Whether you are single and have no children of your own or considering dating someone with children, there are some things you just don’t say if you hope to have a great relationship with a mom.
One. “I would never…”
Every mother is different in the way she handles issues when it comes to her children. What you might consider wrong, offensive, rude, or downright crazy, in her mind, she may not think so. Consider this, if what she is doing is that bad, you might want to talk with a professional to see if you can get some help for her. But if what she is doing is really no different than most mothers, then your personal thoughts on what you “would never do" are yours alone and should be kept to yourself.
Two. “If that were my child…”
Once again, another personal opinion of what one believes he or she would do in a similar situation. If you don’t want conflict with a doting mother or would rather not be ignored by her, don’t begin giving unsolicited advice with, “If that were my child…” rather ask, “Would you mind me asking you something about what you just did?”
Three. “I have watched children so I know…”
Some people claim to be an authority when it comes to parenting children because, “I watched my brothers and sisters…I have a couple of my own…” How one trains his or her children may get desired results for that family, but not so much for someone else’s, especially when a son or daughter has been trained by a parent to act a certain way for years. Sometimes it isn’t the fault of the mother when a child continues to perform in negative ways after being scolded numerous times, consider the father, in-laws, and others who are involved in the child’s life who encourage negativity. When you see something bothering you about a child, and you call the mother’s attention to it, don’t argue with her when you see she is becoming defensive. Chances are, she is already upset that the child is behaving the way he or she is and doesn’t need an argument from a witness too.
Four. “Have you ever thought about how your child might feel…”
Although this is thought of as a nice way of bringing something up about a child to a parent to some who assume they know what's best, it just might turn into a big deal with many mothers. It all depends on what you say afterward that will either win friends or cause World War III. So be sure that what you are about to say is worth the possible tongue lashing that might follow. There are many mothers that actually spend far too much time appeasing their children, acknowledging feelings, and giving them what they want. Be certain that before you say something like this, she isn’t one of those mothers that is already doing far too much to protect her child’s feelings.
Five. “I have a degree in…”
If you want to turn a mother off completely, start talking about your professional background when she is trying to manage her children, household, career, and more! The last thing one should ever do, not just with a mother, but anyone is spout off one’s knowledge. When someone is obviously struggling with many things, she doesn’t need a mouth, she needs a helping hand preferably with a gift that makes her job easier, helps out with her household, and keeps the children busy.
We can be too quick to speak sometimes, because we think we know what’s best. When you are in the presence of a mother with children, do more observing and less talking. Let her share her stories. You will find the longer you listen to her, the more likely you will find that she has a reason why she says what she says and does what she does when it comes to parenting her children. One way to communicate a message is to give her a phone number, a flier, or a business card that leads her to some help if you think she needs it or offer your service while expecting nothing in return.
When we take a moment to put ourselves in someone else's shoes, it makes a world of difference in our relationships with others.
Nicholl McGuire is the author of When Mothers Cry
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