Robert Fulghum said it correctly, “Don’t worry that your kids won’t listen. Worry that they are watching you!” Truly they are! Whether we like it or not our kids will do what we do, value what we value and say what we say. One mom told me that she always told her kids, “Do as I say, not as I do!” In her own words that wasn’t working.
Children subconsciously observe what adults are doing. When adults become conscious of their power as role models, they may find it a bit scary or a quite empowering. When we know that the young ones will replicate our behavior, words, attitudes and values, we can take responsibility for being positive, caring models. We will need to make time for some peace and quiet to decide how we are going to show up during tough times.
I have shuddered on occasion, as I’m sure you have, when I have heard a parent shame a child in public rather than dealing with the situation in a calm, assertive and respectful manner. It makes one wonder how such a child is spoken to and treated when not in public view. You may have found yourself reprimanding your children in pubic in a way that surprised you! Perhaps you didn’t feel good about your own reaction, but, at the same time, you were so embarrassed by your child’s behavior that your reaction was just that (a reaction), and you had no forethought, no plan. It happens! It doesn’t need to continue to happen.
When a parent reacts to misbehavior in a hurtful manner anywhere, the stage is set for long term, unwanted results, and it affects the child as well as the rest of the family. Overtime hurtful reactions result in continuing negative child behaviors, low self-esteem and possibly a decrease in the child’s ability to learn. When you take the time to mentally rehearse your response you are more likely to remember to take a deep and stay in control of your own emotions.
Most parents would love for their children to be brain smart. Your child must feel safe to learn.
Studies show that learning happens best when the tension is turned down. You have the power to calm a situation and not escalate the tension.
There’s one more reason to respond calmly and firmly. When we respond in calm and respectful ways, we are showing our children how to treat others when they are disturbed. Maybe, as this becomes a way of living, we will have not only a peaceful family but a peaceful world.
Parents who have learned to manage their emotions at home and in public are creating the possibility of a peaceful world. “Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Here are a few simple, starter steps to your being calm and effective when correction is necessary.
Stop everything and take a deep breath.
Show concern toward anyone who may have been hurt by your child.
Make eye contact with your child at their level and in a calm voice point out how their behavior was hurtful.
Ask your child what solution is possible in this situation.
Wait for your child to respond or suggest a better way your child could have behaved.
If a follow-up discussion is necessary, and do that as soon as possible in a calm, sensitive manner.
Does this take time? Yes! Is it worth it? Yes! It’s worth your time a million times over!
I always appreciate hearing from my readers. Your feedback encourages me and often informs me of the direction for my next posts.
If you feel that personalized parent coaching might be helpful for your family situation, or if you know someone who might benefit from this type of coaching, please contact me. I offer coaching sessions that are directed to one’s unique concerns. Your first “Parent Discovery Session” of about 45 minutes is always complimentary. I care!
Wishing Your Family Well,