“Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they think of you.” ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr
Children learn most from what they see. Too often parents yell at them for being too noisy, or slap them for hitting a sibling. They may criticize a child and list his or her faults, and then chastise the child for criticizing a sibling.
It is true that at times children can be very frustrating. However, if frustration causes us to make poor parenting choices, how can we teach children not to act inappropriately because they are frustrated? It would be better to tell them that we are frustrated, but then to proceed calmly to do some problem solving.
If we curse at other drivers, calling them idiots or worse, where is our credibility when we tell children not to use that kind of language? If we put down the child’s teacher or principal, how can we hope to raise children to respect those in authority?
If we speed when we drive, park in no parking or handicapped spots, or are too lazy to recycle, we are sending messages to our children. If they overhear us telling a lie to someone on the telephone to get out of an engagement, we are teaching them it is okay to lie if it serves you. Can we then be surprised when, as teenagers, they lie to us about where they are really going?
Children are smart. They observe what we do and they remember. They may not call us on our lack of integrity to our faces, but they will make note of it.
As parents, our behavior is the blueprint children use to learn how to be in the world. If there are aspects in that blueprint that you do not want to see in the finished structure, now is the time to make changes.
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
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