“Children don’t do as you say. They do as you do.”
The Positive Message | By: Jamare Harris
Do you ever wonder why your child(ren) can’t remember to do what you’ve asked of them, but they can repeat every bad word you’d ever said? Well, that’s because we are huge walking and talking examples for them. I know that we say this in conversation, in lectures and in workshops but this is happening in REAL time folks, and we are behind the ball! I want to extend some wisdom to my fellow mommies and daddies. We have to change the way we are disciplining our children. That’s the first mistake. We should spend less time disciplining and more energy into correcting. For the most part, there is a general consensus that we desire our child(ren) to be kind, wholesome, effective, functioning people in society.
We also desire them to be free to express themselves. I understand that these are two very different concepts. How do we merge them? How do we prepare them for the world and at the same time honor and celebrate them as individuals? Furthermore, how do we do this when they are 5, 16 or 19? First, take a breath. Second, check your actions toward them. What messages are you sending them silently or outright?
Are you typically yelling and screaming as an effective form of communication? Are you punishing them when they make a mistake instead of showing them what to do instead? Are you stomping around when you don’t get your way? How are you solving problems?
As a mother and an educator, I must share with you that there is a direct connection between the home and how your child behaves. However, when certain behaviors show up in a 4-year-old, it’s less acceptable, oddly enough. So yes, this message is for you parents. Let’s practice showing up as our best selves. Let’s focus on correcting the behaviors in ourselves so that we can correct the behaviors in our child(ren). Discipline should be about steering your child(ren) in the right direction and less about serving up a punishment when they’ve done something wrong. Here are a few ideas in lieu of punishments for correcting behavior and some expectation setting ideas.
Reward jars with a goal (when you fill this up we can have…)- Positive reinforcement
House manners (place it somewhere visible and include your child(ren) in creating the list)
Cozy spaces for big emotions (make it interactive with fidget toys, books, crayons, paper, pencils, fuzzies and something from nature i.e. a plant, waterfall, rocks)
I always say this: it is NOT easy, but it is so worth it!
Until next time, stay positive, parents!