When it comes to conversations with kids (ie. With my own AND with all other children), there are certain questions which I personally avoid.
My reasons? Well, it’s because I feel the questions will encourage the child to think / feel / view something in a way that they shouldn’t.
It’s kinda hard to explain without any concrete examples, … so let me share with you one question which I personally will never ask any children yeah.
(Actually, I won’t ask adults this question too).
Personally, I won’t ask anything that’s along the lines of:
‘Who do you love more, … your Daddy or your Mommy?’
‘Who do you think love/like/spoil you more, … your Dad or your Mom?’
‘Who do you like better, … your grandpa (Dad’s father) or your Gong-Gong (Mom’s father)?’
‘Who do you think is cuter, … baby A or baby B?’
‘Who do you love the best, … your sister or your brother?’
And here are my reasons for not wanting to ask such questions:
> I feel such a question (indirectly) puts children in a position that encourages them to unconsciously make an unnecessary (‘unhealthy’?) choice between two options.
I mean, it’s NOT like we’re asking them if they like bananas more than they like apples, if they like red colour better than blue colour, or if they like the story of ‘Cinderella’ better than ‘Red Riding Hood’ (which obviously are totally okay)
To me, such a question in a way encourages the child to ‘favour’ one relationship over another.
> Children should love both parents (at least, they should learn / be encouraged to love both parents equally). And I personally feel all children should NOT be made to question, compare then decide which parent loves them ‘more’ (because in other words, we’re asking them to decide which parent actually loves them ‘less’)
[Note: Even if a child somehow feels one parent loves him more than the other parent, I still feel such a thought should not be emphasised nor further developed]
> I personally feel children should be encouraged to love all their siblings too, and not asked to pick one over another, ie. regardless of whether the question was jokingly asked or not.
> Children should not be encouraged to judge / decide which person/friend/cousin is ‘cuter’, or ‘smarter’, or ‘richer’, or ‘better’ too. They should instead be encouraged to see other people in terms of their strengths (and not their weaknesses), and to value relationships and friendships.
Anyway, it’s a personal thing.
Like, I always tell Anya and Vai that Mommy and Daddy love them both equally, how they both need to always love their family and look out for each other as siblings, and how they need to learn to respect other people as well.
But then of course, through the years, we’ve encountered others who asked such questions to our children (in a joking manner usually). Such a situation is inevitable and I’m personally fine with it (ie. We can’t filter everything that takes place in our kids’ lives). When such a situation happens and we’re around to hear it being asked to the kids, I’d smile and tell the kids how we BOTH love them, and subtly distract or divert the conversation.
I guess, at the end of the day, what’s more important is the kind of values / principles / teachings that we parents instill in our children and how we ourselves ‘walk our talk’ and learn to continually be a living example to our little ones?
Care to share your thoughts on this one?