We need to be aware that in some cases our children act or react according to the examples we have given them or by what we have made accessible to them.
I am aware that not all of our children’s actions should point back to the parents, but I think we as a society tend to point fingers at others people or circumstances way too quickly when our children have issues. We shy away from thinking the problem could be in part if not all, our own fault. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone; just making sure we know to look in the mirror as a possible solution to helping our children be better in these areas.
So before you read any further if you have not done so yet, please read my article entitled “Guilt: Useful or Useless” found on Mouthsofmums.com. If after reading this article you realize some of the problems might be caused by what your child is hearing, seeing or feeling from you, then you do need to forgive yourself and try and make it better in the future.
From experience, I have learned this the hard way myself. I realized some of my children’s actions were my own fault and this is one of the many areas I learned to forgive myself, dust myself off and try harder.
If you have a child that will not listen to you on a regular basis, then you might not be listening to them when they speak to you. If you have a child that is always getting into trouble you might not have spent the time needed to teach consequences to their actions. If you have a child that is overweight chances are if you look in your cupboard you might see the reason why.
So am I blaming you if you have a child that is not listening, misbehaves a lot or is overweight?
If you tend to talk over your child and/or not take the time to listen to how their day went and hear the concerns they might have, then yes I am. If you tend to just let your child get away with things rather than punish bad behavior, or worse yet give a consequence and then don’t follow through with it, then yes I am. If you have a bunch of snack food in your cupboards and you allow your children to eat them instead of getting them healthy snacks, and/or you allow your child to play computer games or watch TV more than you insist they get out and do active play, then yes I am.
I am not suggesting we should be an extremist on the other side of these issues either. We do not need to stop everything we are doing to always listen to our children. We do not need to go overboard with punishments for inappropriate behavior. And having a child involved in every sport, not allowing for any downtime to relax, eating only healthy foods and not enjoying an occasional bowl of ice cream or chips is also an unbalanced way to live and can be harmful as well.
Certainly, there are times that bad behavior and/or not listening or being overweight could be caused by other circumstances. But let’s be honest and admit that some, if not all of these issues could have been redirected if only a little bit, by us seeing our part that we played in these issues, which would have allowed us to parent differently.
If you have a friend that tends to always talk about their own problems and doesn’t take the time to hear your concerns, you probably try not to spend much time with them and if you have to be around them, you tune them out. If we could get away with things without a consequence, for example speeding and not get a ticket, we would. Lastly, if we the parents have an unhealthy diet and lack a routine of exercise, then this is probably the biggest reason for being overweight and your child sees this every day. When we look at it this way, we have to understand why our children are the way they are.
All of these things we allow our children to be when they are younger will follow them when they are old. If they have not been listened to, they will not learn to listen. If they have not been taught, they will not be teachable. If they are overweight as a child they will struggle with weight for the rest of their lives.
We do not need to hinder our children with an extra battle to fight when they are older because we didn’t take the time and energy needed when they were younger to help them develop good skills.
Your child might make the right choices even if you don’t help them to do so, but don’t assume they will. Make life easier for them now by teaching them how to listen and care about others, learn the art of good consequences and last but not least teaching good, healthy eating habits and encouraging them to go outside and play. I suggest that you even go out with them and be the example they need of what a balanced life should look like.