There is a word in our house that is not allowed.


adjective \ˈstü-pəd, ˈstyü-\

Definition of STUPID

1        a : slow of mind : obtuse
b : given to unintelligent decisions or acts : acting in an unintelligent or careless manner
c : lacking intelligence or reason : brutish

It has never been acceptable, and we treat it like a dirty word. I do not have stupid children, we do not watch stupid shows, there is no such thing as a stupid question and the grown-ups do not have stupid rules.

The same rule pretty much stands for idiot, dummy, and any other variation of the word. In general, this rule also applies to the grownups, and believe me, it’s harder than you think to avoid use of the word in certain situations.

Lately, however, whenever my children have difficulty meeting a certain expectation, shall we say (i.e., NOT yelling at mummy or making their bed), or when they have a frustrating day at school, that nasty word pops up, but in a usage that is new for us.

I’m so STUPID!!!”

In some cases, it is obvious that someone had a bad day and is waiting for an effusive response of “No you’re not, you’re a clever boy/girl, really lovely and we love you loads, blah blah blah” to give them a boost.  (Not that I don’t want to help them cheer up, but I think there are healthier ways to do it.) Other times I know someone is feeling bad about themself, given a particularly bad behavior, and he/she is  looking for a boost to their self-confidence (which I’m not necessarily going to give after having someone shout at me because I can’t pick out the right socks for him/her.)

It’s also annoying because the writer side of my brain says “boring!  You can come up with a more accurate/creative adjective than that”. I’ve told Boo to go get his thesaurus and find me a better word to use. *seriously*

I’ve been working hard on praising the action/result and not the child – as in “what a lovely use of color” instead of “you are the BEST artist ever”. I’ve also been trying to downplay the negative behavior and acknowledge the positive behaviors.

As such, I know the recommended response to this situation is a gentle “no, you’re not” and then quickly moving on to something else. Deflect and redirect, right?

But of late, it’s been a bit trying. Perhaps it is just the stress of living on top of each other, feeling in limbo as we wait to get into our house, and impatience for that time to arrive, but there is so much squabbling going on you’d think there was a gaggle of little old ladies living here and not a 7-year-old and a 9-year-old. It’s doing my head in.

I am beyond annoyed at how frequently I’m hearing “I’m SOOOO stupid” because I know they don’t really think that way. They’re not. They know they are clever and intelligent. They know I know, too.

Making out like they aren’t?

Well, now that is stupid  ridiculous.

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