By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | August 15, 2012
This week I was a witness to a huge foot-in-mouth blunder of a father who was impressed by another child’s mechanical abilities. He saw a teenager roughly the same age as his son amaze everyone by taking an electronic gadget apart, making a quick repair, then returning it good as new. Immediately the foot-in-mouth dad continued to talk on and on about this wonderfully gifted boy and then stated that he blew his son out of the water!
There is a right way and a wrong way to say something folks, and this was definitely the wrong way. There is a quote about putting your brain in gear before setting your mouth into motion. This foot-in-mouth dad never read either quote but I’m sure his wife is giving him a crash course as I write this.
What would have been appropriate? For starters, foot-in-mouth dad could have shown appropriate admiration of the young man’s abilities without hurting his own son’s feelings and self-esteem by comparing the two. If his son questioned his father it would have been better if dad has said something like, “Son, we all have gifts. That boy is good with mechanical things, like you are good at sports, science and math.”
Be aware of your child’s feelings by looking at and listening to the world through their eyes. Picture yourself in their shoes and think how you would feel. Now think about what you would have liked to hear from your own parents when you were a kid. Let those thoughts guide you as you speak to your children.