Treating our children as we do our guests

Where do we start if we are to improve communication with children? By examining how we respond. We even know the words. We heard our parents use them with guests and strangers. ...

What do we say to a guest who forgets her umbrella? Do we run after her and say, "What is the matter with you? Every time you come to visit you forget something. If it's not one thing it's another. Why can't you be like your younger sister? When she comes to visit, she knows how to behave. You're forty-four years old! Will you never learn? I'm not a slave to pick up after you! I bet you'd forget your head if it weren't attached to your shoulders." That's not what we say to a guest. We say, "Here's your umbrella, Alice," without adding, "scatterbrain."

Parents need to learn to respond to their children as they do to guests.

—Haim Ginott

Jesse McCarthy