As the weather was pleasant, I took my toddler son out to a park recently so that we could both get some sunshine.
I began enjoying myself as the playground was filled with the laughter and cheers of children, but then I was suddenly taken aback as I overheard someone yelling.
I looked around and spotted a couple and their son, who looked like he was no more than four. The father was shouting at the sobbing boy and demanding him to stop crying at once.
The angry shouts of the father did not work, but only made the poor boy cry even more loudly.
“Why do you always cry? Stop now or you stay here alone forever,” the father roared.
The boy was probably petrified at the dad’s words, as he was seen biting his lips and trying to tone down his sobbing as much as possible. It was a very heartbreaking scene to witness.
And there was more, as I noticed another disturbing incident involving a child and an elder.
A little girl who seemed to be in distress rushed to her caretaker in a bid to get some comfort. But shockingly, the caretaker turned the child away, adding to the kid’s agony.
I am not aware of what exactly lay behind the incident, but it was painful to watch.
Whatever the reason, children shouldn’t be treated in the ways that I had the misfortune of witnessing that day at the park.
The elders should bear in mind that words are powerful. They can motivate kids, but can also ruin them if used improperly.
With regard to the two incidents, I can only conclude that the two adults might not have been very well educated. Their cruel words can have a damaging and long-lasting negative impact on the children.
Speaking for myself, I can still recall very vividly what people said to me, be it praise or criticism, around 30 years ago when I was a little girl.
As we are all emotional beings, we can have a slip of the tongue and say something that we do not really mean.
However, as parents, we ought to be more careful and try not to hurt the kids’ feelings or their sense of self-worth.
We might quickly forget what we say, but the words could linger in the hearts and minds of the kids, remaining as unpleasant or traumatic memories for life.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec. 22.
Translation by Darlie Yiu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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