What kind of role model are you when it comes to your children? Have you ever stopped and saw YOU through the eyes of your child. How you behave will most likely have the greatest impact on them. Disciplining your child needs to be done in my book. How you discipline is another matter. Children need structure and boundaries, a sense of what is right and wrong. How they should behave, how they should treat others etc. This is all great stuff but it smells to me a bit like ‘do what you are told, not what you see us adults doing’.
My boys are at the age that they pull me up on things. I tell them to eat with a fork and not their fingers, and at the first opportunity they catch me eating my chips with my fingers, I get a telling off. ‘Mum, you shouldn’t eat with your fingers, that’s what you tell us’ or ‘Mum, you shouldn’t put your feet on the coffee table, we are not allowed to do that’. Now, while these things might amuse you, I am reverting to my parents generation of do what I say, not what I do.
Telling a child off for bad behaviour, putting them on the naughty step, taking their favourite toy away, what is this exactly reinforcing? We are telling the child off for doing something wrong, and punishing them but what is the learning in that? Will they never do it again?? From experience I think not. Instead they are brought up, to be told off whenever they do something wrong, without explaining what is expected of them, how to do the right thing, showing them how to be, giving the child a chance to explain themselves, realise the mistake, apologise and correct it. By doing this I believe we open the communication channel to better understand our children and get curious about their behaviour, thus reinforcing our connection with them. What if your boss at work told you off and put you in the corner whenever you did something wrong without giving you the chance to explain yourself?? Could this be how our children are made to feel?
Take a moment and notice how you interact with your children when times are challenging. What do you resort to and how would you like to be instead? We want the best for our children, but how are they going to do their best or at least give it a go if we don’t show them. Lead by example, notice how you come across to them through your actions, how you deal with situations, how you interact with others.
Children are constantly learning and we are the vessels through which they will learn the most. Take a moment, what impact are you having on your child and their future?