This past week we had swim lessons and spent many hours at the pool. What was most interesting about this other than watching the younger sister, older brother dynamic as they competed with each other in the same swim class, was to watch the same groups of families who showed up for lessons over the period of the week. It was very intriguing to passively watch the different attitudes and behaviors between the parent and children over a course of several days. It made me think, and watch other families this past week.
Have you ever thought about how directly your own behavior affects your child’s choices and responses?
During my poolside observations I witnessed two very similar situations with two very different outcomes. In both instances imagine this: child gets out of the pool, runs poolside to grab a toy – and slips.
This is where it gets interesting.
Child #1 slips, falls, gets hurt and proceeds to cry (scream) frantically followed by his mother who about slips herself as she jumps from her chair to assist her little casualty by carrying him back to their chairs.
Child #2 slips, falls, gets hurt, looks to his mother, and takes a deep breath as she nods recognizing the fall. Then, this child proceeds to fetch his toy and jumps back in the pool!
Sure, this is not a scientific study, but it made me think. I can think of many family situations in which the children are reflections of their parents’ behavior. Sure there are outliers, but for the most part, negative parents will have negative children, nagging parents will have children who whine and assertive parents will have children ready push for what they want. And if you act like every fall is a possible medical emergency your child will act like it should be.
So within all of this, I have stopped to think. Do my convictions match my own behavior? Are my actions the best model of what I wish my own children to be? How about you? Just a little something to think about…