The Horrible Words – Shut Up

As I’m sitting here in McDonald’s trying to catch up a little work, I’m amazed at the parenting or lack there of, that I see in this place.

Kids are running around acting crazy, shaking the salt and pepper shakers out onto empty tables; kids are at the soda machine pushing the coke or sprite buttons, without cups to collect the soda that’s gushing out; kids are back talking their parents and parents are telling their kids to SHUT UP. Yep, shut up.

The first three things are bad enough and should be addressed immediately but when I hear an adult tell their child to shut up, I cringe and want to come across this table and snatch the persons throat. Maybe it’s just me but I find that VERY disrespectful and hurtful.

When a child hears, SHUT UP from a person that’s supposed to care about them, it negates what positive words were spoken. When a child feels that their opinion doesn’t matter, they learn to hold in their feelings. When a child is repeatedly shut down by someone in authority or a parent-figure, their little spirit is crushed.

Children need to feel safe and be able share their feelings. Without being able to talk about their day at school or ask questions about the food they’re eating, as in the case of the people behind me, how will these children be able to ask more important things, like about sex, pregnancy or to report abuse?

I see the little girls reflection on my computer screen and I wonder what her little heart is feeling. Her daddy doesn’t want to listen to anything she says, he interrupts her immediately with SHUT UP. The mom is sitting there like  sucker and she too, sits quietly. I wonder what’s going on in that home. I wonder if the little girl is going through any traumatic things at school. Obviously the dad could care less about his daughter’s heart, how his words hurt her. It doesn’t seem like she can depend on her mom to come to her defense either.

In the simple thing of going to McDonald’s to eat supper, or in my case, get a little business done, I’ve been witness to a little girl’s heart being broken slowly.

Now what does all this have to do with pet sitting? Well, the correlation is there. If you have a dog at home a tell you dog to shut up all the time, to go lay down all the time, to continuously speak negativity in that dog’s life, what do you think will be the outcome? Negativity.

If you have a child that talks incessantly and you’d like a little bit of quiet, give your child a puzzle to work on quietly or just ask your child to please quiet down for a little bit while you get yourself together.There’s all types of things you can do constructively other than yell shut up.

Do you have a dog that barks constantly? Yelling shut up repeatedly isn’t doing anything to correct his negative behavior.

Getting a Kong and filling it with yummy goodness so you dog can be focused on something other than barking might be one solution. Or you could buy a new tug toy and reward your dog for being quiet. Or you could try to teach your dog basic obedience. Dogs that know how to sit, stay, lay down, shake, roll over, touch, those types of things, will more than likely be a better dog.

I’m not saying raising kids and raising dogs are the same by any means, but in reality, there are a lot of similarities. Positive reinforcement works for both dogs and kids. Negative reinforcement, as in yelling shut up, doesn’t work most of the time and causes both dogs and kids to shut down or react negatively.

All I’m saying is that if you have kids, please think before you use destructive words, not only shut up, but other words as well. In the heat of the moment, things can slip, I know, I’ve been there–I’m a mom too and have said shut up to my daughter out of anger. I regretted it when I did it and I know my words caused her pain.

Dog parents also consider your words (and actions). Letting your dog run amuck doesn’t do anything but create a misbehaved dog. Giving your dog too much love, at the wrong time, and not enough rules and discipline, creates a dog that might act like a spoiled teenage brat. Admit it, you know what I’m talking about.

Guess that’s it for now. The dysfunctional family have left. The little girl followed her daddy out like a sad little puppy. The ba-ba kids at the soda machine are gone too. All that’s left is us grown folk and my truck is covered in snow. I better get outta here before the roads get bad.

Thanks for reading this tangent…

Stay Positive,

Kelley Stewart


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