Menu

The way we talk to our children becomes part of their conscience for years to come

I want him to practice courage over comfort and not make choices so that his friends think he is cool.

The way we talk to our children becomes part of their conscience for years to come

"Vivaan, can you please sleep, it's way past your bedtime. All your friends are sleeping. It's getting too late for little children to be up."


"Vivaan, can you please sit down and eat your broccoli. Oh, look at Kirin. He is sitting in his chair and eating his food. Can you also do what he is doing?"

I have said these words over and over again when I am frustrated with my son. In those tough moments when I am exhausted and depleted, it is so instinctual to compare my child to what other children are doing and using that as a technique to get him to agree. Perhaps, the reason I do it is that it often works in the moment.

However, here's the catch—if I reflect more deeply on the choice of my words, I am teaching him to make decisions based on what others are doing, not what he needs or what is aligned with his values, (our family values at this point in his life) even though that's not my intention.

For example, when he is 7 and if his classmates are making fun of their teacher, I don't want him to do that. What I want for him to be able to do is I want him to tell his friends that this behavior is not kind—even though it may be hard and uncomfortable for him to do. I want him to be okay with being different. I want him to feel confident enough to use his own radar to guide him through life.

When he is 17 and if his friends want him to drink and drive, I hope he says no and chooses safety over fitting in and being liked by his peers. I know there will likely be under-age drinking, but I hope he can understand the consequences of a few beers and a few miles of driving and vehemently push back.

When he is 19 and if he is around a group of young men who are discussing their experiences harassing and possibly taking advantage of the women in their lives, I absolutely want him to stand up, call them out, and take action.

I want him to be very intentional with the people he is choosing to surround himself. I want him to practice courage over comfort and not make choices so that his friends think he is cool.

And, here's the hard part. The desire to fit in, be liked and agree with the group is a deep primal desire. Saying no, raising your hands and confronting your friends is uncomfortable and hard. Being clear about what your values are and then living life according to those values takes awareness, practice and conscious effort. So, if I want my child to do so as he grows up, I need to stop telling him to do things because other people are doing so now.

Yes, I need to teach him things like the fact that he needs to eat his vegetables because they are good for his health because they will make him strong so that he can go on long hikes with mommy and try surfing and go on other adventures. Or that he needs to go to sleep on time, so he can be well rested for school.

I need to have more real, purposeful and age-appropriate conversations with him about these feelings. I need to give him permission to disagree, question the status quo and think for himself with what feels like the millions of choices and decisions we make every day. It means I need to be more creative, patient and empathetic while disciplining him and creating the boundaries for our family instead of simply asking him to walk in the footsteps of his friends.

More importantly, it also means that I need to be more mindful of why I want my next promotion at work and another pair of the newest yoga leggings. Is it because everyone around me wants to climb the corporate ladder or is it because it aligns with the what and why of my life? Am I going shopping because everyone else in my exercise class has cute leggings or is it because I enjoy dressing up for my exercise class for myself? It is tough. Sometimes I feel just as susceptible to peer pressure as these innocent children around me.

I need to have these tough conversations with myself and my almost 4-year-old more often than not. And even though it may seem that he is too young, the truth is—he is notices everything! He is always learning and watching and I know I need to constantly model how to make good choices and consistently explain why we make the choices we do.

I need to share my own stories of courage and also my stories of when I didn't have the courage to speak my truth. I need to ask him questions and create space for his answers. And even though he may not understand all of it right now, I am developing that skill bit by bit and hopefully giving him permission to find his own truths in life.

You might also like:

This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

Keep reading Show less
Shop

There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

What went viral this week: Pregnant Disney Princesses + an airline nightmare

Now, more than ever, we need to hear those good news stories.

Last week was a week.

We lost a legal and cultural icon with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and deadly wildfires continue to blaze on the West Coast. Now, more than ever, we need to see creativity, kindness and compassion in our world—we need to hear those "good news" stories, but we also need to see the headlines that show us how and why the world needs to change .

And right now both kinds of stories are going viral.

Here are the viral stories you need to read right now:

Keep reading Show less
News