As parents, we desire the best for our children. We want them to grow up to be strong, healthy, smart, productive, caring, and happy adults. We want to offer our kids a little better taste of the good life than we had ourselves. A thousand amazing possibilities dance through our heads as we proudly watch our little ones grow, achieve, and evolve…until a temper tantrum, ungrateful comment, or I-can’t/I-won’t attitude brings it all to a screeching halt!
Immediately, our minds start racing. Where did I go wrong? I’ve taught my kids to be polite and say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. I’ve encouraged them to do their best in everything. I’ve tried to make learning fun and exciting I’ve taught them to respect me and all authority figures. I’ve told them it’s not okay to lash out in anger. I’ve taught them so much…what happened?
Trust me. We’ve all been there many times. The truth is I’m finding myself there a lot more the older my kids get. In my latest turmoil with my kids, I was reminded of something invaluable: we can’t simply ‘teach’ our kids and walk away. Especially with things like attitudes and habits, teaching is not enough. Once the teaching is over, the lesson has barely begun.
We must remind our kids of our teachings from time to time. We should also be helping them reflect upon and grow to understand our teaching completely. But most importantly, we need to create the best habits and attitudes in our children by repeatedly living our teachings. Kids really do learn best from our example and they adopt our attitudes and habits...much more than we realize.
Recently, my 8-year-old son has been consumed with such a negative, impossible, and uncooperative attitude lately. Of course, kids go through phases and have their difficult moments. However, I sensed there was something more to this. Then, this week, I was going through my Facebook timeline to find something I had post a few days past. It didn’t take me long before I realized that I’ve been excessively negative and irritable lately.
Of course, I have good reason. My health hasn’t been the greatest lately, we are trying to fix a small financial crisis, and I’ve been going through a difficult time overall. It’s healthy to vent and express negative emotions; however, lately, I’ve let it consumed my day. Instead of venting and then refocusing on the positives or finding constructive ways to deal with my issues, I’ve gotten stuck on the expressing part. If my social media accounts are this full of negativity, how has my offline life looked like lately? I can tell you it isn’t pretty!
Ultimately, I’m determined to bounce back from this situation and use it as a way to teach AND show my kids that life gets hard at times, but it’s never ok to allow it to leave you bitter or angry. It is not fine to allow difficulties to rob your life of happiness, joy, and your healthy relationships with others. And I want to help my son to see the positives in his life again, so he can be much more positive and happy about the ups and downs of childhood (and beyond).