6 Lessons to teach our children…

I saw this type of list while scrolling through my FB feed and wanted to add my own spin…

Here are 6 things that I am constantly working on while raising my daughter:

Don’t keep secrets.  Not sharing a birthday surprise is one thing…telling our child not to tell their mom or dad or anyone for that matter, about something/anything is not ok.  I just had this conversation with my daughter.  I want her to know that she can tell me anything and not get into trouble with me.  I don’t want her to think she has to keep secrets.  Often times her dad will get upset if she talks about anything that we do…that’s his problem.  Why should she have to “hide” things because he’s not able to handle it?  And yes, this goes both ways.

Be careful with the teasing.  As literal as my daughter is (and most children in general), I have to be careful when it comes to teasing her about things.  She always thinks I’m serious.  Besides, if we’re teasing to get a laugh at their expense what is that teaching them? This also goes with laughing at them when something “we” think is funny.  This happened the other day when my daughter was taking the lid off her water bottle to put in the sink.  The lid flew off and she spilt half of the water on her and the floor…I laughed…she cried.  I tried to tell her it was ok because it was just water, but she was so upset.  I stopped right then and helped her clean it up and change her clothes.  Just because something is funny to us, if they aren’t laughing we need to pay attention as to why and remember they are still learning about emotions. I don’t buy the whole “toughen up” lesson, at least not for a 5-year-old.

Put your cell phone/ipad/laptop away.  Our children only have one chance at childhood.  If they are constantly telling you to put your phone down or to get off the computer, LISTEN!  They need your attention now….whatever you’re doing can more than likely wait.   I am certainly guilty of this and have recently begun to see that she really just wants to spend time with me and it’s important to jump on those opportunities…I swear I blinked and she turned 5, I don’t want to miss out any more than I already do.

Control your reactions. What are you really upset over?  Is it because you had a fight with your significant other or had a bad day at work and you’re now taking it out on your child?  Watch what you’re saying and how you’re saying it.  We’re all guilty of this.  I know I’ve apologized for losing my temper just because I had a bad day.  It’s not the child’s fault, but they will always think it is.  We don’t want to teach them that it’s ok to hurt others just because we’re having a bad day.

Watch how you treat others.  Our children follow by example, not by words.  If you are trying to teach them to be kind and not make fun of others, what will they do when they see you doing the opposite?  “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work.

Listen to their instinct.  I’ve talked about this one a few times before because it’s one of my biggest pet peeves.  Why do we teach our children about stranger danger, but then we force them to hug or kiss a relative when they don’t want to?  Just because we know someone and like them doesn’t mean our child has to.  We need to remember that we have had a long time to get to know someone, we can’t expect a child to have that same connection instantly.  If they don’t want to hug someone we need to set our egos aside and let them do what they are comfortable with. If we’re teaching them to ignore their instinct now…to care more about the other person’s feelings, what are they going to do if someone touches them inappropriately later on?

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