It’s so hard sometimes, knowing how influential we can be on our kids. It seems unfair, really. I mean, we can spend years acting “right” in front of them and as soon as we start to let our bad side show, they latch on to it like a spider pouncing on its latest catch… I mean, I don’t know if spiders pounce, but you get the picture. They latch on and suck every drop of “Mama is a bad example” out of that thing that they can get. It’s one thing when they’re little, and they might not catch on. But as they get older and they do catch on, you really have to be careful. You have to think about all the character building you’ve tried to instill in them all these years, and put it to practice. They learn so much more from what we do than from what we say.
Back to the part about it being unfair… ya know, the funny thing about kids is they think they know a whole lot more than they really do. So all of the complicated situations that we are trying to deal with are not just our situation to deal with privately, they happen right in front of them, and they think they know what’s going on. But they usually don’t. So they don’t really get why we respond the way that we do, but they soak it up anyway. And once you let them see your snarky side, you know they’re gonna embrace it. Kids embrace anything that they see as an excuse to be snarky themselves! You just want to express to them that “I’m being snarky for a reason. but it doesn’t mean you can just start being snarky.” And I’m gonna go ahead and be the one to break this to ya, every negative thing they pick up from you, they will use against you at some point! Oh believe me, it’s gonna happen. So unfair. And infuriating for real. All the sweet little glimpses of your own personally that have warmed your heart to see in your child since they were little… yeah, it’s like that times 10, but in a negative way, when your own smart mouth is spitting your own bad attitude right at you!
But here’s the thing. I also don’t want my kids to see me as someone who won’t stick up for myself. I don’t want them to grow up and let people walk all over them. I want to be an example to them of knowing your worth (not pride, that’s different.) and not letting people make you feel inferior. So where’s the line? Certainly there’s a way to stand up for yourself with out having a bad attitude. I’m just not good at it! Lol! That was kind-of a joke. Kind-of. But seriously, being the example of how they should handle things is so hard. Because again, they usually don’t get all that’s involved as much as they think they do. Every negative, caddy comment they over hear come out of your mouth, gives them just a bit more permission to have that type of attitude themselves. It’s just not fair. I guess as a kid I didn’t realize how much parents were still people too. And I didn’t realize how much growing I’d still have ahead of me even after my kids were born. And now I have to try to grow and learn with all these little versions of myself watching my every move. (My oldest isn’t really a little version of myself. He’s already 5’9″, more like a duplicate version of his father, which is uh, it’s own issue. Lol!)
I don’t know what to say except keep trying to be the best example you can be. Kids take things to the extreme so modeling any attitude the way you want them to see it isn’t easy. I try to be very open with my kids and explain my feelings and motivation as much as possible. Especially when dealing with other people that are difficult to deal with. But I don’t feel like I’m really balanced in it. That’s what I believe to be the answer in most areas of life. Finding the proper balance. If you’re struggling with this, you’re not in it alone though, I’m right there with you! Feel free to leave me a comment and weigh in on this difficult topic. It’s got me racking my brain at times. I’m just gonna tell you again where I stand on it. It’s not fair!
Smile through the Trials!