What Are You Teaching Your Children?
People tell me that they inherited problematic behaviors, such as anxiety from a parent on a regular basis. They often don’t consider that some of their behaviors are actually learned. We often don’t think of the impact that our parent’s attitudes and behaviors have had on us or the impact of our own attitudes and behaviors on our own children.
The other day, I learned a valuable lesson on this topic and the teacher, was my son.
It was one of those days where it felt like everything that could go wrong, was going wrong. This included the fact that my nephew had accidentally taken my keys with him which meant that I was stuck at home instead of doing all of the things I needed to do. My nephew doesn’t live close either and it was rush hour so it was going to take some time to get them.
I remember looking at my phone and feeling frustrated. I gave a big sigh. All of a sudden I heard my son mimic me and give the same exact sigh.
Without realizing it, my son was observing and learning to feel overwhelmed and frustrated from me. Right away, I thought, “I don’t want this for my son. Even if I am feeling frustrated, that’s not the example that I want to set for him. I want him to see the example of a mother who could cope with whatever came her way. In that moment, I decided to practice gratitude. From my work, I know that it’s the best thing you can do when everything feels off. Sometimes, you just need to focus on all the things that are good in your life. I sat down with my son, I started to hug and kiss him and then I petted and kissed our dog too. I went from feeling really overwhelmed to choosing to accept things for what they were.
I obviously wasn’t in control of the situation and being upset wasn’t going to help me in any way. The best thing I could do was to bring myself back to balance, so I chose to be grateful. I chose to be grateful for the fact that in the grand scheme of things, the negative things that I was experiencing were all things that could be remedied or issues that had to do with somebody else, not me. My son was happy and playful, my dog was wagging his tail and giving me kisses. In that moment, I was able to bring myself back to center so that I could really enjoy the moment. It’s amazing what some awareness can do for you.
The next time you are around a child or children, become aware of what you might be teaching them and if you realize that it’s something that isn’t good, just start to make that shift within you. The same way that one can learn to be a certain negative way, one can also shift gears and get back to positive.