Being Silly and Being Called Silly

Today in the car on the way to school, our toddler called himself silly. He was trying to fit little square books into a little box and one fell out by accident and he said – “ahhhgggg I’m so silly”. No big deal, or is it?

Let’s not overthink this one, but in a generation of so much bullying, nastiness, self-esteem issues and peer pressure (from a horrifically early age) maybe we should be teaching our kids to think differently. I recently overheard an interview with a child psychologist and she was saying that self-talk is one thing we, as parents, friends, grandparents and siblings, can be extra aware of and encourage the health of. How your child talks to THEMSELVES is, quite obviously, very important.


So after I nipped the silliness speak in the bud, I went on and on, listing the things that he was: loved, kind, funny, smart, thoughtful, imaginative, fun, gorgeous, valued, important, caring, wonderful, and and and. I know, what a way to swing that one around huh?

kind words

While I’m most probably purely to blame for the silliness speak (I often call my husband ‘Billy’ as in Silly Billy) and while it’s not THAT big of a deal really, maybe let’s give some thought to how we talk to (and about) ourselves, our kids, our spouses (eek) and our friends, LET ALONE strangers; the petrol attendant, or the shop cashier, or the post office clerk.

Let’s find the balance between being silly (in an awesome, fun, laughter-filled way) and calling someone Silly (in a demeaning, derogatory way). There is a difference, even if it’s a little blurry.

Then this picture popped up on Facebook and it punched me in the stomach. Not because my toddler was calling himself silly, but because life is hard, nasty words get thrown around, and you can’t control it all. It’s heavy, but true.

How about we add some Dr. Seuss to the mix, to brighten up the mood. We LOVE Dr. Seuss in our house.

Dr. Seuss

And so while we work on the ‘silly’ word in our house, know we’re fighting the STINKY word too. Only bums and feet are stinky in our house. And the todd(ler), in his wildly sneaky wisdom, has started calling things sting – as in he’s leaving off the ‘keeeey’. Sting(keeeeey). Tough one.

As Ellen DeGeneres says, at the end of every Ellen show “Be kind to one another”.

unwholesome speak

Picture credit:,,  

2 thoughts on “Being Silly and Being Called Silly

  1. Man I’ve struggled with this one recently, I often call my kids ‘silly monkeys’ in a teasing tone and have been trying to catch myself thinking those aren’t words I’d like them to identify with too deeply.

    1. I know hey Kirst. Yesterday, ‘don’t be silly’ slipped out my mouth. Errr and I was immediately convicted! What i was thinking was ‘arghhhh stop being bratty and difficult’ so ‘don’t be silly’ sounded heaps better – but still not ideal. It is a tough one!

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