Today we are going to talk about something that is kind of a pet peeve of mine, and I have been guilty of it myself as a parent. I am talking about how we expect our kids to do what we say not what we do.
Any experienced parent or nanny will know that this is not how kids learn and work. Right?
I find that when I don’t back up my talk with walk my kids see and know it right away, I can’t fool them, even if I can briefly fool myself that I am not full of it.
Showing our kids that we are real people with flaws and feelings is I think one of the most important things we can do for them. I will explain what I mean.
If my kids say or do something that hurts my feelings, or that hurts me physically, I tell them. If they say something rude or unkind, or act dismissively with epic eye rolls, I tell them how it makes me feel. Not overly dramatic, but letting them know that they are not invisible, that their actions have an impact on people around them is essential for them to grow up to be empathic and kind people. And that is my goal, for sure. When my daughter was in preschool she had a teacher who had four children, and she told me that sometimes her kids made her sad and she would cry in the bathroom. I thought that was awful, both for the mother who got her feelings hurt, and for the children who didn’t get to learn how to express themselves and act towards others. I kept thinking that if she pretends that her kids’ hurtful behavior isn’t hurtful, what is she teaching them? Will they go on thinking that what they did, their behavior did’t impact anyone else? How could it benefit anyone to think they are invisible in a vacuum?