The nature versus nature debate about child development has gone on for centuries. I’ve often wondered if the researchers actually had children themselves as they try to argue it’s just one or the other. My own experience, echoed by many others, is that my two children had different personalities from birth, yet it is obvious they have been hugely influenced by their upbringing. The two cannot be separated.
That being the case, we have to accept that children learn from what they see around them. Have you ever stopped to consider what your children learn about confidence and assertiveness from observing your behaviour.
The question is – are you a good role model?
If you have children, you want them to grow up happy and confident, able to behave appropriately in any situation. They will learn to do this in a number of ways. Two key ones are:
- from what they see around them. That means the behaviour of those adults they come into contact with
* from what they are told about themselves. This means if they are encouraged to believe they are worthy of respect. Adults demonstrate this by what they say to children and how they respond to them.
Maybe your children hear you tell stories about how you avoided dealing with a difficult person, or moaning because you didn’t say no to a request when you were really tired and busy.
Perhaps they see you being sarcastic, aggressive or just downright unpleasant.
Or maybe your children see you acting confidently and assertively.
We rarely analyse our own behaviour, much less ask ourselves what effect it is having on the impressionable young minds we come into contact with. Yet we can do so much good, or so much damage.
*** Try this ***
For the next 24 hours be consciously aware of what you say and do around your children, or any children you are taking care of. Ask yourself searching questions such as:
- What message are they getting about how to handle situations?
- Have I already noticed my children copying my behaviour and words?
* What positive messages have I been teaching them about themselves?
* Are there any negative aspects of my behaviour that need to be changed? If so, how can I make the changes?