I truly believe this. I try to be a walk the talk kind of person so that might be a key factor of whether this applies.
I noticed it today. I’ve noticed that my 7 year old has been yelling at my 4 year old when the 4 year old does something wrong. It’s been pretty apparent the past couple of days. The 4 year old is also firing back in the same way. As I dealt with it and thought about it, I realized that a lot of it probably comes from me.
I’ve been pretty stressed out over the past several months with workload and have been more on edge than usual. I realize that I’ve been way more aggressive with my speech with the kids (and even Heather) when I get upset about something. Heather has helped point this out. With that kind of sinking in and me seeing the way the kids were dealing with each other and and with us, I’m realizing that it’s behavior that they are seeing in me & my bad example.
So I told the kids they need to bring it down several notches when there is an issue and not yell. Then I told them it is probably my fault as I’ve been doing it a lot too. So I will be better about that myself.
So there you go. I’m trying to raise nice kids and I’m nonstop monitoring their behavior and interjecting where I feel it is appropriate. As I’m trying to raise these nice kids (and I do think they are pretty wonderful) I know that I need to walk that talk myself which is going to end up with me betting a better person too.
I can also think of another recent example of this.
We had a school parent call about a “Tom’s Club” that our 7 year old had supposedly started. This would be in reference to Tom’s shoes. I guess their child felt a bit left out & was bugging them about Tom’s. Nothing major but they wanted to let us know.
So we went on an inquisition and I guess our child had made some remarks about this with a few other kids that were also wearing Tom’s to school a while back. She doesn’t typically wear these but had that day. After our investigation (as our kids are very good about being honest and owning up to things), we came up with 4 other schoolmates that might have been affected by this.
First of all, we hate “clubs” and anything exclusionary – especially with kids. My wife cannot stand the thought of our kids ever becoming one of “the mean kids” (which I completely agree with).
So we took away our daughter’s Tom’s for good and she is going to donate them to the child at school that her class sponsors. Then we had her call all 4 kids and apologize to them and tell them she won’t be starting anymore clubs. She was quite embarrassed. Of course the parents were wondering what the heck was going on so we had a number of conversations with them as well. Most of the kids had no idea what she was talking about so I guess it wasn’t anything to the degree that we were worried about. She also was actually really, really good about the whole thing. She was regretful and not at all resentful of losing her Tom’s.
The thing that we realized is that we (my wife and I) are kind of brand junkies – especially with our interest in marketing and branding. We’re huge, huge fans of many brands and have talked about them that way in front of our kids. We love brands like Lululemon, American Apparel, Tom’s, etc. So it’s us.
I know I remember a very specific recent example of this. I love the Olu Kai brand of flip flops. I think they’re well made but they also really give me a strong connection to the time when I lived in Hawaii. We saw kid’s Olu Kais at Nordstrom Rack a couple of weeks ago and made a big deal of it – and got the girls each a pair.
So again, this behavior is being modeled from us. So we need to be better. We need to quiet down about that kind of stuff as neither of us think it is truly important. No more referring to “your Vans”. They’re “your black school shoes.” No more “your Olu Kais”. They’re “your new thongs.”
So trying to make sure that these kids grow up to be nice and good people makes us look at ourselves and change our behaviors where we see it to be applicable.
Want to be a better person, have some kids! :)
Image credit: Animosity by Andrew Senay on flickr
I enjoyed this post, and a non-parent posting this comment – I appreciate you looking within before blaming the kids etc. Also, having met your family and being around the kids in both a recreational amd a work setting, I can see there’s lots you guys are sound right.
Chris Lee says
Thanks, Greg! Doing our best. We’ll find out how well we’re doing in 20 years. :)