntie came over to my place with my in-laws for a visit. I was busy keeping an eye on my little boy, while my older girl who is turning 4 years old soon sat quietly (just woke up from her nap) at the dining area doing her coloring. I heard the auntie asked her a couple of questions and suddenly this auntie said "stupid（笨蛋）" to my daughter. Immediately, with a look of horror and shock I told her "how can you make such comment at my daughter?!" "Why do you speak negative comment at her???!!!"
My daughter may not have answered all her questions (i.e. do you know how to sing this song?) and/or requests (i.e. sing her a song), but it doesn't gives her the right to verbally abuse my daughter.
It may just ended there. But... the auntie questioned me and said: "Why can't I said that (referring to her negative comment)?" And... she went on to say that children cannot be praised.
The auntie did not even apologize for her rudeness and unacceptable comment! This is the FIRST time I have bad encounter with an elder who speak negatively at my children right in FRONT of my presence. (Argh! Aarrrgghh!!!)
I am not being over protective over my children. Kind words help; cruel words hurts. It's as simple as that. I find that a negative label or words spoken can dangerously cut and hurt a child. My girl may think of herself that way, undermining her confidence.
When you are about to say something, think about your words before you say it, not after. This is not about children cannot be praised, but rather how should parents praise their children? I believe that effective praises encourage and motivate children to work harder, and have a positive outlook on their abilities.
What would you do you were in my situation or someone speaks negatively into your children's life?