How many of us go around screaming and yelling at other people? How many times are we bossy to complete strangers… demanding that they do “what we say or else”? Acting superior to others..belittling people. Or more, making fun of them..hitting them?!
I’ve been thinking a lot about our society and the way it treats its young people. I think to myself… If we are to be an example to our children, shouldn’t we treat them a little better? I witness a lot of people screaming at their children…or hitting them. Saying things like; “Children need to learn respect!” ..while talking about how “back in their day, they would get hit if they even said something out of line.
Does this sound like “respect”? I question the person who demands respect from anyone while simultaneously yelling at them, or worse abusing them in any way… this, is doing the very opposite of what I consider to be respect. How in the world can we demand something that we are incapable of giving? I see children as human beings. Yes, they are smaller, and need a lot to LEARN. I emphasize this last word because it is key. As adults, we surely don’t know everything. (Have you seen the state of the world we live in?!)
We do know some things… We know that as a child they are helpless. They can’t do anything to protect themselves..we come in to see to it that they are protected. At least we claim we do as parents, but what if the parents are the ones doing the harming? Have we lost sight of what it feels like to be a child? The world is so much bigger, and scarier. I remember if an adult simply raised their voice, it was terrifying. We forget how big we are compared to them, and how powerful emotions can be. Anger is frightening to a child. When we lose our cool, we are teaching our children that it’s okay to do the same. When we physically harm them, we are teaching them that it’s okay to do that to others. When we belittle and yell at them, again, we are teaching them that it’s okay to do the same to others, – and for others to do that to them.
I am so tired of the whole “not practicing what you preach”
If you claim to love and respect your elders, where is the same for the smallest, youngest people in our world? I say, treat everyone with love and respect. If you don’t believe in violence, don’t practice it on the little person you claim you love. Ask yourself; “what am I teaching my child if I say that I love them, but harm them in any way?” This child will grow up thinking love – is what harms. Be aware of your example. Be aware of what you are teaching.
I am not claiming to be the world’s perfect parent, quite simply, I am not! However, I don’t believe violence is the way – and so I will never hit or even spank my child. (I know this is controversial!) I simply believe that we are to abide by what we say. I have seen the fear in a child’s eyes when an adult raises their hands to them… it is heart breaking to me. It is the breaking of trust. The beginning of fear. I believe in love, and I believe that everything can and will be done through love (in my life at least!) Children are more receptive to understanding than we think. More often than not, if you get down to their level and explain what they did wrong and tell them firmly..not to do it, it does work. I have a very well behaved, 5-year-old, that I have never laid my hands on so I believe I can at least vouch for this. I have also been raised by parents who believed in spanking, only to re-think it and back away from it. Yes, I have been spanked growing up, and although I do love my parents dearly, I can recall the pain – not the physical, but the emotional let down of who you thought loved you. It is not as simple as we think…You cant punish your child into love..it doesn’t make sense. Also I do want to say.. I can’t remember any of the times, what I was being punished for! I know my parents love me, but as a child, we can’t comprehend these things and I hold a lot of RESPECT for my parents for acknowledging that maybe they did do something wrong, and admitting it.
Children DO need to see that even as adults, we make mistakes. We are not perfect and that we will probably continue making mistakes, but we WILL hold ourselves accountable for it. We should show our children that no, they are not perfect and they will never be and that it is OKAY! We are all on this crazy journey called life together and that is just the way it is. I will continue to practice treating my child like I would anyone else. If I wouldn’t say it to my parents, should I say it to my kids? If I would never even THINK of hitting my parents, why would I think it’s okay to do the same to a child? I believe we should love one another and treat each other with respect. We are always being told to communicate with people and treat them well. I just wish “people” included our children!