Have you ever noticed that there are many articles and posts about „Things not to say“ to all kind of people: cops, girls, men, (ex-) girlfriends, (ex-) boyfriends, friends with children, childless friends, pregnant women, to a dj, to a PhD student, at a job interview etc. ?
To be honest, I would rather like to read lists with „things to say“ to all these different groups. We can find those too, but somehow they don’t appear that often in blogs or newspapers and they don’t talk about all the topics the „things not to say“ do.
Negative facts and topics attract more people, but don’t we feel sad if we read and focus always the negative things to do, to say etc.?
Why keeping it negative and pointing at what we surely don’t want to hear? Personally, I practice positive reinforcement techniques with my children and friends, and this is probably affecting my whole life.
I would rather positively reinforce behavior with a pleasant feeling for the payoff. Therefore I propose to start lists about „things to say“ instead.
I found one post about what not to say to someone with „Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome… And what we’d like to hear instead“. This is a very good example to start with.
Here is my list with „5 Things to say to a twin mum“:
1) Twins! That’s double pleasure!
It is, even if the first 2-3 years can be really hard. The pleasure is double! The satisfaction to see two babies lying next to eachother in the crib or playing together, trying to talk to eachother for the first time, making their first steps; this whole experience is so heartwarming that all the sleepless nights, all the worries become insignificant.
2) One kid for free!
Somehow it is true. It really feels like a bargain: one pregnancy, two children. One child „for free“.
3) There are probably twins in your family: did this help you a bit?
Yes, usually there are twins in the family and if you had the opportunity to get to know them and to know the situation they were raised in, this really helps.
4) I can imagine the surprise when you discovered you were expecting twins!
Oh yes. Luckily I was already lying down…
5) I always wanted to have twins too…
I know that most of the people who say this, really did wish to have twins. And this kind of remark makes every twin mum – even if the pregnancy wasn’t the easiest one – feel very special.
Categories: Parenting, Raising Twins
It is very interesting to see the different perspectives about having twins. Babble has a post on what not to say to parents of twins, and many things you would like to hear were on the list as well! They also have a series called: ” What (enter your situation here) want you to know”. I might consider my own “What to say to parents of multilingual children”-it’s just that some comments are so idiotic, and through such posts it is possible to vent all the frustration. Sometimes, such posts offer alternatives, ‘What to say instead”- I found that negative comments resonate a lot with many people in the same situation- writing “what to say” wouldn’t get you the same spontaneous reaction. Also, the same people these posts are directed at usually don’t read them, they’re more targeted at people who are in the same situation.
Olga, thanks for sharing your point of view. I’ve read Babble’s post and also the series. I’m looking forward to your post about “What to say to parents of multilingual children” (I have already some points in mind). I know that most of the comments are frustrating, and that’s exactly what I want to avoid. We read these posts because we’re already frustrated and become even more frustrated after having read them. That makes no sense. – I prefer the posts with the “what to say instead” option. I know that “what to say” will not have spontaneous reactions. But it will make people think. And if I can bring somebody to think about it, to reflect about it, I’ve reached my target.
I don’t think that these posts aren’t read by the people they are directed at. I did read some of them to know more about how friends who have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome would react comments. I’ve also read some about how to talk to parents who’ve lost a child or who were fighting against a chronic desease: they were helpful, but I really would have needed a list with positive examples…
It is so trueee why people are always more attracted from negative things rather than positive???
I am normally a positive person who is seeking always the positive side of everything ..is it possible to spread my positive energy around and among people??!
Brava ute for delivering wonderful hints for twins mums!!!
Hello Simonetta! Welcome to my blog! I think it is possible to spread the positive side. It’s more difficult because most of the people find negative ones more appealing, more effective because you don’t really have to think. People just have to react, to follow the herd.
Positive things need more thinking and a certain amount of intelligence most of the people forget to use while reading (or listening or watching…) the news.
Grazie Simonetta, mi fa tanto piacere ritrovarti anche qui!!! Baci xxx
I like the positive nature of this post. I will keep these comments in my mind next time I meet someone with twins.
Thank you very much for your feedback! I hope this helps you – please let me know how the reaction of the next person with twins you’ll meet is, ok?
Interesting. When I read the “What not to say to…” posts I didn’t become frustrated. Instead, I felt understood, that I am not the only one who is annoyed about these comments and I was actually happy to read that other people felt the same way. I was also furious because these things were said to other people. I think it’s more like a support group- that’s why these posts are so popular. Also, they are easier to write because we can fall back on our own experiences rather than come up with something new (but it’s not an entirely bad thing). Maybe a good way to do this is: “to write a spontaneous “What not to say” post and then a “what to say instead?” this way, you can have both- the spontaneity and the thoughtfulness. I am working on my post right now.
Also, I feel that negative emotions are also important. You see, sometimes listening to sad music when I am sad makes me feel better- and joyful music at this point would make me feel horrible because it wouldn’t match my mood. So why not the same about blog posts? I found that the best posts are always the spontaneous ones! I think such texts are important because they resonate with people. However, I agree that it is not enough to change anything, and that;s why positive texts are needed as well.
Olga, I see your point. I just think that after all these “what NOT to say” it’s time to focus on the things you should actually say in all those situations. I know that sometimes we read negative things and feel well, but only because we feel reassured that we’re not alone or that someone else is worse off than we are. But it doesn’t help us to get out of this situation. We still don’t know what we can actually say to i.e. parents of multilingual children, parents of twins, people with a severe illness etc.
A positive “what to say” list, on the other hand, gives us at least some hints about what to say.
Besides, the “not to say” lists never cover the whole range of the negative things people can say, so they still can make plenty of gaffes and say things that hurt even more.
The “what to do” list at least provides people with a few things they can say without offending someone.
Check Olga’s post about What to say to parents of bilingual children: http://www.europeanmama.eu/2012/10/what-to-say-to-parents-of-bilingual.html?
Thank you very much Olga for writing this in addition to your former blog post (http://www.incultureparent.com/2012/09/10-things-not-to-say-to-parents-of-multilingual-children/)
– Who’s next?…
Thank you for sharing this here. Also, concerning negative/positive posts< I admit that it was a way of venting my frustration with what I get to hear sometimes. This post, on the other hand, was meant to provide a little help.
Love your positive spin. I agree that the “what not to say” posts are not all that helpful and tend to be sensational. I personally have never gotten the really rude “what not to say” sort of comments.
I’m glad you liked! Well, sometimes the comments are not very rude, but just not appropriate. We all can learn to cope with negative comments, but I find it less energy consuming for all of us if we just say or ask things in a friendlier manner and think before we talk. I know, that’s not always possible (I’m a very impulsive person…) but the fact that some people just don’t realize what they say, that their comments may hurt, is a sign that they need help about what to say (and sometimes how…).