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Learning what we live

Children learn what they live, not what we teach them.  If we tell children to be kind to others but they witness us cursing, shouting and yelling insults, they will soon follow suit.  We need to model the behavior we wish them to emulate.

The parent who comes to his child's parent conference and begins cursing when he hears that his child cursed is exactly this phenomenon at work. Despite telling his child not to use adult words, the child repeats what he hears at home.  When a teacher hears this kind of response, he or she will realize that this child is not receiving appropriate role modeling at home and may need further assistance in appropriate behavior at school, or the parents may need help with parenting issues or anger management.

Another example is this true story.  An irritated mother in the store intervenes between her two children. One of the children, the oldest, was hitting the younger sibling.  The mother then walks up to the older child, and begins hitting him, saying, "Hands are not for hitting."  The irony is lost on this mother for she is reinforcing exactly the behavior she is trying to eradicate. If she wants him to learn a better way of handling frustrations, she needs to learn to do so herself.

Parenting is the most difficult job in the world, but is also the most rewarding and one of the most important contributions to the world. Most parents have so many demands on them, providing for a family, maintaining adult relationships, managing a household and the emotional needs of all the people within that household, that they may easily feel overwhelmed at times.  If you are a parent, make certain you have time to relax and get away with other adults or by yourself, to meditate or exercise, read or soak in a tub.  If you are a grandparent,  you may offer respite to your adult children and may provide another layer of adult role modeling for your grandchildren.

Notice the behaviors you see in your child or grandchild that you would like to see leave. See if you can discover what role modeling it will take to eliminate that behavior.  Along the way, give a hug for appropriate behavior or just to demonstrate affection. It will help your child or grandchild feel acknowledged and accepted!

To order a reprint of the offiicial version of Dr. Dorothy Law Nolte's poem, Children Learn What They Live, go to the EmpowermentResoures  for ordering information.

To help children learn self-discipline and develop character, consider:

American Institute of TaeKwanDo  --   2129 S Great S.W. Pkwy # 301
Grand Prairie, TX 75051

972.641.4192
214.290.1282

For groups for adults, check the Meetup pages for Grand Prairie

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