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Children are always watching | Overby
For good or for bad, our children are always listening and always watching. A few years ago I overheard a 3 year old “playing house” and sternly tell the other child, “I am not you’re your servant. You will eat what I made or you can make your own dinner. You just don’t appreciate what I do.”
As parents, we often forget what an extremely important but often incredibly difficult job it is to be a good role model. When you arrive home from a stressful day at work the last thing we want to do is be on our best behavior in our own homes. That’s the time to take down our guard and let it all hang out, right? Unfortunately, if you have children at home this is something you have chosen to sacrifice for a time.
When my son was a year old, he was repeatedly trying to pull the cat’s tail. After initially removing his hand, as he reached out yet again, I tapped his hand to try to make him stop. He turned to me and tried to hit me. I was surprised and frustrated as I sternly told him, “no hitting!” And then, I thought about what I had just done to him. Although it was a light tap on his hand, to him, I had “hit” him. So why shouldn’t he do the same? After that incident, I began noticing how many other hypocritical things we do on a regular basis without realizing. When another child takes someone’s favorite toy, we tell the children not to get all upset and yell at each other. Yet, at home, after tripping over a toy you had told your child to put away several times already, we do just that. None of us are ever going to be perfect role models but what we can do is stop and think what our actions are teaching our children regardless of what we think we are “teaching” them.
Aleksa Overby is the director of the Kiddie Academy of Bothell.