It feels like our children have grown exponentially over the last 8 months. As a result, I have felt the need to evaluate and modify my parenting practices.
That, and the fact that what WAS working, STOPPED working.
One of the first things I do when I see unwelcome behavior in our children, is LOOK AT MYSELF. Our children's behavior can be a powerful indicator of our parenting. Am I being impatient, short tempered, critical?
Remember, "Children act like the parents who raised them."
In class, I tell my students about a story a professor told us in graduate school. The story was about a mother who is listening to the things her young daughter is saying to her dolls while she plays. As she is watching the young child, her husband asks, "What are you doing?"
The mother replies, "I'M LISTENING TO MYSELF."
There is no way around it. For the most part, children act like and talk like their parents.
This happened in our house yesterday. Our daughter was trying to put all her favorite things in her backpack. When they didn't fit I heard her say, "Gosh Darn It." I told her we shouldn't really say that. She said, "Why, you say it all the time."
Yikes. Time to pay more attention to what I say and what I do. They are always watching and always listening.
One of the tools I share with parents who are struggling with their children's behavior is to have them write down what their kids are saying and the conditions under which they say them. I encourage them to do the same with their children's actions.
After about 48 hours, the parents realize that their children are acting just like them. They are simply mimicking what their parents do and say.
This can be a harsh realization.
Whether you are looking for changes in your child's behavior or not, this exercise is one of the most enlightening things we can do to improve as parents.
Is anyone up for the challenge?
If you choose to accept...
TAKE THE NEXT WEEK AND WRITE DOWN WHAT YOUR CHILDREN SAY AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH THEY SAY THEM.
You will start to see trends.
You will notice that when your children are tired, they act certain ways.
You will notice that they say things like you say them.
You will notice that certain times of day are better for them than others.
You might come to realize that you are quick to point out what they are doing wrong, and not quick enough to point out what they do right.
You will see positive trends also.
You might notice that your kids are nicer to each other than you thought.
You will quickly come to realize that when you are positive, patient and happy, so are they.
You will see that the more love you show, the more love they show.
And... the more you show respect to others, the more they respect you.
So... DO YOU DO THINGS LIKE YOUR MOTHER DID?
HAVE YOU EVER CAUGHT YOUR KIDS "IMITATING" YOU?
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN TAKING THE WEEK CHALLENGE?