I don’t mean in the “germy-germ” sense. I mean behaviour wise. Are you teaching them manners by always being polite to strangers? Are you teaching them that it’s okay to shout when they’re angry? Or that it’s fine to pull the finger at slow drivers on the freeway? Because let’s face it – kids are sponges. They watch and they listen and they learn a whole lot more than most of us grown-ups give them credit for. Anything Mum or Dad or Grandma or Uncle Andy says and does is going to teach them what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable.
I shudder to think what I could teach to my future children. Things such as: It’s okay to bottle up negative feelings and then blurt them out when it’s most inappropriate. That most people are dangerous and you should be frightened of them. Stepping onto an airplane means certain death. Yeah, I’ve really gotta work on all that before I have a baby!
So anyway, I know this girl, (Okay, truth be told, it’s the same one from this post), who has subconsciously taught her little girl to be a bundle of anxiety and emotion. Take for example the picture she just posted of the poor six-year-old in a state of utter distress because, wait for it, her grandparents were going away for a long weekend. Yep – a long weekend.
There had been a whole series of distraught FaceBook updates leading up to this acquaintance posting the photo of her daughter. She had been writing things (on behalf of herself, not her daughter) like, “Saying goodbye is going to break my heart,” “This is too painful to bear,” and “I’m in so much pain – they can’t go and leave me, I’ll die without them.” So I think it’s safe to assume the daughter didn’t get a tad upset on her own accord. She obviously picked up her mothers distress (real or fake to garner attention, I’m honestly not sure) and is so upset she’s been crying her eyes out for hours and even vomited in the garden when Grandma and Grandpa drove away.
Kids that young don’t fake distress that enormous. Seriously, I wish some parents would be more mindful of the traits and behaviours they’re passing onto their kids.