You control your child’s actions and emotions – are you sending the right messages?

21 Apr

‘Do what I say, not what I do’. Ever hear that one? No truer words were ever spoken and no harder rule was ever followed. I loathe hypocrites, but as a mom it seems that too many of my days are full of hypocrisy. Sometimes it’s little stuff – like the fact that I must have a small square of dark chocolate after lunch every day but only put candy in my kid’s lunch on Fridays. Sometimes it’s big stuff – like speaking disrespectfully to your child and then expecting them to speak respectfully to you. We all do it, it’s a hard habit to break or to recognize, but make no mistake, you are being watched like a hawk every minute of every day by your children for discrepancies between what you tell your kids to do and what you do.

What big things do you really need to focus on changing because they are sending potentially dangerous messages to your kids? One of my long-term friends realized when her kids started swimming lessons that she couldn’t insist they learn an important life skill if she was terrified of the water, she knew they’d pick up on that. She encouraged them in their swimming, but she also signed up for adult swim classes. I still remember the exultant e-mail from Hawaii when she was able to go snorkeling off a boat – and her boys are all like fish now. How you react in a crisis? Do you ignore it? Step in and offer to help? Turn green at the sight of blood? Say ‘I’m sure someone will call 911” instead of reaching for your phone? Do you want your children to be safe and responsible? To teach your future grandchildren the same lessons? Ask yourself the hard question, ‘What kind of adult do I want my child to become”, and then look in the mirror and make sure that same kind of person is looking back at you.  What would you change?

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4 Responses to “You control your child’s actions and emotions – are you sending the right messages?”

  1. cocoamommy April 21, 2010 at 11:22 am #

    This definitely hit a cord within me. I learned a few weeks ago, that children learn from what they see and not what you say. I have a lot of tweeking to do in my daily parenting. Thanks

    • rebeccasavekids April 21, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

      Don’t we all!

  2. Kristen April 21, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    Excellent point. I relate to all your examples. This post makes me think again about the hypocrisy issue…while it’s often on my mind, the reminder is a good one.

    Unfortunately, it also made me grab a square of dark chocolate. I have the same after-lunch habit…but today it became a mid-morning snack. Oops…

    • rebeccasavekids April 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

      It does occur to me regularly that it’s a bit frightening that my kids can easily reach my stash of dark chocolate but never take any. They must know there are some boundaries which should never be crossed!

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