Negative examples are an excellent way to parent. We see something awful or hear something that makes us cringe, and we are shamed into becoming a better parent.
This weekend we were at a birthday party, and one of the attendees was a shy little boy. He was so shy, that he was fighting back tears when his mom urged him to join the other children. After several attempts to nudge him over and across the room, she squatted next to him and in a terse voice began to chastise:
Do you see what you are doing? You are being different!
I blocked out the rest of her lecture because my brain completely stuttered on the world different. Of all the things she could have said to him, that was the word she chose? To make him feel badly for being different than the other kids? He's four years old for fucks sake! The damage this woman is wreaking on her son turns my stomach. He is either going to grow up to be the biggest sheep with no opinion of his own, or go so far off the path her head will spin around. Different? I'll show you different.
A little friendly reminder to be conscious of the things I say to my little ones. They are so vulnerable, and even when they act like little assholes they don't deserve to be belittled.