Tactless Comments Your Children Receive During Family Reunions

Here comes the season with the highest volume of parties, gatherings, and family reunions. Ideally, these gatherings should bring relatives closer together, celebrating each other with lots of fun and games, but unfortunately for some, reunions become stressful because of the tactless comments from family members. What can a parent do to help their children, especially teenagers, when this happens? Read on.

Tactless Comments Your Children Receive During Family Reunions

The Issue of Weight

Common Tactless Statements: “Why are you so thin, don’t you have anything to eat in your house?” or “You’re getting fat! If you keep on gaining weight then nobody would want to be your girlfriend/boyfriend!”

One of the downsides of not seeing relatives regularly is that they notice every single change in someone’s physique, and somehow they think that it’s normal to use it as a form of greeting.

When my children were growing up, I would always hear relatives commenting, “Oh, why are your kids so thin? I guess you’re not feeding them enough/properly! You should give them these vitamins …” then I’d answer back that I have already consulted a bunch of pediatricians about my kids not gaining more weight (they are just on the normal scale for their age and height) until one pediatrician explained to me that sometimes when both parents are innately thin then their children would most probably have the same body built of their parents, and it would be unhealthy to force a child to gain more weight because some people wanted to see them “chubby.”

As parents, we should know when to step in for our children, especially when they get too stunned to speak for themselves.


The Issue of Studies

Common Tactless Statements: “Why are you not going to college? It is important to go to college and have a degree!” or “Why are you taking that course? There’s no money in that industry when you graduate! You should take this course instead!”

Teenagers and young adults nowadays have a different outlook on life. They go for what they want to do and will act against anyone who would dictate the course of their path.

When my youngest child told a grandaunt that he was not planning on pursuing a college degree (his passion is leaning towards writing, photography, and digital arts), she went on invalidating my son’s decision by saying how important it is to have a college degree. I wasn’t present when it happened, but according to my son’s narration, he just told the grandaunt that he would consider her advice (just to make her stop talking about the topic) but I told him that if I was there, I would tell her off jokingly, “Why are you pushing him into going to college when anyone can be a president of a country even without a college degree?”

When comments from other people are already invalidating and hurtful, I told my children that they have my permission to defend themselves and that they should speak up without fear of getting labeled as being disrespectful. Tactless comments go on and on because we were taught by older generations to never talk back. This is something you can advocate for your kids, too.


The Issue of Being Single

Common Tactless Statements: “Why are you still single?”, “Don’t you like anyone? Why are you not courting anyone? Are you gay?” or “Does nobody like you? Why don’t you have any suitors? You’re not that ugly. Maybe you should smile a lot, and be more friendly!”

Adults should be more mindful with these sensitive comments. A person’s relationship status or sexual orientation should not be talked about so tactlessly around so many people. We have to consider that it’s not always about physical appearances and “being unfriendly” that make someone single. Most of the time it’s a choice or sometimes, it’s caused by a traumatic experience. If you are really concerned about them, then you should sit them down somewhere private. If they are open to talking about it then it’s a good opportunity to share your insights, but if they are reserved about it then we should not push it. Let’s do better.


The Issue of Love Life

Common Tactless Statements: “Why do you always change boyfriends every year? Can’t you find just one person and be with him for a while? Changing boyfriends so often is not a good thing for a woman!”

I have heard these comments toward my eldest child so many times before and she would just laugh it off. Usually, I’ll answer back that I discourage my daughter from staying in a relationship that is no longer healthy for her emotional being. When she already feels unhappy or feels invalidated by her boyfriend, then that’s a huge red flag. My advice to my children concerning relationships is always this, “There’s still a bigger world out there, out of your schools, out of your workplaces, even out of this country, and once you feel there’s something wrong about the relationship then you should take a step back and analyze it. Always prioritize yourself, not the other person because, in the end, you’ll only have yourself and nobody else.”

In conclusion, as parents, we must always advocate for our children no matter their age. We have all been in their shoes. Ask yourself this, what would you have wanted your parents do when you were being bombarded by tactless comments before? For us adults, remember that there’s always a better way to reconnect and get to know teenagers apart from these usual comments.


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