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Children see, children do

Children's Fitness and Activities Last updated

  • Written by: Guest Writer Michelle Markel - Family Issues
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FAMILIES FIRST:

Your child is playing with his siblings. It’s getting close to nap time. He’s a little cranky and hungry since it’s been awhile since lunch. He is heading toward his favorite toy, when suddenly his sister snatches it up and begins to play with it.

What does he do? And, how did he learn to respond that way? To investigate, let’s go back in time a little bit, to say… yesterday.
You were tired from work, and were late picking your children up from daycare. You rushed through the market, trying to buy 3 ingredients you could quickly make into dinner. Because two of your three items were frozen, and your children were cranky because they thought you abandoned them for life at the daycare, you were aiming for a quick check-out in the express lane. Just as you approached the lane, another shopper breezed in front of you, dropping what you knew to be well more than the allowed ten items on the belt.

What did you do?
* A. Pasted on a grim smile and complained under your breath while the other shopper completed her purchase?
* B. Went ballistic and started swearing and yelling at this incredibly rude shopper who cut you off?
* C.Allowed yourself a moment of irritation, then after a deep breath, let it go, and completed your purchase?

In general, what do you do when things don’t go as you expect or want? Is your answer the same or different when your child is 8 months? 8 years? 18 years? Does it change when your children are present from when they are not? Does it matter?

The fact is, children develop their individual understandings of what is and is not acceptable and appropriate behavior primarily by observation and imitation of their parents and other adults they designate as important. Since our society is awash with examples of people behaving badly (and in the case of reality television, becoming wealthy and famous in the process), who is the best option to counteract those undesirable influences? That’s right, You!

Whenever you are challenged, frustrated, or angry, you have an opportunity to model positive behavior and choices to your children, who are especially sensitive to your cues and responses. How would you like for them to act when faced with this issue? Let that consideration be your guide.
Most people have heard Mahatma Gandhi’s quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Did you know? Being the change you want to see in the world can start with you in your very own home!

This video should be required viewing for all parents. In less than 90 seconds, it effectively makes the point on which I could spend several hundred more words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cPZY3HYsvg
Next time, we’ll talk about evaluating your children’s behavior. Until then, here’s to the health and happiness of you and your family!