I just read the following quote on Twitter:
“The way we speak to our children becomes their inner voice”. – Peggy O’Mara
It struck me and without thinking too much about it, I retweeted it.
Then I let it sink in a bit and it didn’t sit well. There are a few problems I have with that quote.
First of all, it puts way too much pressure and responsibility on parents. I know I am raising two humans – shaping them and instilling knowledge, attitudes, and values that they will carry for their lives. That’s kind of the point. I also know that they will model my behaviour, to a certain degree, and take cues from me with respect to what is appropriate, right, and good. I get that.
However, I reject the notion that my children won’t develop their own voices, especially their inner voices – the voices that keep them awake and talk to them in their sleep. They have to be granted not only the responsibility of creating those voices, but the credit for doing so.
I have a very vocal inner voice. It rarely shuts up – about the ills of the world, or quantum theories, or the meaning of life, or why I willingly drink something that can clean my drains. It did not come from my parents; I created it. The way they spoke to me did not become my inner voice any more than the way I speak to my kids will become theirs.
I don’t need any more pressure than I am already put under as a mother and I also don’t need credit for creations that are not of my making.
Thanks anyway, Peggy O’Mara.