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The Hidden Messages We Give Our Children

Hanz’s Note : I am sharing an excerpt from my current book read, ‘The Natural Child’ by Jan Hunt (2001). Read on. And do ponder how true these situations are norm in our societies in the past & today.


What we say: “No more nursing. You’re too big for that now!”

What we think: “I’d like to continue, but I can’t stand all the criticism from my relatives.”

What the child thinks: “I’ve just lost the most important thing in my life, the long periods of cuddling & the food that felt best inside me. I must have done something terrible. I must be a terrible person.”

What we say 20 years later: “Why are you binging too much?”

Age Two

What we say: “You can’t come into our bed anymore. You won’t be lonely. Look, here’s a nice big teddy bear to keep you company!”

What we think: “Grandma thinks there’s something wrong with having you in our bedroom. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s more important for us to please her than to please you. Anyway, this teddy bear should make you happy.”

What the child thinks: “It isn’t fair! They get to cuddle with a real person. They don’t know me very well. They don’t care about my feelings. Oh well, at least they gave me this bear.”

What we say 20 years later: “I know you’re upset that Tom broke off with you, but is that any reason to overcharge your credit card like this? Will all this stuff make you feel better that someone left you? When did you become so materialistic?

Age Four

What we say : “You know you’re not supposed to hit your brother! I’ll give you a spanking you’ll never forget!”

What we think: “There must be a better way to handle this, but it’s what my dad did, so it must be right.”

What the child thinks: “I was so upset with my brother I hit him. Now, Dad is so upset with me for hitting, he’s hitting me. I guess it’s okay for adults to hit, but not for kids. I wonder what I should do when I get upset? Oh well, one of these days I’ll be an adult myself.”

What we say 20 years later : “Fight at college? Adults don’t hit people just because they’re upset. I never taught you to resort to violence!”

Age Six

What we say: “Well, this is a big day for you. Don’t be afraid. Just do everything your teacher says.”

What we think: “Please don’t embarrass me by acting up at school!”

What the child thinks: “But I’m afraid! I’m not ready to leave them for so many hours a day! They must be getting tired of me. Maybe if I do what the teacher says, they’ll like me better & let me stay home.”

What we say 20 years later: “What?! Your friends talked you into taking drugs? Do you do what everybody else tells you to do? Don’t you have a mind of your own?”

Age Eight

What we say : “Your teacher says you aren’t paying attention in class. How will you ever learn anything important?”

What we think: “If my kid never amounts to anything, I’ll feel like a failure.”

What the child thinks: “If I’m not interested in the things the teacher talks about, but I guess she knows best. The things that do interest me must not be important.”

What we say 20 years later : “You’re 28 years old & you still don’t know what you want to do with your life? Aren’t you interested in anything?”

January 15, 2010 - Posted by | Adore NATURAL PARENTING, Lifestyle on Parenting, Notes on EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION, Notes on READING and BOOKS


  1. nice one hanz!!!! thanx for sharing..

    Comment by l i e y n | January 15, 2010 | Reply

  2. never tot that things can be so complicated for such small matter kan?

    Comment by Confession of a Coffeeholic Mama-Miya | January 15, 2010 | Reply

  3. Hanz,Mcm selalu berlaku, tapi tak sangka impact nya besar. susah sebenarnya nak jadi parents yg baik ni..huhu

    Comment by unlisted_one | January 15, 2010 | Reply

  4. x sangka macam tu sekali side efeknya.huhuhu

    Comment by e.l.i.s.s.m.i.e | January 15, 2010 | Reply

  5. interesting kanns.. ehehe salamm akak hanz tewww

    Comment by en_me | January 15, 2010 | Reply

  6. aah.. xsangka besar impaknye mcm tu skali.. hmpph.. something for us mommies to ponder kan.. riso riso.. mmg apa yg kite ckp main peranan yg besar pd anak kan..

    Comment by 5577 | January 15, 2010 | Reply

  7. hanz can u bring that book on sunday, i nak cari jugak la pleasseee pretty please with extra cherries on top!?

    Comment by Jiji | January 15, 2010 | Reply

  8. erm..baca entry ni buat i tarik nafas panjang…nice sharing…kena pastikan i kena fikir dari sudut anak2, bukan dr sudut adult

    Comment by yatie chomeyl | January 15, 2010 | Reply

  9. interesting hanz…. but do kids actually can think like that? i wonder…

    Comment by mama danial and eva | January 15, 2010 | Reply

  10. Very humbling examples, a good reminder to all.

    Comment by Naz | January 15, 2010 | Reply

  11. A good post! love this, parents tends to blame others for the kids behavior but sometimes, they are just our reflections and learn things from us , the parents.Thanks for sharing

    Comment by Sandra@miabambina | January 16, 2010 | Reply

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