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  1. Hi there… Hope you’re all keeping well. I’m very much guilty!!! The reason I stumbled upon this post is because I Googled about using “shut up” after my eldest son said it a lot to his little brother. And to be honest, both me and husband are guilty for saying it. For me, I grew up in a multiracial country where my siblings and my parents would speak our native language everyday, and the direct translation to the phrase “shut up” is not entirely rude depending on the way the person speaks. English is something we learn and speak to other races just as a common language, hence sometimes saying “shut up” only means we are angry, but it’s not seen as something rude. My husband on the other hand is born and brought up with English being his only language, and when we argue (as couples would), and he uses that phrase, it doesn’t bother me as much because I only see us as him being extremely angry. However, hearing my husband use it, and me not finding it extremely rude to start with, only means that we would openly use it at home to a point now our children are using it (yes, I’ve heard the little one saying it too). I only realised it was wrong when I first used it on my eldest son in front of his friend, and I see his friend’s face turned red and shocked. My eldest son was upset then, and I knew I shouldn’t have said it. Unfortunately, because that phrase seems to always be the quickest that comes out of my mouth when I’m angry, it always just slips out. Now my children are using it on each other and even to us when they’re extremely angry. My boys are 9 and 6. I wish I’m not too late to teach them to not use it anymore. I’m feeling guilty for saying it, and I hope I could reverse it. I’m not sure what my husband thinks though, but I’d rather mend my ways first before I become “the pot that calls the kettle black”. I do hope for since positivity, but I also know it’s not going to be a quick fix.

    1. Dear Srie,

      Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us. Parenting is so hard, isn’t it? Even when we strive to be perfect, we never quite seem to get there.

      You make a very good point in that culture plays a huge role in the way we raise our kids. However, if you wish to change something then perhaps a conversation with your other family members about the way you feel could be the first step? Obviously, this conversation would need to be gentle and respectful to avoid the outcome you fear (ie. being viewed as the pot calling the kettle black).

      Have you read our post on creating a family manifesto? It can help give you the info you need to approach this kind of conversation with your family so that you can find out what each family member wants.

      Also, take heart. Parenting is a very long term game and you can be certain of one thing: You will always be given the opportunity to try again. If you feel guilty about what happened, have you tried talking to your child? When I make mistakes, I apologise even though my son is only 3 and in my culture, parents never apologise to their children. However, I know now that modelling is the best way to teach a child and by apologising, I show my child that everyone must rectify their mistakes – no matter how old. 🙂

      If you’re looking for ideas on communicating with kids. I highly recommend How To Talk So Kids Will Listen.

      Good luck and enjoy the journey!

  2. I love your post and I almost cried while reading it. I agree with you that we all make mistakes as parents and we need to build better relationships with our children in order to avoid conflicts.

    My girls are 10 years and 8 years now so we have build a solid foundation where they understand when I need time to myself.

    I also have a 18 months old baby now who has changed my perspectives on parenting. I’m more determined to get it right with him. I’m glad that you mentioned books that have helped your journey and I’m keen to start reading more parenting books in order to guide my little man to be a happy, respectful and responsible man. Thanks for sharing, I have bookmarked your page. I definitely have lots to learn from you.


    1. You’re welcome, Bolupe. I’m very happy that this post has given you some valuable information! Do let me know how you get on and wish you all the best.

  3. This is a really great read! I needed this because I’m ashamed but I’m guilty, I’ve not said it a lot but the time I did is when my 11-year-old just wouldn’t take no for an answer. But as soon as I said it I immediately felt bad and wanted to take it back. I definitely didn’t use restraint at the time. She looked at me surprised and hurt and asked me not to say that again. I remember I was trying to finish up on some writing and my daughter kept talking and talking and asking for my attention, I was getting seriously annoyed because I just needed 5 minutes of silence so I could focus. So that’s what I did I turned to her and say daughter please would you just give me 5 minutes of silence so I could finish this up. She said ok turn around in her seat and started to silently under her breath started counting YES, she was going to count to 300! LOL anyway, I turned to her and asked are you counting?? Anyway, we laughed and all was fine. Great post thank you for sharing!

    1. Oh Anji, I can imagine how you felt with that constant interruption. The one thing guaranteed to set me off is when I’m trying to write – or do some other thought-intensive task – that requires silence and focus. Even worse when I’m doing said thing that has a tight deadline. It’s soooooo tempting to just say “shut up” and get on with it. In fact, like you, I gave in once or twice and was promptly rewarded with my son repeating “shut up” whilst playing with a friend.

      I felt like such a hypocrite trying to correct him afterwards.


      That said, I love how resilient children are and how they bounce back even when we’ve been so mean. Your child’s sense of humour is a thing of beauty. I love it! <3

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