Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
Current Newsletter
Mixed Messages
Being a little kid must be very confusing. First of all, you’re just learning the language. Then the adults who really know the language come in with all those mixed messages.

Consider the two-year-old who has just independently taken himself to the bathroom. He’s praised profusely for being such a “big boy”. Minutes later, the adult hears a crash on the porch. The two-year-old has knocked over his big brother’s bicycle when he tried to ride it. “You can’t ride Mike’s bike. You’re too little!” Well, which is it – too big or too little? Or think about Annie, who’s six. She has been learning that it’s so bad to tell lies that she get punished when it happens. Then when the neighbor calls to talk, Dad says, “Tell him I’m not here.” What’s a kid to think?

Children are very literal. They hear exactly what we say, not what we mean. The mother who tells her child “I don’t ever want to see you hit your brother again” might be astonished when the child hits her brother again a few minutes later. Meanwhile, the hitter, who made sure Mom was nowhere in sight, can’t understand her mother’s anger. Didn’t she do just what her mom told her to do? The other thing we do is offer our children choices when there really is no choice, as in “Are you coming or not?” Consider what your child’s choice really is. It may be to come by himself or you will carry him.

On a larger scale, we decry the violence and sex we see in our society, yet we’re glued to the TV or magazines when a cop show comes on or a titillating news item is presented. At football and basketball games, it’s not the competition that challenges worthy athletes to be better than ever before that’s our focus, but the fading into oblivion for the “loser”.

Body language is a whole set of other mixed messages. We see parents discipline their child while smiling and frown while praising a treasured work of art. Other parents will ask the child about his day, but never wait even a minute to hear what the child has to say. Have you ever found yourself asking your child if she wants juice or milk – while you’re pouring the milk?

Children aren’t born knowing how to trust. It’s something they have to learn. If they can’t rely on consistency from their parents, their first partners in a relationship, how can they learn to build trusting relationships with others? Mixed messages aren’t necessary. Think about what you are really saying and about the hidden messages you might be giving your child. It’s called being an authentic adult.