If you often read my articles then you know I almost always write what I think!
I therefore risk once again to attract the wrath of super conventional readers!
The end-of-year celebrations are an opportunity to meet many people and see family and friends again. But it’s also, with some people, a time of tension… Innuendos or very direct advice and recommendations are things that always offend me in conversations. Personally, I prefer people who speak clearly to those who use words with hidden meaning! At least that allows me to answer clearly too!
But there is something else that I must admit: I can’t stand people who talk about subjects they don’t know about or activities they’ve never done!
If you’re talking about something you don’t know then you’re not in present time! You are just extrapolating! You just talk about your fantasies! If some parents are disappointed with parenthood, it’s because they’ve been living in the fantasy of the baby to come! Every time someone advises you on something he doesn’t know, it’s an extrapolation! And a waste of your time!
It’s funny, since 1999, the year I started to practice in relational communication, I noticed this, in my surroundings: It’s always people who have very thin, shabby hair, or who are bald who tell you how to take care of your hair! Laughs. It is people who are very greedy and overweight who explain to you how to eat a balanced diet! It’s the single women or the spinsters who would like to explain to you how a couple or a romantic story works, or who say they know men better than you… And worst of all: it’s the people without children who would like to explain to you how to raise yours! That is crazy!
To answer these people I have one question, only one: “Seriously? And when was your last practical exercise?” Suffice to say that this puts an end to the controversy in 90% of cases! But in 10% of cases, the person answers: “It’s not because I don’t have children that I don’t know how to raise them!” This is gross nonsense of course! Why ? because there is confusion between “raising” and “framing”. Some childless people think that to have obedient and fulfilled children it is enough to trust them and to frame them. In reality education is not 5 minutes of framing or reframing, it is 20 years of that! This therefore requires having at your disposal more than one way of doing things!
My friend Betty is a little rough around the edges. She is a woman who, by dint of living only with her horses, has become a little boorish and vulgar. When children from her village come to pet her horses, she comes out and yells at them: “What the hell are you, kids, doing?” The children are very afraid of her so they run away! And Betty deduces that she “knows how to frame and manage children very well”! So she thinks about adoption… OMG! When she comes to my house and my 6-year-old son cries or throws a tantrum, she says to him nastily in a loud voice: “Well, what’s this circus!” then turning to me: “You see, that’s how you have to talk to kids!” She seems absolutely unaware that if her scary schemes work it’s precisely because they aren’t HER children!
One of my acquaintances, who has no lovers nor children and who has never worked, recently wanted to advise me on the studies of my eldest! She was flabbergasted that I did not plan to let him go, at 17, to study at the other end of the country. I told her that he lacked too much autonomy at the moment and that since he was often sick, I still had to take care of him a lot. I added that he will be going away to study in a few years, after passing his university degree. But she kept saying it was me who had a problem! What’s really funny is that this friend is 50 years old and she is still dependent on her father’s money! She is unable to pay her rent but she would find it absolutely normal that my 17 year old son could do that!
Another acquaintance of mine, a distant cousin, has been single since she was 20. She is now over 50. She has never had children, by choice. Yet she also tells me what to do with my eldest son! She has many ideas which, of course, are completely inapplicable once taken out of her imagination…
There is worse than that! Some schoolmistresses are in their sixties, single without children, and do not really know the vagaries of family life! They know how to teach a child to read, write and count and how to motivate him, yet some conversations prove that they have absolutely no idea what a busy family life with two children is like!
In fact, people who want to advise you on raising your children when they don’t have any have a very limited blueprint of family life in their heads. They remember how they were brought up by their parents and that is their only reference. It is a reference that they try to apply to you, it or its reverse, depending on the relationship they have maintained with their parents.
They also judge the way you educate your children over a few hours, two to three times a year. They don’t live with you and don’t understand that when guests are at home, you are not in the role of educator!
It is absolutely necessary to reframe people who give you advice about an area they do not know!
I suck at math! I would therefore have no idea to give advice about that! In the same way people who do not have children should abstain from giving advice to parents who have raised two, three or four children! It is a matter of common sense!
The best thing is to reframe these people. If they tell you “I am appalled at the way you raise your children”, you must answer them: “I am appalled that a person who does not have children dares to give his opinion on the subject”. End. Cropping is the golden rule. Only you know how to educate your children, with a little common sense and empathy, respecting the rules of politeness, hygiene etc.
For those who write to me about this problem, I hope that 2023 brings you the strength and the courage to reframe the people who disrespect you and who, at the same time, dispossess you of your role as parents!