Kids Should Be Seen and Not Heard

Kids Should Be Seen and Not Heard

kids should be seen and not heard How many of you were told by your elders that “kids should be seen and not heard”? My hand is raised, and I’ll bet many of yours are too.

I usually only heard this when there was a get-together at our house. I didn’t understand what it meant then, but now I know it was something my parents said when they wanted to have an uninterrupted conversation.

Because I was born sensitive and contemplative I questioned this aphorism. Why should kids be seen and not heard, I thought. What does that even mean?

I thought it was some sort of universal law, like the sun rises in the morning and sets at night. But it didn’t make sense to me because I could talk, and if I could talk why wasn’t I allowed to? How old did I have to be before I could talk? Why could I talk some of the time but not all of the time? When was it appropriate to talk, and how would I know when it was?

The funny thing is, I never asked my parents any of these questions. If I had, I wonder what they would have said. Would they have brushed me off, telling me “it’s just a saying”? Can you imagine how a kid like me would have dissected that? Were they aware that it’s not “just a saying” but that it has a deeper meaning? Were they conscious of its deeper meaning or did they only know that they wanted me to leave them alone?

In a perfect world my parents would have mentored me, explaining that they needed time to connect with their friends uninterrupted, and that it had nothing to do with my being a kid. In a perfect world they would have coached me on respect and etiquette instead of using a tired old cliche’.

When you’re in a learning phase the pendulum always swings too far to the other side at first, and with my own kids I tend to explain too much to them. Because I always wanted answers as a kid I assume they do too, but sometimes they’ll say, “Uhhhh, TMI Mom!” (too much information).

I’m working on toning it down, but I firmly believe that all kids would benefit from being mentored, not dismissed. Which leads me to my next article; Don’t Discipline Your Kids, Mentor Them! Stay tuned and sign up below to receive my blog!

Denise Barry is the award winning author of the children’s picture books “What Does the Tooth Fairy Do with Our Teeth?”and “Soap On A Rope.” Her middle grade book; “Sweeney Mack and the Slurp and Burp Competition” is in the works, so watch for that! Denise is also an inspirational writer whose work has been featured on various websites including best-selling self-help author Karen Salmansohn, and in the best-selling book Watch Her Thrive: Stories of Hope, Courage and Strength. She lives in Buffalo, NY with her husband and kids. Please visit her website by clicking here.

2 Responses to Kids Should Be Seen and Not Heard

  1. My Mom said this many times to me, until I learned it. I felt unworthy of speaking in front of adults clear into my twenties and somewhat into my thirties. I started questioning why I was so uncomfortable speaking with “adults” when I chronologically was an adult. I didn’t feel like one, yet I was about 24 and a divorced Mom. Plenty of adultness there! I, too, let the pendulum swing too far the other way and just let my daughter talk away. I tried to teach her to not interrupted and I may have said this cliché’ ounce or twice out of desperation, but not much more than that. I wish I had known to “mentor” rather than hit either of the far swings of the pendulum, but I didn’t know what that looked like. I didn’t have those tools and didn’t know where to get them.

    • Please don’t beat yourself up Kathy! Forgive yourself instead because you did the best you could. You did better than your Mom, and your kids will do better than theirs 😉 That’s the way it goes. Thanks so much for the input.

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