The Lesson:“Kids don’t do what their parents’ say, they do what they see their parents do. So who was to blame here?” –Harlen Coben
I recently came across this quote and the truth of it really spoke to me. As a daughter, I reflected on this quote and I know it to be true from a child’s perspective. I find myself doing so many things that I watched my parents do. Even things that I swore I would never do when I was an adult or parent. 🙂 I don’t remember everything that they said but I do remember what they did, how they spoke to us, how they treated people, how they managed money, their work ethic, the way they valued and took care of what they had. I’m sure my siblings would probably attest that they do some of the same things we watched our parents do. I know I do!
As an educator, I reflect on this quote and again, I know it too be true. I can recall several times when I had a student in my office for using profanity after their parents told them not to talk like that. However, when the parent cusses the child out while telling them they better stop talking like that, its not that effective.
As a parent, I reflect on this quote and IT IS TRUE! Recently, our youngest daughter was trying to tell our son not to touch something and she got right in his face shaking her hand saying no, no, no! Since he was born we have been trying to teach her to be gentle with him and use kind words and gestures, which she usually does, so seeing this was a stark contrast and I saw myself in her actions. She was handling him exactly how she’s seen me handle him when he is getting into something he shouldn’t. Now that may seem like a simple example and don’t get me wrong, there are times when its appropriate to have a firm tone when correcting your children so I am not suggesting to back away from that when needed. However, for me, in the moment, it made me aware of this quote and it was a reminder that our children, our students, our nieces/nephews, our mentees, all young people will do what they see the adults in their lives do, regardless of what we are telling them to do. Our actions have to align with our words in order to be impactful!
Application: Reflect on what you are doing and saying in front of your children. Are you to blame for some of their poor habits or behavior choice? If, so pay closer attention to what you are doing and saying moving forward.