Most parents have great expectations of their children. But many don’t expect the same from themselves. Ironic, isn’t it? Parents expect their children to treat others with respect, to know how to share, and to act accordingly during playtime and sleep time (and all the time). But the real question is, do you (as a parent) even practice what you preach?
I’m a firm believer that all children are born pure and good. It is under the guidance of their parents that will eventually lead to the flourishing of goodness in their little big hearts. If you practice what you preach, chances are your child will follow suit.
Don’t just tell a child to be kind, sharing and all things good; show them and lead by example. If you’re always arguing with your partner on who’s right, or snatching toys away from your kid when he refuses to share, you’re indirectly telling him that it is of utmost importance who wins in the end (in an argument or a fight), and taking things by force is an acceptable thing to do when things don’t happen your way.
Actions speak louder than words. When you portray negative behaviour in front of your child, they will learn. And trust me when I say, they will learn FAST. At two years of age, my little munchkin is absorbing her surrounds like a sponge. Children learn best by imitating you, the parent. And whatever that you do on a day to day basis will indirectly be how you mould your child’s character and behaviour. As Clarence B. Kelland said, “My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived and let me watch him do it.”
Don’t expect a kid to know the meaning of respect if you don’t raise him with respect. I’ve seen parents who smack and “publicly humiliate” their kids for the littlest of things. That’s not just disrespecting your child as a small human being, that’s just uncivilised in my humble opinion. You wouldn’t smack your friend over some small issue, but you don’t hesitate to do just that to your own child, that’s just stupid.
You can’t teach a kid the concept of sharing when the first thing you do is to snatch away his toys when he refuses to share it, with a stranger. Yes, you might be good friends with a fellow mother, but don’t expect your child to naturally be long time friends with her kids. And don’t expect him to be as willing as you are to share, because heck, even you might not be that willing to share your stuff with someone you’ve just met. So no, don’t expect something from your kid when you might not even be able to live up to that expectation yourself. Or like Sarah W Caron says, “Don’t be a hypocrite, mama!”
And how do you define appropriate behaviour? Expecting a two year old to sit through a two hour dinner is like expecting a medical student to sit through a mathematic convention. If your kid can actually sit in his high chair quietly and obediently for two hours and not put up a fuss, that’s not normal, I’m serious, you probably need to get him checked. That maybe an appropriate behaviour for an adult, but it is not for a kid. Appropriate behaviour for a two year old is to want to run around, explore and parallel play. That’s normal. And really, even you might want to walk around to socialise with your friends during dinner functions, why would you deny your kid the same benefit?
Seriously, parents, enlighten me will you? I know many of you aren’t like that, but I have come across some who are. Why in the world would you expect so much for a person who’s been around for less than two years, yet expect so much less for people who’ve been around for at least thirty to forty years? Cos I really don’t understand it at all. Ugh. Bleh.