Children: Our Mirrors

A girl looks in the mirror. Black and White image of baby.Parents get credit for many of the positive things about their children throughout life.  A little girl with beautiful blue eyes “gets them from her mother,” or a highly intelligent over-performer “gets his tenacity and drive from his dad.”  We say things like that all the time.  Tracing back a parental trait or likeness of ourselves to ‘take credit’ or explain why our children are the way they are. 

But what happens when our children act moody, or selfish, or behave badly?  When our kids underachieve, become defiant, display passive aggressive tendencies, are rude, or have problems interacting with others?  Do we still look to ourselves as the possible answers to why our kids are acting the way they act? 

I can personally admit that my 4 daughters have each at least inherited one or two of my least pleasant traits.  There are times when I am on the brink of reprimanding them for said behavior – and realize that they are just mimicking a behavior that I inadvertently ‘taught’ them.  I didn’t mean to.  It wasn’t part of the parenting plan, but rather the by-product of little eyes and ears always watching me.

The reality is that since our children spend so much time with us, our ways, demeanors, attitudes, feelings, and methods of handling life in general are bound to rub off on them just as our DNA does.   

It wasn’t part of the parenting plan, but rather the by-product of little eyes and ears always watching me. 

In fact, many of the opinions that children and young adults have about the world around them are a direct byproduct of silent parental conditioning.  And this, of course includes some not so desirable aspects of our being as well. 

If your child is moody, look to yourself.  If your child whines or complains a lot (meaning more than the average whining and complaining), take personal inventory to see if you do the same.  If your child plays the victim, or has developed patterns in his or her behavior – ask yourself if they are mirroring something that you have shown them. 

One of the hardest things about parenting is that while we can all agree there is no such thing as a perfect parent – our children believe that we are perfect.  Therefore, anything we say or do MUST, in their minds, be the right way or the best way to behave or feel, right?  If mommy can yell at a waitress for bad service, then they can yell at a schoolmate.  If daddy can ignore people because he is in a bad mood, then they can ignore people too.  If mom or dad is moody and unpredictable, then the child probably is as well.  If daddy yells when he is angry, then a child will as well.  The list is endless. 

{ MORE: Keep It Calm: 5 Tips to Stop Yelling }

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It is often what we do – rather than what we say – that teaches our children the most about life.  While they are listening to us when we talk and teach them about right and wrong – they are also watching us CONSTANTLY.  And their worlds are being shaped by how we carry ourselves in our worlds.  So although it is impossible to be perfect all of the time, it is important to be conscious of what our behaviors in front of our children are teaching our children. 

What do you think?

Children: Our Mirrors

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense lov ... More

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1 comment

  1. LIZ says:

    thats why im always remember to have a positive attitude in front of my baby

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