Children are your Emotional Mirror

Parents are the ultimate role models for children. Every word, movement and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than the parent.

Bob Keeshan

One of the interesting parts of being a grandparent is watching your child raise their own child. You learn pretty fast some of the bad habits you had as a parent because you are seeing those traits passed along to your grandchild.

My son and his son were recently visiting us. They live out of the country, so when they visit, it is an in-your-face, long term commitment with your child and grandchild. I often wonder how I might feel if I could play with my grandson for a few hours and send him home to his house. (SIGH) No matter! It’s not going to happen! So, back to the visit, my son was feeding dinner to my grand baby and the exercise was escalating into a battle of wills in a hurry. Raising competitive kids can backfire in this situation. My son really wanted to WIN this battle of wills at the dinner table.

I will admit- I had this same exact battle with my children when they were little. I like schedules and consistency, therefore, dinner needed to be taken care of at the same time each day. My husband saved my kids from this battle on more than one occasion.

While watching my son re-create this experience that I had lived many times in my young parenting life, I witnessed something I had never before taken the time to see. The more irritated and stubborn my son became, the more irritated and stubborn became the baby. The reaction was directly proportional to the initial action of the parent.

What a light bulb moment! Children really do take their cues from parents on how to act in any situation. When we show them our less desirable actions, we are teaching them those very actions. You’ve probably seen a stressed out mother with a crying child. Which came first? Maybe you have noticed parents yelling at children and seen those kids scream or yell back. Isn’t that what they should do? How about those happy-go-lucky parents who never seem to worry about a thing? Their kids are usually exactly the same way.

The next time you are seeing behaviors in your child that are making you unhappy, take a step back and examine your role in the situation. Did you bring home stress form your job? Did you just get a bill in the mail you weren’t expecting? Your kids can sense your feelings. Do your best to give them positive emotions and behavior to give back to you. It’s like the old saying goes- You get from the world what you put into the world.

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