Eva’s Third Person PhenomenonMichelle Balaun
Eva wants to go down in history for one thing.
Eva wants to end the speaking in third person phenomenon that afflicts parents worldwide. “Mommy would like you to put your shoes on” “Mommy is very upset”. Moms say it like it’s no big deal. But imagine we are taking and Eva says, “Eva is craving sushi more than eating pizza. Eva really likes the spicy yellowtail roll.” “Eva would like to schedule a session on Thursday, please.” You would look at Eva like there is something wrong. Because it does not make sense. So, why do parents do it when they are in mom mode? Why is this a pet peeve of Eva’s?
When we speak in the third person- we are speaking about this elusive individual who has authority, likes and dislikes. We separate ourselves from the situation and devalue our sense of authority and feelings. It isn’t “I” who is asking you to put your shoes on because “I” am taking you to run an errand/park/school- it is this “Mommy” person who “I” is speaking for that needs you to put your shoes on. We lose credibility when we speak in the third person. It isn’t “my” when your feelings are hurt- it’s “Mommy’s feelings”. Many moms agonize trying to understand why their children don’t take them seriously. Eva would like to think that even though what she’s proposing is semantics- this speaking in the third person conveys a message that moms can’t own their authority and demonstrate love and compassion simultaneously.
Third Truth About Parenthood
Many, if you ask, may think that parenthood is all about the child’s needs and they can pick up the slack. But many, if you take the time to ask, feel drained from this setup. Eva thinks the problem lies in that many parents have a fragmented view of motherhood – one of love and compassion separate from the motherhood of authority and discipline. To many parents, this may seem like opposing forces. To love your child you may think it means to give in to every whim and to discipline is dry of compassion. But everything is interrelated.
Another one is speaking in “we” terms when your child is misbehaving. “We don’t hit” “We can’t scribble all over the floor, remember what Mommy told you last time.” Do you hit or scribble on the floor? I am all about being inclusive and understanding but within logic. Be direct, but kind. Be specific, but understanding. It’s a fine balance. Have rules and expect flexibility. This isn’t about dogma but it is about clarity. When you have clarity, you are much better able to convey the message clearly to your child without resorting to third-person speak. Effective communication is key in any relationship. Try it for a week. Try to speak in the first person with your children, I bet it will create a change in the dynamics.