- Family and Parenting
What You Really Teach Your Kids
The Little Man's First Hit
They Learn From You
That soda you're drinking on while lecturing your child about healthy living probably doesn't help getting the story across. I'm guilty of it, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one. Children learn from what we do more than what we say. You can tell your daughter how a partner should treat her, but if you let yourself get mistreated she might say "well if it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me". As babies, they learn conversation by babbling to us and having us respond back. We are their first teachers, and it's our responsibility to make sure those lessons that we're teaching them are ones we're proud of.
My oldest son plays little league baseball. I'm a devoted mother that sits there proudly, trying my hardest to not be hated by the other baseball moms. I'm guilty of having running commentaries, mentally "face-palming" at certain instances I would probably have normally said aloud. They're kids, I remind myself, and they are acting like normal kids. My freak of nature "little adult" makes me proud, focusing on the practices and not what the other kids around him are doing. He loves the game, and plays it because he loves it. I taught him to do what he felt was right, and that he made a commitment to play and he is at the mercy of his coach and needs to respect him like he respects me. He listens, and I watch wondering why it seems he's one of the few who have also learned this lesson from their parents. Then, I hear the voices come from behind me.
"Look at that car, those rims. I bet I paid for that since he's on welfare." I ignored the comment, until every comment out of that man's mouth repeated similar sentiments about every car. I continued to ignore him, until he started on the kids. I'll admit, some of the things he was saying about the kids may have been true and something I might have been thinking. The difference: I acknowledge that they are kids and I wasn't going to be the one to crush their self esteems in such a cold manner. They weren't there for my amusement to laugh at how fat or slow that kid is, or how that one was wearing shorts that were hanging off his butt. It's not my place.
Then in my horror, I heard a child's voice from behind me spewing the same mean-spirited and borderline hateful comments. I turned, and notice it was one of the kids on the team that decided he didn't feel like playing anymore and decided to sit on the bleachers with the parents, insulting his teammates and any "welfare" car that drove by. His father disciplined him. "I can talk trash, you can't. Go back out there." I looked at my husband, and I couldn't believe it. What a lesson to teach your kid! It's okay for me to do it, but no, not you.
My point is simple. If it will embarrass you if your child does it, then you probably shouldn't do it either. If a behavior makes you angry, don't display it for them to do. Don't spout out hate or curse words and not expect your child to as well. They learn this from you, and you're the one to blame if you talk about how that minority steals your hard earning money and your child goes off and beats that said minority calling him a welfare thief. Parents need to learn to watch their actions a little bit more closely because our kids will learn the lessons we don't want them to by watching us. It isn't "do as I say, not as I do". It's "if mom/dad can do it, so can I".